To Daniela Levine, 38, Judaism means everything.
Levine’s love of Judaism started back in South Africa, where she was born. At 16, she moved from South Africa to Connecticut. Levine transferred to the University of Maryland during college, where she graduated with a degree in Jewish studies, and has lived in Maryland ever since.
Levine now works as the director of donor development at The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore. She and her family go to Beth Tfiloh Congregation, and her children will attend Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in the fall.
What does it mean to be director of donor development?
I am involved in stewarding donors. So the development part of donor development is working with donors to engage them in the community. Day to day, I work with a few different women’s projects. I work with the Inspired Women’s Project and women that are giving at a Pomegranate level, which means they are giving $1800 to just under $6000. I also work with Jewish professional women as well as women in the community giving $1000 and up. I encourage them to engage in the community and work with them to plan programs and encourage other women to come out to mingle and meet. For the Inspired Women’s Project, we have a cohort that runs for about 10 months that works with women to help them explore their Jewish values.
How did you become involved in this work?
I was a volunteer in a number of organizations, and I was working in the finance world. I decided that I wanted to move away from what I was doing and more into something that really spoke to who I am as a Jewish woman and a Jewish individual. I came to The Associated to work in their endowment and legacy department because of my background in financial planning. Over the years, I have moved to this position within the women’s department of The Associated.
What is it like working at The Associated?
I love working at The Associated. It’s a sense of working for the greater good. Working at The Associated affords me the ability to impact Jewish life both in Baltimore and around the world. I am grateful to be able to do this work everyday.
How does Judaism play a role in your life outside of work?
My husband and I and our kids are immersed in Jewish life on a daily basis. My kids are currently at BT Camps and they will return to BT in the fall after a year of homeschooling during COVID-19. We love and celebrate our Jewish identity. That means for us as a family that we celebrate every holiday in a big way. We celebrate Shabbat with a big Friday night dinner with family. Judaism is a part of who we are as a family.
What are some things you like to do as a family?
My oldest son Judah is 6, and my youngest son [Frankie] is 4. As a family, we love to play board games, go to the beach on vacation, swim and be outdoors. We all love to play golf. My kids and I love to craft and bake. During holidays, my kids pick art projects to make for each family member.
Do you teach your kids about South African culture?
Yes. Having grown up in South Africa until I was 16, there are definitely things that I teach my kids about where I grew up. In fact, they have not yet visited [South Africa] but I talk about visiting frequently.