You Should Know … Jesse Elkin

Jesse Elkin

Jesse Elkin was born in Owings Mills and raised in Pikesville, and after years away at college and work in Atlanta, he is back in the area and busier than ever.

The investment banker at Evergreen Advisors in Columbia serves as the fundraising events chair for the Young Adult Division of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Greater Baltimore. He is currently working on the group’s big winter event: the Generosity Gala, which takes place on Saturday night, Feb. 4. It is the first in-person gala since the start of COVID.

Volunteering is his way of “giving back,” says the 28-year-old, to a Jewish community that has always played “a huge role” in his life.

He and his family have been involved with The Associated for years.

Elkin and his two younger brothers — Evan, 27, who is studying for a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University; and Adam, 23, who is graduating from Eckerd College in May — attended Beth El Congregation growing up, where they went to Hebrew school and celebrated their bar mitzvahs. Elkin’s parents, Jeff and Saralyn, are active members of the Jewish community.

Elkin is a graduate of the Friends School of Baltimore, where he went to high school, and Emory University, where he double-majored in business and math. At Emory, he was involved in Hillel and other Jewish-related campus activities. These days, he resides in the Greene Tree neighborhood off Park Heights in Pikesville.

Why do you feel it’s important for young people to be involved Jewishly?
I believe it’s important that Jewish young adults feel an active connection to Judaism in a way that’s meaningful to them. Coming off a year with unprecedented antisemitism in the United States, it’s vital that we are there for each other as a community and serve as role models for future generations.

How does Israel factor into the equation?
I’ve been to Israel three times, and I’ll be going to Israel again this March with my girlfriend’s family. The country is absolutely beautiful, and I can say that I’ve felt a special connection every time that I have been to the country. I’m definitely looking forward to being there again soon.

If you could pick one person to have Shabbat dinner with, who would it be and why?
Viktor Frankl. He was an influential Jewish thinker, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor. Frankl’s books have helped shaped my perspective on how to live a fulfilling life and how to focus on allocating my time to work on activities that are meaningful to me.

What’s one of the things you look forward to most about YAD’s 2023 Generosity Gala?
It’s been a few years since we’ve had the gala, so I’m looking forward to celebrating in person with everyone. Actually, my first (and only) Generosity Gala was about a year-and-a-half after I moved to Baltimore. Since then, I’ve met and developed relationships with a lot of incredible Jewish young professionals through the Associated. It’s exciting getting to celebrate from an entirely new perspective.

Speaking of the gala, what is your signature dance move and “go-to” drink?
Bourbon on the rocks. As for the moves, you’ll have to sign up for the gala to find out!

What do you do with your time outside of work and volunteering?
I love being active. One of my newer hobbies that stemmed from the pandemic is bouldering, which is essentially rock climbing on shorter walls without a rope. The skill and technique are different, and it’s more strength-focused than traditional rock climbing.

Is there something you wish you could bring back from the past?
I loved playing Nintendo 64 as a kid. I think it would be fun to have one of those again.

Who is your biggest role model?
My parents. They’ve played a huge role in shaping me into the person I am today.

For more information on the 2023 Young Adult Division’s Generosity Gala, see:

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