The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore held the first virtual annual meeting of its 100-year history on June 17.
Primarily comprising an online video of prerecorded messages, the meeting included addresses from The Associated’s President Marc B. Terrill, outgoing Chair of the Board Debra S. Weinberg, Chair-Elect Beth H. Goldsmith, Gov. Larry Hogan, Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and others.
“When we started planning our 2020 annual meeting, we could have never imagined the challenges and crises that would be confronting our world,” Terrill said as the event began. “We entered the year with hope and optimism for our 100th anniversary, a milestone that should have generated celebration throughout the year. Instead, COVID-19 has changed our course, and with the same determination that has carried us through the last 100 years, we will rise to the occasion today.”
Terrill vowed that The Associated “would remain strong” through the COVID-19 pandemic, the ensuing economic downturn, and the protest movement seeking to create “a more socially just society.”
In their addresses, Hogan, Cardin, and Van Hollen thanked The Associated and its agencies for helping Marylanders to weather the present storm.
“As our nation begins its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be more important than ever for groups like The Associated to continue their critical work on behalf of the people they serve,” Hogan said.
Speakers also included two Baltimore natives working in Hollywood. One was Baltimore-native Marc Platt, producer of “La La Land” and “Bridge of Spies,” who spoke about how his late mother and father instilled in him Jewish values in part through their participation in The Associated. Amid the ongoing upheaval in the world, he said, “the importance and vitality and relevance of The Associated is more urgent than it has ever been.” The other was Barry Levinson, director of “Rain Man” and “Good Morning, Vietnam” and former Beth Tfiloh student, who reflected on his experiences as a Baltimore youth.
Tomer Glam, the mayor of Ashkelon, Baltimore’s sister city in Israel, also addressed the audience. Glam stressed the importance of the connection between the two cities that had been established 15 years earlier, and spoke about how, during his previous visit to Baltimore, he had come to know a Jewish community that cared for the well-being of its members while being committed to other groups in the city and the country.
The event also served as an opportunity for The Associated to recognize Weinberg’s leadership and welcome Goldsmith into her new role.
Terrill praised Weinberg for her service to The Associated, citing her leadership on projects such as the Community Study and the Centennial Campaign, and bestowed upon her the 2020 Elkan Myers Award, named after a former president of The Associated and the Jewish Welfare Fund.
Thanking Terrill for the honor of the award, Weinberg called her time as chair of the board the “role of a lifetime, filled with inspiring moments and ending with the most challenging leadership role of my life as we address this current pandemic.”
Weinberg then passed her gavel on to Goldsmith, who expressed feeling humbled to follow in Weinberg’s footsteps and honored to have had her for a role model.
“It is not lost on me the monumental moment that we are experiencing as a community, as a nation, and as a world,” Goldsmith said. “We are a resilient community. But it will take work, and it will take all of us to say ‘Hineni,’ ‘I am here,’ to make sure we have the tools we need for a thriving community, from food, medicine, and shelter, to building a diverse and equitable world around us.”