Message from Louise K. Zirretta, President

"The best we can do to achieve holiness is to make a beginning and to persevere in our efforts."


We are now 120 ACHARAI Fellows Program (AFP) alumni strong, having celebrated six AFP siyum since 2007! You have participated in your own leadership development to enrich your leadership skills and to best serve the more than 65 Baltimore metropolitan area Jewish organizations you represent. At Cohort VI’s siyum, held May 10, 14 Iyar, the “completion” of study was shared with family and community, with the bonding of class members radiating in song and laughter. Congratulations to Cohort VI. Be sure to visit this link to see photos of the event!

Concurrent with the siyum was our annual meeting including the election of new officers and trustees and heartfelt thanks to retiring officers and trustees. Special thanks was conferred upon retiring President, Erika Pardes Schon, for exceptional service in leading ACHARAI during the past two years. New trustees Melissa Cordish, Fred Heyman and Ned Himmelrich were welcomed; and our faculty Rabbi Ari Israel and Ellen B. Kagen Waghelstein and professional teamBeth Gansky and Naami Schorr were recognized for their key roles in our success.

A leadership journey:

When I completed the ACHARAI Fellows Program 12 years ago, I became the President of UMBC Hillel. Since that time, I have held many leadership positions throughout the Baltimore Jewish community.

Affiliation with ACHARAI:

I was a member of the first Cohort of ACHARAI. I then became a board member, and eventually rose to become President. I currently sit on the board as an Ex Officio board member.

What did you like best about being an ACHARAI Fellow?
I enjoyed the learning, both leadership principles and the Jewish examples and commentary on those principles. I was amazed by how much I learned during each session through the various examples presented and deep discussion with my classmates.


We love that so many of our alumni are actively engaged with ACHARAI – thanks for remaining a part of the ACHARAI Family!
Committees are being formed now for the coming year. Please consider volunteering when someone calls you to ask, or let Beth Gansky know if you are interested on serving on a committee such as: Marketing, Program, Finance, Alumni or Strategic Planning.

Our annual campaign is coming to a close, and we need your gift to reach our goal! Please call Naami Schorr at 410-369-7579 or e-mail to make your pledge!

Look for our new website that will be launched this summer!!

I hope you will join me and participate in a very special and exciting new venture.

As ACHARAI alums, you certainly remember the stimulating discussions we had when we engaged in the Jewish text study portion of our sessions. Now we are offering you an opportunity to continue this experience on a regular basis.

Jewish Learning Partners (JLP) is a new program of The Associated’s Center for Jewish Education. It will provide participants with an opportunity to study on a regular basis, advancing and enhancing our understanding of the rich Jewish heritage we all share. Texts and topics will be chosen based on participants’ interest and level of knowledge (but no previous knowledge is required to participate!). You will have the choice of studying with a group (which I will facilitate) or in a one-on-one partnership. JLP will secure senior learning partners for people with less background in text study or who prefer to study a topic of their own choice.

JLP will meet weekly on Monday evenings, beginning July 10, from 8:00 to 9:00 pm at a convenient location (to be determined shortly). We believe that the power of group participation will enhance the experience for all. Similar programs in other communities have had great success in attracting hundreds of participants from all religious and social backgrounds to learn about topics of their choice at a speed and level that is comfortable for them. Even if you cannot be present every week, we urge you to sign up and participate. We will work with you to make your available time as meaningful and rewarding as possible!

If you are interested or would just like to hear more about this project, please e-mail me so we can add your name to our list. We hope you will consider joining this exciting pilot initiative. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

We often think of leadership as a role – the president is the leader of our nation; the team captain is the leader of the team; the CEO is the leader of the organization. What, though, if we were to think of leadership as a verb? What if we jettisoned the notion of “a leader” completely and instead approached leadership as an activity in which everyone could engage?

Learn how Maya Bernstein, cofounder and associate at Up Start Bay Area, which supports innovation in the Jewish community, takes this approach in her work..

Mazel Tov to:

Alyson Friedman on her stepson, Joey Friedman who received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University; her youngest nephew, Spencer Lichtenberg, who received his undergraduate degree Phi Beta Kappa from UNC Chapel Hill, and her oldest nephew, Jordan Lichtenberg who received his MBA from NYU!

Donna Kasoff on her son, Glen who graduated from UMCP, Robert H. Smith Business School and will be starting his career in operations management and business analytics.

Annette Saxon on her daughter, Sarah, getting married to Randall Rentfro this past May and on becoming the immediate past chair of the JCC on June 8.

Jill Sapperstein on the birth of her grandson, Cormac Julius "Mac" Sapperstein, born on June 1!

Debs Weinberg on her daughter Danielle's upcoming wedding, and on her other daughter, Jenna’s engagement.

Pam Platt on a new granddaughter, Michal Hadassah Platt, and on her son, Dr. Kevin Platts’s engagement to Dr. Sarah Baruch.

Bruce Sholk who was honored at the Hillel International dinner and received the Renaissance Award!