Morris “Maury” Garten installed as Chairman of the JCC Board
One Friday back in September of 2002, JCC preschool father Maury Garten reached into his daughter’s backpack and found, much to his amazement, a challah, candlesticks, a bottle of grape juice, and his daughter Leanne’s hand-colored challah cover, along with the Shabbat prayers. These items were donated by the JCC’s Stoler Early Childhood Education program in Owings Mills. It was that Friday night, Maury proudly recalls, that the Shabbat rituals warmly returned to his home, after a period over which the tradition had faded. That was 15 years ago.
Fast forward to June 8, 2017, the day of the JCC of Greater Baltimore’s Annual Meeting, and Maury was installed as chairman of the JCC Board.
Maury has been a member of the J since 2002, when he and his wife Alice enrolled Leanne in the Stoler ECE program. Three years later, in 2005, Maury was asked by then board chair Larry Rosenberg to serve on the JCC board.
A graduate of the Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Leadership Institute’s ACHARAI Fellows Program and a former board member of Etz Chaim of Baltimore, Maury has held numerous leadership roles in the community. A past chair of the Young Adult Division of the Associated and a former treasurer of Hillel of Greater Baltimore, Maury has also served as the co-chair of the Annual Fund for the McDonogh School and as President of the Alumni Association of Franklin & Marshall College.
“I am so proud of the Jewish education I’ve received from ACHARAI and Etz Chaim, to enhance my ability to study and comprehend matters through a Jewish perspective,” he says. “I have also had the benefit of significant leadership development, board engagement, and fundraising experiences through the JCC, the Associated, and Franklin & Marshall College. Yet, even with all this experience working with dynamic educators and leadership, I certainly realize the challenges of leading this remarkable organization. I know to succeed it will require even more study and growth by the JCC board to help the JCC continue to thrive.”
Maury is proud the JCC has allowed him to engage in the Jewish community regardless of his official Jewish affiliation. “When you become a member here,” he says, “It really doesn’t matter where you fit into your level of religiosity — the JCC creates a warm fostering Jewish home for my family and so many others that I know.”
“The Jim Joseph Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (and its JCamp 180) have come to recognize that the JCC is such a great place for innovative offerings. First, since the JCC serves so much of the Jewish Community, we have the unique ability to see how innovative programming can impact so many members of our community. Second, we have some of the most respected staff and are able to adapt to changes in our community while maintaining the quality of our offerings. Finally, our volunteer lay leaders provide so much support for initiatives such as 4Front — to make sure these programs succeed.”
Maury is accustomed to asking a lot of questions. He says “As a leader, I try hard not to prejudge situations, but rather, to work in a collaborative manner once the facts and circumstances are known. I believe the members of the JCC executive committee are highly qualified individuals capable of working together to move the JCC forward.”
Maury has attended five JCC biennials, conventions at which JCC lay leaders share ideas and gain insights from visiting speakers. He served as one of the local Chairs for the 2016 JCC Biennial Celebration in Baltimore, where he delivered the D’var Torah at the Open Plenary, an occasion he points to with great pride. Maury is proud of so many JCC accomplishments: the JCC ’s participation in the Maccabi games, the Charm City Tribe’s wonderful holiday programming, and on a more personal note, his own yoga training at the J, which he claims has been “excellent for maintaining balance in life.”
Maury’s family members can also be seen at the J. His wife, Alice, works out at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC, and Maury’s two daughters, Leanne, 17, and Danielle, 14, also enjoy Jewish programming at the J.
Maury believes that the JCC is the place where great mitzvahs happen every day.
Photo credit: Jewish Times