You Should Know … Rabbi Yanky Baron

Rabbi Yanky Baron with his wife Leah Baron and daughter Moussia
Rabbi Yanky Baron with his wife Leah Baron and daughter Moussia (Courtesy of Rabbi Yanky Baron)

There are 3,500 Chabad institutions around the world. In Baltimore alone, there are more than 20 Chabad houses.

Rabbi Yanky Baron, 28, grew up in Columbia where his father served as the Chabad rabbi. In order to get to Jewish day school, Baron and his 11 siblings would drive 30 minutes to reach Pikesville. After traveling around the world as a Chabad shaliach, Baron now works as the rabbi of the Chabad of Ellicott City.

Rabbi Yanky and his wife Leah Baron live in Ellicott City with their daughter.

What do you currently do for work?

For the past four years, my wife and I have been establishing a Chabad in Ellicott City. We do a number of engaging, fun and welcoming activities for the broader community. Our mission is to create a welcoming atmosphere, but also to provide an invitation and connection to people.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is getting to know people. I love meeting people and being able to share the wisdom of the Torah. I always had my eyes on Ellicott City. Everyone says I’m very similar to my father. Everyone said Yanky’s going to be the [child] who’s going to be Rabbi Baron Jr. It’s funny, whenever I introduce myself to people here, I have to actually stress that I’m Rabbi Yanky because they’re like, “You’re not the Rabbi Baron.” So we work together in tandem with a number of my siblings. The Rebbe considered the children to be actual shlichim.

So we grow up in it. When [my daughter] gets married, she might marry someone who goes into business. I have a brother who’s in business. We all end up doing something humanitarian. My brother is a social worker. He runs a portfolio of rehabilitation centers helping teens at risk and struggling from drug addiction. We’re living here for others. That’s essentially the point. So, our children and every Chabad shaliach’s kid grows up living for others. Even though he may not have as many friends around him, his whole life is dedicated towards seeing how you could be of assistance to another Jew.

What do you think someone would be surprised to learn about you?

I juggle. I can juggle four balls. I juggle fire and knives.

My father always tried to involve all 11. My nephews know how to make cotton candy because that’s their job at the Chanukah party. They make the cotton candy, or they make the popcorn. Originally, my father bought us a bunch of magic tricks so we could put on a magic show instead of hiring someone. Then, I started juggling. Someone at the shul said that if I could juggle clubs for 8 minutes straight without dropping any of them, he’d buy me fire for my bar mitzvah. He didn’t talk to my mother beforehand. So I took on the challenge, and I juggled for 8 minutes straight, and then he bought me fire. It was the scariest thing for the members of the shul to see. I was only 13, but I put on a juggling show for the whole shul with fire. Obviously, they had a bucket of water to throw just in case, but that was a nice memory.

What message would you like to share about your work?

We now have an opportunity because people are awake. We have Jews that have come in the wake of the Oct. 7 attack and started sending their kids to Hebrew school. One guy has not stepped foot in a shul for 40 years. His kids have zero Jewish education. But he came along with hundreds who have reached out to Chabad shlichim because something inside them was shaken from Oct. 7. So my message to people is that we need to be inviting. We need to be engaging, fun, and we want to make sure people want to come back.

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