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Advocating for policies that advance shared U.S. and Israeli interests in the Baltimore Jewish community is an initiative that Joshua Greenfeld has always found appealing.

As co-chair and vice president of the J Street Baltimore chapter, Greenfeld, a 29-year-old Pikesville native, works with local congressional delegates to educate them on the importance of achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also sits on the Baltimore Jewish Council’s board, representing J Street at various meetings and events, and J Street’s regional advisory committee.


When Greenfeld is not pushing to advance relations between the U.S. and Israel, he serves as vice president of government affairs for the Maryland Building Industry Association. In that role, his full-time job, Greenfeld helps represent homebuilders in Anne Arundel, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard and Baltimore counties and Baltimore City.

A University of Maryland, College Park and University of Baltimore School of Law graduate, Greenfeld harbors dreams of running for public office  to transform the lives of local residents for the better.

What are your day-to-day  responsibilities?

My day jobs takes me all over the state. I meet with the representatives of various counties — as well as representatives from the business community — to understand the challenges and opportunities of creating growth in the Baltimore area. I spend a lot of time looking at legislation that would impact the business community, particularly the homebuilding community. I also spend a lot of time  in different [Baltimore] city and county council meetings testifying on legislation.

I’m very involved in the community, serving on the J Street [Baltimore] board, and I am also very active in my neighborhood association [Greater Remington Improvement Association]. I’m also the policy  director of and board member of the Baltimore Student Harm Reduction Coalition, which is focused on education, direct service and advocacy in the field of public health-harm  reduction.

What led to your involvement with J Street?

Growing up, my family was very involved in Israel. My great-uncle, David, moved to Israel about 50 years ago, and he was followed about 10 years later by my aunt, Margery. I grew up with a left-of-center position on Israel, where peace was not just an option, but  imperative. There is no other alternative, and so when J Street came into existence [in 2008], it was like a breath of fresh air.

The traditional organizations advocating on the issues regarding Israel were no longer representing my opinions. I think the opinions of the majority of Jews, who wanted to see an  active role for the United States government in a negotiated two-state solution, were happy when J Street started. I wasn’t active in the first few years of  J Street, but I started to get  involved a couple years later trying to build on the [Baltimore Jewish] community, particularly for younger folks in the city.

How has J Street impacted your life?

When we advocate for things such as the Iran nuclear deal or when conflicts flare up in Israel, it’s really personal to me. I know the lives and the futures of my family are at stake, and I know that there is no other way to keep them safe than to eventually have peace in the region. So as long as we need to, I will do my best to advocate for [J Street] to create the State of Israel that we want and deserve and that is in the best interest of all  Israelis, Palestinians and Jews.

What are your long-term goals?

I have a wonderful job in which I get to interact with  political leaders, business leaders and community members to try and bring much-needed economic growth to Baltimore City and the surrounding areas. I feel very strongly about the work I do, because it’s important work. Going forward, I would like to be very I involved in trying to support growth and prosperity in Baltimore, particularly the city, in whatever role I can.

I am considering running for Baltimore City Council in the future and would consider running in the 14th District if Mary Pat Clarke were to retire in four years. I would love to help my neighbors and my community be safer and create better, walkable transit-friendly neighborhoods to support all our residents. But we’ll see what the future holds.

jsilberman@midatlanticmedia.com

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