While thousands of miles from home this past winter on the 2013 Associated Family Mission, Diane Orlinsky discovered the incredible warmth and cohesiveness of Baltimore’s Jewish community. Just as important, it reinforced her views that The Associated can be transformative for a family.
Involvement with The Associated
Diane Orlinsky’s involvement began several years ago, when her oldest daughter, Rachel, was accepted into the 15-month Diller Teen Fellows Program. “At that time, Rachel was a student at Roland Park Country School and didn’t have a lot of Jewish friends,” says Diane. “Through Diller, she became more confident about her Jewish self, more cultural and spiritual.”
Through that experience Rachel became more Jewishly-aware. Today, she attends the University of Pennsylvania and has become involved with her campus Hillel, as well as UPenn’s AIPAC organization.
“I think Diller had an indelible impact on her life and changed how she views the world,” Diane says.
Meanwhile, her son is currently participating in The Associated’s Students Taking Action for Change (STAC), which focuses on social justice and advocacy. He has become closer with other Jewish peers at other schools, as a result of volunteering together.
Several years ago, the family traveled to Israel on vacation. When Diane learned about The Associated’s Family Mission, they decided to return; this time joined by her mother and sister’s family from New York.
The week-long mission included visits to historical sites, a training session with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) a lecture at the Herzl Museum in Jerusalem and a volunteer hand-painted art project in Ashkelon, Baltimore’s sister city, that benefits new immigrants moving to Israel.ars ago, the family traveled to Israel on vacation. When Diane learned about The Associated’s Family Mission, they decided to return; this time joined by her mother and sister’s family from New York.
“This was a more cultural and spiritual adventure,” Diane says, comparing it to her family vacation. “The people on the trip were amazing. We bonded together. It made me realize that Baltimore is such a warm Jewish community and it made me realize I belonged to something bigger than myself.”
Diane expects to return to Israel, and of course, visit Ashkelon to see her new friends. In addition, she would like to become more involved in the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership and she has made a pledge to be a Lion of Judah.
“This trip really affected me in such a positive way. It made me passionate about connecting Israel with the Baltimore Jewish community.”