When Pikesville native Jayne Havens returned to the Baltimore area, after living in Washington, D.C. for a number of years, she was hoping to expand her social circle. A young mother of two children, Sid, 4, and Ivy, eight weeks old, she wanted to connect with other young Jewish families in and around Lutherville.
Like most young mothers, she knew the value of meeting other moms who would share their experiences, while offering valuable advice along the way. She wanted to provide playmates for her young son, and later, daughter, as she grew. She admitted it would be great if the families she met lived nearby. And, she loved the idea of sharing Jewish experiences with other local families.
Her childhood friend, Lauren Ades, had became a Macks Center for Jewish Education (CJE) Community Connector in Canton,
in Baltimore City, where she lives with her husband and daughter. She recommended Lauren look into it.
Community Connectors engage young Jewish families in their neighborhood, creating social – Jewish and non-Jewish-themed – programs.
“This sounded like a perfect way for me to get involved,” says Jayne, a former high-end social and corporate events planner in D.C., who executed a number of notable affairs including Google’s inaugural party. “I love the idea of connecting with other young families, particularly since I am new to Lutherville.”
Currently, there are seven connectors, working in Canton, Lutherville, Pikesville, Mt. Washington and Southeast Baltimore. CJE plans to expand to Towson and Roland Park later this year.
A Mom’s Challah Bake at the Ritz Carlton and a Dad’s Malt Night to drink scotch and learn
Torah are just a few Community Connector programs.
Connectors bring together families with children, ages three to six. There is a separate Ahava Baby program for families with children, birth to age two.
In the past year, connectors have hosted a range of programs from a Mom’s Night Out Challah Bake at The Ritz Carlton in Baltimore to family Havdalah programs at the Downtown Baltimore JCC. For the past two years one of the Mt. Washington connectors created a fantasy football draft – women only.
There was even a night for Dads. Twenty men turned out for Malt Men – a night in which Dads drank scotch while learning Torah.
Jayne is planning several intimate events, such as a play date at the park and an ice cream outing, so friends can get to know one another on a personal level. As she grows the group, Jayne sees herself becoming a Jewish resource for Lutherville families, helping them navigate preschool and camp options, as well as directing them to Jewish programming throughout the community.
“Although I’m from Baltimore, I think this is a wonderful way for me to meet friends in my new community who have similar interests and who face similar challenges,” she says.
CJE is an agency of The Associated. For more information about the connector program or to find a connector in your area visit cjebaltimore.org.
Photo: Baltimore native Jayne Havens recently returned to her hometown where she is now a community Connector in Lutherville. Pictured with husband Jonathan, and children, Sid (left) and Ivy. DANIELLE SARA PHOTOGRAPHY
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