Tell us about yourself:
I was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland where my family was active in the Jewish community. I became involved in NCSY at an early age. Even though I was from Annapolis, I spent most of my high school years in Baltimore. I am grateful to mentors and friends such as Bonnie and Joey Pollak who became a second family to me. I attended seminary in Israel, graduated from Stern College for Women and began my career in Jewish Communal Service. For 4 years I worked for the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) as a Regional Program Coordinator and eventually as the Marketing Director. I relocated to Baltimore in 2001, where I began working as the Marketing Director for the Jewish Literacy Foundation. It was through my relationship with Yigal and Rivky Segal that I ended up as the Program Manager for the Women’s Institute of Torah (WIT). In 2004, upon Rivky’s aliyah, our Board of Directors asked me to assume the leadership role of the organization. I enjoy helping other organizations in our wonderful community and have served in volunteer leadership roles at the JCC of Greater Baltimore as well as the Talmudical Academy (TA).
Tell us about your family:
In 2001, I met and married Ari Schulman who grew up in Boro Park. We have two wonderful sons, Eitan and Noam. Eitan recently graduated from the Yeshiva of Greater Washington and is now learning in Migdal HaTorah in Israel. Noam is an 11th grader at TA. We are fortunate to live not far from my family in Annapolis. We often visit Ari’s family who have relocated to Israel.
What is your role at WIT?
I am proud to serve as WIT’s Executive Director. I focus on all aspects of our organization including developing curriculum and programing, identifying engaging teachers and organizing special programs and events. In addition, I serve as the point person for all of the women who participate in WIT programs and classes. Working in tandem with our dedicated Board of Directors I ensure that every aspect of the day to day operations are met. I am in constant communication with both our president, Leah Berry and our past president, Linda S. Elman who both have exemplary communal leadership skills and knowledge. It is a privilege to work with them and learn from them on a daily basis.
How did WIT fare during the pandemic?
Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, WIT had already been offering one weekly class via Zoom. Baruch Hashem our familiarity with the platform enabled a seamless transition to Zoom for all of our classes. We used the pandemic as an opportunity to engage speakers from around the world and were able to offer classes from educators in Israel, London, South Africa and Canada while also continuing to offer our regular semester courses with our talented local educators. When we returned to in-person classes a decision was made to incorporate Zoom opportunities into our regular schedule. We now offer two courses exclusively via Zoom as well as our monthly Rosh Chodesh program.
What is special about WIT?
WIT is a wonderful place for women of all ages and backgrounds to flourish. Classes are offered Sunday through Thursday in topics ranging from Tanach, Parsha, Jewish Philosophy, Tefilla, Halacha and Hashkafa. I marvel at the relationships that are made among the women and faculty. Women who are new to Baltimore know that WIT is a place where they can learn and meet new people at the same time! It is a fabulous way for them to be exposed to our special community. The learning at WIT is l’shma. Each and every woman who attends WIT is able to strengthen themselves, their families and their homes.
Tells us about WIT’s Annual Melave Malka
WIT’s Annual Melave Malka has become a highly anticipated event each year. Women from throughout Baltimore gather together in support of women’s learning and growth. Funds raised at the Melave Malka are an integral part of our operating budget and enable us to carry out our mission. This year, our Board of Directors surprised me and asked me to be the recipient of the Avodas HaLev award at the event. WIT is more than just a job to me. It is the place where I spend the majority of my time. Our members have become family to me. Therefore, I felt compelled to accept this honor in order to help raise awareness of this worthwhile organization. I am honored that Mrs. Shira Smiles, a renowned educator from Israel, will be speaking at this year’s event on Motzei Shabbos, January 7th. Mrs. Smiles will then continue on as WIT’s Scholar in Residence for the remainder of that week. For more information on how to participate in this year’s Melave Malka please visit our website https://www.witbaltimore.org/melavemalka. Please note, reservations are required so act fast!