State Adds Two to Education Board

The Maryland State Board of Education welcomed two new members, Chester E. Finn Jr. of Montgomery County and Andy Smarick of Queen Anne’s County. They were appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan to fill two seats on the 12-member board vacated by the departures of Charlene M. Dukes and Donna Hill Staton, whose terms ended in 2014.

Finn is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, where he is chairman of the K-12 Education Task Force. He also is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, where his primary focus is reforming primary and secondary schooling.

Smarick is a partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping education organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors become more effective in their work and achieve dramatic results for students. He served as a deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and an education aide at The White House Domestic Policy Council. Smarick also helped launch a college-preparatory charter school for under-served students in Annapolis and was a member of Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s Commission on Quality Education.

Profiles Names New Executives

Profiles, Inc., the Baltimore-based communications and marketing company celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015, announced the promotions of Amy Burke Friedman to president and Jamie Watt Arnold to senior vice president. Founder and owner Amy Elias will assume the title of CEO.

“Today, we recognize Amy and Jamie’s enormous contributions to the company,” said Elias. “Their efforts have helped Profiles grow from what began as a small firm focused solely on media relations to a full-service communications and marketing agency. I have been fortunate to have great people alongside me for this journey and their growth into these positions has been a natural evolution.”

Elias opened Profiles, Inc. in 1990 and has overseen the growth of the firm, which today represents such clients as the National Aquarium, the University of Baltimore, the Y of Central Maryland, Kennedy Krieger Institute and many others. As the company’s roster and breadth of services has expanded, so too has the staff, which has more than tripled in size since Elias opened the doors.

Bridging Gaps Through Lacrosse

From left: Scott Neiss, Emily Brodsky, Hannah Deoul and Mark Greenberg. (Justin Katz)

From left: Scott Neiss, Emily Brodsky, Hannah Deoul and Mark Greenberg.
(Justin Katz)

On June 11, the Israel Premier Lacrosse League hosted an evening with players, coaches, staff and board members at Temple Beth El to continue its efforts in making lacrosse the national sport of Israel.

“It’s been almost four years since we started and we continue to grow exponentially,” said Scott Neiss, executive director of IPLL, based in Tel-Aviv. “We have close to 700 players in Israel from nothing four years ago.”

The league began when Neiss fell in love with Israel during his visit and set out to promote lacrosse within the Jewish state. He would eventually reach out to several different people in the U.S. for help, including co-founder Mark Greenberg. Although promoting lacrosse is their primary goal, making connections between the U.S and Israel has become equally important.

“This is about connecting Americans, Jewish or not, who never would have had any interest [in connecting to Israel] but have a love for lacrosse and giving them a tie to Israel through that love,” said Greenberg, who is based in Baltimore.

The connections are being made, not only between countries, but also domestically in Israel. Katie Mazer, who made aliyah in order to play lacrosse in Israel, started a “co-existence league” in Jaffa, which brings Jewish and Arab Israelis together through lacrosse.

The league’s message for peace was particularly strong last July when the boys’ team had its first win of the summer in the midst of Operation Protective Edge under the coaching of Noah Miller.

“The powerful thing is that sport is a language that speaks to all children,” said Miller, who serves in the Israel Defense Forces. “Lacrosse is a new sport in Israel, so it is a shared experience that Arabs and Israelis can have together. By the end of it, they weren’t the Jewish team or the Arab team, they were the Jaffa lacrosse team.”

With a small administrative team spread throughout the U.S. and Israel, staff members tend to wear multiple hats. Hannah Deoul, who coordinated the event at Beth El, and Emily Brodsky, international events coordinator, are both coaches and players.

Deoul and Brodsky will be coaching the 2015 Federation of International Lacrosse Women’s U19 (ages 15 to 19) World Cup team competing in Edinburgh, Scotland and playing at the 2015 European Championships in Prague, Czech Republic.

“I have already had positive responses about more people looking to involve their children in Israel’s lacrosse programs,” said Deoul. “[That] is the best result I could have asked for. We are only going to grow and continue to impact more lives, Israeli and American.”

Harrison Named to CIJE Board

The Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education, which partners with Jewish day schools to provide engaging curricula, teacher training and advanced technology as well as vital support in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects, announced that philanthropist and businesswoman Dr. Lynne B. Harrison has been named to its national board.

Harrison is founder and president of Harrison Research Laboratories Inc. that tests products from major companies for safety and efficacy in the USA, Canada, Europe, Israel, South America and Asia-Pacific.

“CIJE is a unique organization that transcends geographic and multidenominational bounds to provide quality education for Jewish youth throughout the U.S.,” Harrison said. ”STEM education is the basis on which rests our entire future, in terms of our prosperity, world leadership and the enormous job satisfaction the people in sciences enjoy.”

In addition to becoming a generous supporter of CIJE, Harrison is a longstanding donor of many STEM education and Jewish charities. She is a board member of Friends of Israel Sci-Tech Schools, which collaborated with CIJE on the CIJE-Tech High School Engineering Program, now in close to 40 schools in the U.S. She serves on the board of Space Israel and is the chair of the newly formed USA Space Israel Board. She has served as vice chair of the Hillel International Board of Directors as well as a member of the Hillel International Board of Governors. Hillel named her Woman of the Year in 2009, honoring her with the Founders’ Award.

Rosenberg, Gomola Make Move

Family law attorney Ellen P. Rosenberg has joined Wright, Constable & Skeen LLP as part of the Baltimore law firm’s family law group. She will bring attorney A. Michelle Gomola, who worked as an associate at the Law Office of Ellen P. Rosenberg P.A. with her.

Rosenberg brings decades of litigation experience and is well regarded among peers for her practical judgment, knowledge of the law, personable approach to her clients and understanding of their needs. She has been practicing family law since 1989 and held an office in Towson for her private practice prior to joining the firm. She will be merging her practice into the firm, bringing with her attorney

Gomola who has been working in the legal field since completing her undergraduate studies at New York University. Her passion and dedication to the law led her to pursue her J.D. at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Following her law school career, Gomola served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. G. Edward Dwyer, Jr. at the Circuit Court for Frederick County before entering private practice.

Israelson Joins AiP Board

Ellen Israelson, the vice president of philanthropic services and chief marketing officer at Jewish Communal Fund, has been elected to the national Board of Trustees of The Association of Advisors in Philanthropy. AiP is a prestigious member organization whose mission is to transform philanthropy through collaboration.

The organization empowers financial advisers, lawyers, accountants, bankers, trust officers, philanthropic advisers and wealth planners to assist their clients in directing their philanthropic resources in a way that is consistent with their deepest values.

“I am pleased to be joining the board of AiP, which is widely considered the number one association for advisers in a broad range of disciplines who view wealth and legacy planning holistically and incorporate philanthropy,” said Israelson.

JWGF Awards $100K

Baltimore City was the big winner of grant money awarded from the Jewish Women’s Giving Foundation of Baltimore, a program of Associated Women within The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. A total of $108,600 was granted to seven organizations that improve the lives of women and girls, six of which are located in Baltimore and one in Israel.

“We were compelled by the recent unrest in Baltimore City to focus our funding this year here at home. And we were very fortunate to have very strong proposals from organizations that will put our resources to immediate and good use improving the lives of women and girls in Baltimore City,” said Julie Sakin, chair of the foundation.

The grants were awarded to Adelante Latina, which received $10,000 to support an after-school college preparatory program for underprivileged Latina girls grades 10-12 in the Baltimore City Public School System; Caroline Center, which received $11,200 to support its mission of providing tuition-free career and life-skills training to unemployed and underemployed women in Baltimore; CHANA, which received $20,000 to finance the production of a video that CHANA will use to educate youth, spread awareness and inspire financial support; Enterprise Community Partners, which received $20,000 to support the Home Instruction for Parents of Pre-School Youngsters (HIPPY) program in the Sandtown-Winchester and Park Heights neighborhoods; Healthcare for the Homeless, which received $20,000 to support preventive and restorative dental care for women and girls experiencing homelessness; The Jewish Agency for Israel: Alma Pre-Army Academy (in Israel), which received $8,000 to support a six-month educational and leadership program for underprivileged, high-potential young Israeli women; and the Edward A. Myerberg Center, which received $19,400 to support the Happiest Home Program to
enable low-income, elderly Jewish women to age in place at Weinberg Woods, a rent-subsidized independent living facility adjacent to the Myerberg Center.

Benchworks CEO Is Entrepreneur Finalist

Ernst & Young has announced that CEO Thad L. Bench Sr. of Benchworks is a finalist for the 2015 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in the Maryland Region.

The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Bench was selected as a finalist by a panel of independent judges. Award winners will be announced at a special gala event on June 25 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.

Benchworks is a family of operating units that includes a full-service advertising agency, a product launch logistics center and a consulting group focused on commercialization planning for biotech companies. It is a multichannel strategy and execution partner, providing end-to-end marketing services from traditional print marketing to cutting-edge digital technology.

ACP Awards Levine

Myron M. Levine, the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s associate dean for Global Health, Vaccinology and Infectious Diseases, has been awarded the American College of Physicians Award for Science for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine. The American College of Physicians is the national organization of internists. Levine received the award April 30 at the group’s Internal Medicine Meeting 2015 in Boston.

Established in 1958, the award honors recipients for exceptional contributions to medicine.

Levine, the Bessie & Simon Grollman Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine, founded the Center for Vaccine Development at the school in 1974 and served as its director through 2014. For the past 40 years, under Levine’s leadership, the CVD has conducted a wide range of research relating to the development of vaccines for a variety of diseases, including cholera and malaria. The CVD also developed new delivery systems as well as public health and vaccine policy. Most recently, Levine lead CVD’s involvement in the World Health Organization’s consortium to test an Ebola vaccine.

Levine is clinically trained in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases and is also trained in tropical public health and epidemiology. He received post-graduate laboratory training in microbiology and immunology of bacterial infections.

Hoffman Heads South Influential figure of The Associated taking his talents to Palm Beach

Michael Hoffman (Photo Provided)

Michael Hoffman (Photo Provided)

After 14 years, The Associated will be losing a key member of its core. Chief Development Officer Michael Hoffman will leave June 30 to become president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County (Fla.) later this year.

Hoffman, 44, has served in a number of roles with The Associated since 2001 and spent five years with United Jewish Communities prior to that. He said serving in these roles has helped him strengthen his Jewish identity.

“I consider myself a product of the Jewish federation movement,” having worked at the national umbrella organization for five years. “Professionally, it’s been an incredible opportunity to see the impact that we can have locally, nationally and internationally.”

Hoffman grew up on Long Island and developed his connection to Judaism early on by attending Camp Eisner. After earning a degree in political science from the University of Cincinnati in 1993, he spent a year in Israel as part of the Oztma volunteer program. It was during this time that he had one of his most powerful experiences.

Hoffman and several others greeted a planeload of Russian Jews who had fled anti-Semitism in their home country. He handed an 8-year-old boy an Israeli flag and said “Shalom,” to which the boy responded with “Shalom” and a smile.

“That was what I called my defining moment,” he said.

Hoffman returned to Israel in September 2014 when he and several others from The Associated visited Ashkelon after the city had been devastated by rockets that were fired from Gaza in the preceding months.

“Baltimore is home to some of the strongest Jewish lay leaders in the country,” said Hoffman, and “[The Associated] is the best federation in the country. If I could take 10 percent of what I learned at The Associated and bring it to Florida, that would be a success.”

Hoffman is grateful for all of the opportunities he’s had with the organization and to have had worked with leaders such as President Marc Terrill, who “has been a tremendous teacher and leader and father figure to me.”

When he recruited Hoffman 14 years ago, Terrill recalled that he could tell it was a good fit because Hoffman had a certain knowledge and skillset that was essential to a community organization.

“I wanted The Associated — and personally I wanted — to play a role in Michael’s maturation,” he said.

Terrill said Hoffman played an instrumental role in conducting The Associated’s community study in 2010, something he called a “watershed moment.”

Hoffman has brought a good deal of candor and humility to The Associated family while he has been in Baltimore, he added, and hopes he has the same amount of success in Florida.

“It’s been incredibly gratifying to watch Michael grow personally and professionally,” Terrill said.

Linda Hurwitz, chair of planning and allocations at The Associated, said Hoffman was known for making notes on index cards during meetings and furthering his goals, regardless of who called the meeting.

“Even if it’s your meeting, he has an agenda, and he has something he wants to accomplish,” she said.

Hurwitz added that Hoffman’s no-nonsense attitude contributed to his efficiency.

“When you have a conversation, when you need someone to get something done — when you share it with Michael, it’s done,” she said.

Ray Golden, board chair of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, said their search committee put out inquiries to federations throughout the country and came up with several names. Hoffman’s name was at the top of the list.

“Number one was he came from a great federation, and number two is he had good experience in all aspects of the federation,” he said. “It was good for him because it gave him a chance to employ his talents in the issues he’s had experience with.”

Golden said he feels confident Hoffman can lead the Palm Beach federation through a period of transition in the aftermath of the departure of their previous CEO who retired after 25 years. He also said the federation’s annual campaign has been in decline and he hopes Hoffman’s personality can turn things around.

“These kinds of changes create turmoil in the community,” Golden said. “Hopefully, being as youthful as he is and as energetic as he is will bring stability.”

Golden said has confidence in Hoffman because he “has been around the block” and already has major connections within the Jewish community. He hopes the new CEO’s arrival has an impact on the younger population too.

“These millennials are at a point in time where they’re going to be the future of our community,” said Golden.

Hoffman is married and has two children, 9 and 12, who he says are excited about the move because it means escaping the snow during winter and living close to their grandparents.

Said Hoffman, “To live down the street from both grandparents, we just couldn’t pass that up.”