Baltimore, MD - May 22, 2017 - The Darrell D. Friedman Institute for professional Development at the Weinberg Center (DFI), a program of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, will present three prestigious Jewish communal awards at its annual Celebration of Professional leadership, May 25 at Temple Oheb Shalom.

Larry Ziffer, CEO of the Louise D. and Morton J. Macks Center for Jewish Education, will receive the Daniel Thursz Distinguished Jewish Communal Service Award. This annual award recognizes an individual who has worked in the field of Jewish communal service for at least 20 years, serves the greater Baltimore community and demonstrates leadership and exemplary professional skills.

Meghann Schwartz, Associate Director, Jewish Federation of Howard County, will receive the Outstanding Jewish Communal Professional award for demonstrating exceptional promise and a commitment to a career in Jewish communal service.

In addition, Molly Amster, Baltimore Director, Jews United for Justice will receive the Neely Tal Snyder Community Impact Award This award honors the memory of Neely Tal Snyder z”l by recognizing a professional with a strong commitment and passion for Jewish community. The winner of this award has helped to build immersive and hands-on experiences/programs that have community impact and demonstrate creativity, openness and inclusion.

About Larry Ziffer: With his vantage point from his nearly 40 years in the field, from Boston, Detroit and in Baltimore, at The Associated, teaching lay leaders for ACHARAI and professionals for DFI, and as he concludes his career at the Macks Center for Jewish Education, Larry Ziffer has demonstrated his commitment to Klal Yisrael, to the Jewish people and to the Baltimore Jewish community. He is a teacher to many and a mensch of the highest order. He has wisdom and historical perspective that add nuance and depth to many community conversations. His love of the Jewish people is matched only by his love of Torah and of his family. 

Larry is constantly teaching. He is never without a D'var Torah or an important message in his "back pocket". He embodies the duality of "Bishvili Nivrah HaOlam" (the world was created for me) and "Anochi Afar V'Efer" (I am but dust and ashes). This can be seen in his ability to maintain his humble approach while inspiring others with his insight and teaching. He is loving and accepting of all Jews. He inspired a generation of leaders to think about themselves as JEWISH leaders. He provided insight into Jewish Baltimore, because through his professional leadership, he has been a shaper of Jewish Baltimore.

Meghann Schwartz has a strong history of Jewish communal work, from working in marketing and communications at the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, and the Washington Jewish Week, as well as her educational background in Jewish communal service at BHU, her degree in non-profit management from Johns Hopkins University, and her certificate from DFI.

As part of the Jewish Federation of Howard County team, Meghann is the glue that keeps the organization together with inspiring energy and dedication. She provides consistent guidance on areas from marketing to lay leader communications. She supervises the shlichut program, and this year has taken the lead on our campaign initiatives. She continues to rise to the challenge with patience, commitment, and extreme efficiency. At the heart of her talents is her strongest asset, her ability to cultivate genuine relationships with people. Members from across the spectrum of our Jewish community know to reach out to her with any issue and trust that she possesses both the acumen and the aptitude to respond correctly. Meghann maintains close ties with Jewish community professionals in the Baltimore community, and continues to pursue professional development opportunities and ideas that she brings back to Howard County.

Molly Amster embodies the JUFJ mission of “Think Jewish. Act Local.”  Molly works on developing leaders in the Jewish Community to, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “bend the arc of the universe towards justice.” She works at the grassroots level, very much akin to the work Neely z”l did at Pearlstone, at CJE, and with JQ Baltimore.

Molly Amster is the founding director of the Baltimore branch of Jews United for Justice (JUFJ), which has been in existence since the fall of 2014. JUFJ organizes Jews to help win local social, racial, and economic justice issues inspired by shared Jewish values. Prior to her time at JUFJ, Molly worked for CHAI (Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc.) for 7 years running volunteer services, older adult engagement, the school community partnership, and Community Conversations (a Black/Jewish dialogue group). In this role, she worked with the Baltimore Education Coalition to win nearly $1 billion for Baltimore City School to rebuild/renovate some of Baltimore's crumbling school buildings. Molly is a facilitator for Baltimore Racial Justice Action and is a proud Baltimore City resident.

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The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore strengthens and nurtures Jewish life by engaging and supporting community partners in Greater Baltimore, Israel and around the world.