If you ask Ali Blumberg about her identity, she does not hesitate to say how proud she is to be Jewish. Growing up, this 2010 graduate of Franklin High School speaks fondly about the Jewish holidays spent with family, her bat mitzvah, and how these seminal events shaped who she is today.
That commitment to Jewish values is evident in her commitment to giving back. When she is not working, this second grade teacher is involved with IMPACT, the young adult division of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.
We talked to Ali about her Judaism and her most recent volunteer work.
I have such fond memories growing up and being Jewish. I loved going to my grandmother’s house for the major Jewish holidays – the High Holy Days, Chanukah, Passover. It was great being with family. My grandmother would always cook everything and her matzo ball soup was my favorite.
My bat mitzvah was so special. It was held at the Sheraton in Columbia. I loved having my friends and family all together for my special day.
Growing up, I didn’t really know much about The Associated, although I knew people who worked at the JCC [which is supported by The Associated]. The first time I really got involved was several years ago, after I got a call from Rebecca [Ellison] who I’ve known for a long time. Rebecca invited me to sit on a Young Professional Committee.
Since I’ve become involved, I’ve helped plan IMPACT’s Gala and the Tu B’Shevat Seder. It’s great being part of a committee because I get to present ideas for events that interest other young professionals.
I’ve even had opportunities to contribute to making these programs a success, like securing food as a donation for the Seder.
What I love about being involved with IMPACT is that I’ve had the chance to meet new people and I enjoy giving back.
We are talking about creating an Oneg Shabbat program downtown where so many Jews live. For me, Shabbat is special. I remember when I was little, I have wonderful memories of my family’s Friday night Shabbat dinners. Now I’m excited to celebrate Shabbat with friends and other young professionals.
If I could invite anyone to my Shabbat table it would be Oprah. When I was younger, I used to watch her on TV every day and I envision her as a leader, a role model who gives back to her community.
If I could ask Oprah anything I would ask her what has been her most rewarding experience in her life so far.
To learn more about IMPACT, contact Rebecca Ellison at email@example.com.