Since it was founded in 1916, the Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland has worked to provide leadership training, support for the Jewish community and advocacy on issues of concern to the local, national and international Jewish communities.
The federation, an umbrella group of nonprofit organizations and sisterhoods, held its 98th annual convention, “Women of Action,” at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation on May 15.
Communication and behavioral expert Deborah Grayson Riegel, author of “Oy Vey Isn’t a Strategy: 25 Solutions for Personal and Professional Success,” was the keynote speaker, and Peggy K. Wolf, immediate past president of BHC, was honored with the E.B. Hirsh Lifetime Achievement Award.
Grayson Riegel told the audience that in order to be a successful leader, one must be a “maven,” have “moxy” and be a “mensch.” Through interactive activities and using the words of prominent Jews from throughout the ages, she encouraged the women at the convention to consider who in their lives had exhibited those qualities.
Wolf said she was “surprised and honored” to have been selected, both because of her high regard for the federation and the “fabulous” leadership of E.B. Hirsh.
“She was a consummate leader with the ability to make a young girl — me and others — feel like she was interested in what we had to say,” Wolf said. “I’m particularly touched because my grandmother [Pauline Horkheimer Lazaron, wife of BHC’s Rabbi Morris Lazaron], who I didn’t know, was a past president of the federation. My mother [Dr. Clementine Kaufman] was president of her sisterhood.”
Having completed her term as president of BHC just weeks ago, Wolf, director of admissions and financial assistance at Roland Park Country School, said she felt excited about the future of the congregation.
“The mission of the congregation is continuing, and I feel an energy and a commitment to the community and the institution and its sustainability,” she said. “Reform congregations, in Baltimore and everywhere else, are facing challenges. We’ve begun a process to find out how we can best meet the needs of the congregation, the Jewish community and the community at large. We have wonderful partnerships in the community, and we are going to continue the dialogue and build upon them.”