Meet Jen Grossman

When Jen Grossman first became involved in volunteer activities through The Associated, she never imagined that her volunteer work would take her far beyond the boundaries of Baltimore, all the way to Ashkelon, Israel.

As chair of Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC), Grossman promotes volunteerism in Baltimore and Ashkelon, and helps to create lasting relationships and deep connections between American Jews and Israelis.

Jen’s journey began with JVC’s Community Mitzvah Day.

“After we made our first meaningful gift to The Associated, I knew I wanted to give of my time as well,” says 41-year-old Grossman, a mother of three, and chair of JVC.

Since her children were small, Grossman searched for a volunteer activity that her young family could do together. “Community Mitzvah Day seemed like the perfect place to start,” she recalls. The event, sponsored by JVC every year on Dec. 25, brings together families from all corners of Baltimore’s Jewish community for a full day of volunteer projects.

After chairing Community Mitzvah Day for three years, Grossman was accepted into ACHARAI: The Shoshana S. Cardin Leadership Development Institute, a two-year training program for Jewish communal lay leaders.

Once she completed the program, Grossman put her keenly-honed leadership skills to work as vice chair of JVC and became a member of the Baltimore-Ashkelon Task Force. Two years later, Grossman was slated to become the next chair of JVC. Prior to beginning her term, Grossman went on a four day mission to Israel and spent three days in Ashkelon getting an overview of the types of volunteer opportunities that existed for visitors from Jewish Baltimore.

“It was amazing,” she says. “I just fell in love with the city and the way they look at volunteering. Ashkelon is very much like Baltimore. In many areas it is beautiful and thriving, yet just blocks away there are critical unmet needs.”

Grossman returned to Israel on a partnership mission in March 2015 and this time, she spent all four days in Baltimore’s sister city. One volunteer activity which was especially meaningful to Grossman was at Orr Shalom Ashkelon, which comprises four therapeutic group homes for children, age six through 18, who have been removed from their biological families due to severe abuse and/or neglect. Grossman and other volunteers painted children’s bedrooms and built playgrounds there.

“What makes my return trips so incredible is to see that the work I’ve done doesn’t stop once I leave. We plant a seed of opportunity and the people of Ashkelon run with it,” she says. “Volunteering is a way to connect American Jews to Israelis on so many levels.”

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service