I’m here today with Dr. Yehuda Lehrfield, President of the Glen Ave Shul (Shearith Israel) – a shul that has been a mainstay of the Baltimore community for decades.
How are you today?
I’m doing great!
How long have you been involved in the shul?
Shortly after moving to Baltimore with my family to attend dental school about ten years ago, I began davening in the shul and haven’t looked back! The shul and the surrounding area are a wonderful place to raise a family and I feel fortunate to have developed a strong connection with the Shul’s Rav, Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer.
What attracted you to the shul?
I saw the shul as a place of growth and was fascinated by Rabbi Hopfer’s unique ability to connect with people. Additionally, I arrived in Baltimore at a time when the Upper Park Heights neighborhood was experiencing a rebirth with dozens of young families moving in as a direct result of the Shul’s new Kollel, that is also spearheaded by Rabbi Hopfer. People, regardless of age or background, feel comfortable in the Shul and I believe this is rooted in Rabbi Hopfer’s uncanny ability to show people that they are capable of accomplishing far more than what they had previously thought was possible.
Can you tell me more about the neighborhood?
About 10 years ago, Rabbi Hopfer brought in a new Kollel to the Shul and the Upper Park Heights neighborhood. Starting with ten talented, young families, the Kollel has become a central place for limud hatorah and people from throughout the community come to learn there on a daily basis. As the Kollel continues to bring in new yungeleit and their families, many of the original yungeleit still live in the neighborhood and are using their talents to impact the broader community. Young families are now flocking to the neighborhood and one can now hear the constant buzz of children running up and down the streets.
The Shul also boasts a vibrant morning and night seder where balei batim learn alongside the Kollel, and the motzei Shabbos Avos U’Banim is a sight to behold with the bais medresh packed beyond capacity. There are other chaburos and daf yomi shiurim learning in the Shul throughout the day, as well as shiurim and programming for women and girls.
Tell me about Rabbi Hopfer’s impact on the community?
Rabbi Hopfer’s impact on the Baltimore community can’t be understated. Besides for leading the Vaad HaRabonim, the Rav is extremely busy on a day-to-day basis meeting with individuals and families from throughout the community, guiding fellow Rabbanim, actively involved in many of our community’s most important institutions, and, arguably most importantly, he constantly works towards creating communal achdus at every opportunity.
Can you tell me about the Shul’s upcoming campaign?
Sure! On January 28-29, the Shul will be running a Causematch campaign celebrating the Shul’s growth and Rabbi Hopfer’s communal leadership. Everyone in the community benefits from our Rav’s leadership and we encourage everyone to support the Shul – a true Treasure of Baltimore!!
Please visit https://causematch.com/SIC24 to donate.