You Should Know … Molly Silverman

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Some people can’t help but get involved.

(Courtesy)

That can certainly be said about Molly Silverman, 20, a student at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith Business School. She runs not one, but two charitable projects, in addition to participating in a “3+1” master’s degree program and the University Honors College program. She majors in operation management and business analytics, and is headed to graduate a year early so she can move on to a master’s in business and management.

She grew up in Pikesville, one of four siblings who attended Krieger Schechter Day School and then Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School. They go to Chizuk Amuno Congregation, celebrate Shabbat dinners, and observe values associated with an active Jewish upbringing.

She’s been to Israel six times, including twice this year alone: in May on Birthright Israel and in the summer on an affiliated Onward Israel program with a Baltimore contingent of peers.

At Maryland, where she says she is “very happy to be a Terp,” Silverman is involved with the university’s TAMID chapter, which offers business learning and hands-on experience with Israeli companies; Maryland Images, the university’s tour-guide organization; Hillel; and Chabad.

Describe the club you run, Braiding for Change, and how you came up with the idea.
I started it with some of my Jewish friends at college. We all loved making and eating challah when we lived at home, and wanted to combine our passion for Jewish food with our passion for giving back to our community. Once a month, we host different organizations from the campus community to bake challah, donate to charity and learn about different topics. Most recently, for Breast Cancer awareness month, we donated the money raised to Sharsharet and heard from a breast-cancer survivor about her experience and how Jewish values helped her to persevere. We collaborate with Chabad; specifically, Rabbi Eli Backman, who is generous to host us for these events and provide the challah dough.

What other charitable projects do you work on?
As a University Honors student, I created a proposal for a new nonprofit organization called Crayon Hands. We collect old and broken crayons; remelt and reform them into new ones with the help of members in my community; and then donate them, paired with coloring books, to underfunded schools. This semester, I partnered with Krieger Schechter Day School and placed buckets in all lower-school classrooms to collect broken crayons. During the upcoming winter break, I plan to collect, melt and deliver them, along with handmade coloring books, to children in underprivileged schools in Baltimore.

Where did you get this drive to help others? And how do you fit these activities into your academic schedule?
I have always participated in hands-on tzedakah projects and nonprofit organizations because of my Jewish education and family values. My parents instilled in me the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community, which was reinforced throughout my schooling. In high school, I implemented these values by creating dance classes at the Boys and Girls Club in Baltimore, volunteering for Chai Lifeline, participating on the KIPP Charter School Junior Board and becoming the president of TOGA (Tikkun Olam-Get Active) club at Beth Tfiloh. When I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to continue to volunteer since it had become a passion of mine.

What is a favorite memory from one of your Israel trips?
On my first visit, I went on a bnei mitzvah trip with a few families from our Krieger Schechter community. We landed late on a Friday afternoon and went straight to the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem, where we joined a group of Israeli soldiers who were dancing, singing and celebrating the start of Shabbat. It illustrated the emphasis that Judaism has on community. Although they didn’t even know us, their embracement and enthusiasm made me feel immediately connected to them, to Judaism and to Israel.

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