Tikkun Olam, Localized


Civic Works started as many reputable nonprofits do, with a question and an idea about an unmet need.

In the early 1990s, Dana Stein, then a corporate attorney unsatisfied with his work, read about a Boston-based youth corps and wondered if Baltimore City had a similar organization.

“Turned out, it didn’t,” Stein told Susan C. Ingram in this week’s cover story. And so, 25 years ago, Civic Works was born.

In this week’s issue, Susan illuminates Civic Works’ 25-year history, which the organization just marked with a gala featuring Ira Glass, Stein’s classmate from Milford Mill High School, at Baltimore Center Stage on Oct. 27.

As you’ll read, in its two and a half decades, Civic Works has done a lot to change the city by tutoring students, making homes energy efficient, growing food, transforming vacant lots, helping older adults, placing people in green careers and engaging AmeriCorps members and volunteers. For a start.

Stein, the executive director of Civic Works who was just reelected to his fourth term as a Democratic state delegate for the 11th District, shows that just one person and one idea can truly help repair the world.

And while Baltimore, like every major city, has its challenges, Stein remains positive about the difference his organization is making.

“It’s a great feeling to come to work with people who feel the same way, who have that same sense of idealism and try to show that despite the rampant cynicism of our times, that optimism and idealism can prevail, especially through our work with young people,” he told the JT.

Also in this issue, we report on area synagogues’ Solidarity Shabbat services, as well as an interfaith Oneg Shabbat that The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and the Baltimore Jewish Council held last Friday afternoon. Synagogues around the region were packed with Jews and non-Jews alike to mourn, sing, pray and eat together in remembrance of the 11 victims who were killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue two weeks ago. Rabbis and service-goers alike told the JT how moving it was to be surrounded by community after such a tragic event, and many were moved to tears as interfaith clergy took the bimah to sing songs like “We Shall Overcome.”

It’s also election week, which means some changes are afoot. Pick us up next week for post-election analysis. Happy reading!


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