You Should Know … Samuel Lubell

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Samuel Lubell, 24, is passionate about bringing communities together.

(Jason Putsche)

After growing up in Pikesville, Lubell went to the University of Idaho for communications. He then went to South Korea to teach English. Now, he works as the program coordinator at the Elijah Cummings Youth Program.

Sam Lubell currently lives in Ellicott City with his dog Axl.

What do you currently do for work?
Right now, I am the program coordinator for the Elijah Cummings Youth program in Israel. It’s a two-year fellowship for high school juniors and seniors that live in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, which was recently redistricted. It was started 25 years ago. It was a collaboration between Congressman Elijah Cummings and the Baltimore Jewish community. The goal of the overarching mission was to build bridges between the Black and Jewish communities of Baltimore and to prepare these high school students to be leaders and to have voices in the community. It has this social justice element to it. We talk about identity and finding your voice to fight for what you believe in. We also learn how to have conversations with people who may have different views from your own.

How did you get involved in this?
I graduated college back in 2021, and after I graduated, I actually went overseas to South Korea to teach English. I really liked it, but I wanted to work more with youth outside of the classroom. I came back to the States right at the end of 2021, and I was in Maryland because that’s where my family lives. I was looking for jobs where I could work with youth, and I saw the opening. I read the job description that just sounded really incredible. I’d never heard of the Elijah Cummings Youth Program. I applied and I interviewed, and it was exactly what I wanted it to be like. I love this concept. I love this idea. I love the age group. High school students are really fun to work with. Prior to going overseas, I actually did work in another university. I was at Northeastern, and I worked at the Hillel there for a year. I wanted to be involved in the Jewish community. I’m a Reform Jew, but I feel especially cultural, and I feel a deep connection to Judaism. So, being able to serve the Jewish community of Baltimore is really cool to me because it is my hometown community. The Baltimore Jewish community holds a special place in my heart.

What is your favorite part about your job?
It’s a fantastic job, but I think my favorite part is definitely working with the students. They’re really bright and big thinkers. They’re just so much fun to work with, whether it’s doing a program with them or going to Annapolis. The kids are so much fun because they’re high school students. They’re almost adults but they’re not. They have so much to say, and they really are passionate about the program. We talk to alumni, and that’s always talking about how the program changed their life.

Would you have liked a program like this when you were their age?
Absolutely. I think it would have been really incredible to be a part of a youth program. The kids learn a lot, not only about themselves, but about really important social issues. I think in today’s world where there’s such a big divide between people, it’s so important to have skills that we give these kids to be leaders and have a voice. Also, it’s important to be able to engage with someone whose got a different view from them in a
respectful way.

How would you describe your relationship with Judaism?
I really feel connected to Judaism with a spiritual connection. I would say that I identify as a Reform Jew, and I feel very passionate about the Jewish community. No matter where I’ve been, I’ve always made an effort to try and be a part of whatever Jewish community exists.

What are some things you do for fun?
I like to be outside. I’m really big into hiking. I’m close to Patapsco State Park, so I go hiking there. I do really like kayaking as well. I like going to sports games and playing basketball.

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