Abigail Malischostak, 30, is a Baltimore County native, currently working as the senior associate of community partnerships at the Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC).
Abigail attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, majoring in religion with a minor in education. She went on to complete a dual degree program through the Columbia University School of Social Work and the Jewish Theological Seminary, receiving her master’s degrees in social work and Jewish studies.
In her downtime, Abigail enjoys craft activities such as scrapbooking and crocheting. She is also passionate about raising awareness about infertility due to her own personal experience with it. Hobbies include watching “The Great British Baking Show” and listening to audiobooks, with her most recent listen being “The Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline.
Abigail currently lives in Mt. Washington with her husband Alex, five-month-old baby daughter Rose, a rescue dog named Canada Dry and a rescue cat named Tuli.
What is the Jewish Volunteer Connection?
JVC is the hands-on volunteer arm of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore. We aim to match individuals and groups who want to volunteer with the needs and opportunities expressed by our 80-plus non-profit and school partners. Our mission is to engage volunteers in order to meet vital community needs and live with purpose through meaningful service.
How long have you been involved?
I am nearing my four-year work anniversary, but my relationship with JVC is much longer. I participated in one of their teen leadership programs as a teen and interned at JVC while in college. My mother is also a past board chair.
What’s a day on the job like for you?
Lots of emails and meetings! [My daily duties include] checking in with existing community partners to evaluate our goals and identify projects for the coming season; meeting with new partners to tell them about what we do at JVC and explore ways to work together; developing service-learning resources that will help volunteers connect to their service through a Jewish lens and give them more information about the social issue area they are volunteering to address; and collaborating with my colleagues to share upcoming Days of Service and Live with Purpose projects with our partner organizations.
What is your favorite holiday?
Passover. In college, I used to host large Passover seders for my (mostly non-Jewish) friends. I love the rituals and the different, special foods we get to eat.
How has being Jewish impacted your job?
It’s definitely helpful to be Jewish in my role because I need to be able to understand and relate to Jewish communal organizations in Baltimore – how they work, where they’re struggling, etc.
But bigger picture: I remember being at a bit of a crossroads after college while I was serving as an AmeriCorps member for a college access program in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. I was trying to decide my next step, and I knew that I ultimately wanted to work in the non-profit world. I knew that my Jewish identity and Jewish values around justice and caring for others guided me in that direction, and I ultimately decided that I wanted to pursue work in the Jewish non-profit world. I felt that is where I was uniquely able to do the most good.
That is why this job is such a great fit for me: I am able to use my experience in and knowledge of the Jewish community and its values to help make a difference in and beyond the Jewish community of Baltimore through volunteerism.