Shabbat candle lighting: 8:19pm

Meet Laura Kurcfeld: Senior Program Director, Park Heights JCC

Meet Laura Kurcfeld
Senior Program Director,
Weinberg Park Heights J

Join us as we give a warm welcome to Laura Kurcfeld, our new Senior Program Director at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC! Laura has strong ties to the Baltimore Orthodox community and is thrilled to bring her talents and knowledge to this new role. Get to know more about Laura and some of the exciting plans she has for the JCC in her interview.

Q: Why are you excited to be at the JCC?
A: I’ve been a part of the Baltimore Orthodox community for over 21 years. The JCC is exactly what it represents – The Jewish Community. We are blessed with a vibrant Jewish community around the Park Heights JCC. We have the opportunity to offer a place for greater community gatherings outside of synagogues and schools. I have joined an amazing team of professionals and lay leaders who have been very welcoming and collaborative. From Barak and the Executive Team to the Board members, and all the management team at the JCC–I could not have asked for a greater group of people to work with. Pre-pandemic there was a lot going on here with special family & youth programming offered after-school, Motzei Shabbos, and on Sundays. I’m excited to bring those back again -- some the same and some new or improved -- and it feels really good to be the one to ensure it comes to fruition. Engagement through COVID-19 friendly programming is important for the safety of guests and staff, and there are seamless ways of making that happen.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your new role?
A: I’m looking forward to helping bring exciting energy back to the Weinberg Park Heights JCC while also helping to grow the center’s membership. My organizational skills and many years of experience with event coordination, project management, and customer service, will be extremely valuable in this new role. In addition to bringing back the popular programming I referred to, we are also interested in introducing new programming for kids of all ages as well as adult programming. As I plan the programming, I will also be focused on strengthening existing partnerships and creating new partnerships with local agencies/organizations to bring new people into the facility. As always, we will remain expressly sensitive to the needs of the Orthodox Jewish community.

Q: Can you give us a sneak peek of any new programs/events that are heading our way?
A: This past weekend, we partnered with Chabad of Park Heights to once again host Chanukah Wonderland. I look forward to setting up Motzei Shabbos game nights, scavenger hunts, kids’ sports activities, open mic nights and dance parties (some for women only), and perhaps a fun date night for couples or men’s and women’s friends’ nights with food & fun. There are a lot of discussions that need to take place in order to put together the best programming for the community on many levels. I love creating something from nothing, and having a clean slate right now is an exciting challenge.

Q: What are some of your past experiences?
A: I have been planning events for over 35 years. Some of my experiences include coordinating singles’ events, international conventions, a shopping center grand opening extravaganza as well as lots of synagogue holiday carnivals and programming for non-profit and corporate retreats. Also, for many years, I coordinated and ran the Pesach at Pearlstone getaways including the activities and entertainment.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I like to read a lot of suspense and mystery novels, take short or long road trips, and do genealogy research on my family. The longest road trip was a few summers ago–3500 miles in nine days through 10 states. The most exciting part of genealogy was finding out a couple of months ago where my great-grandparents are buried in Connecticut and visiting their kevorim (graves)–they died in 1920 and 1940 respectively. I have no idea when the last time someone from my family was there.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote/words to live by?
A: I just try to think very positively and act proactively. There is no reason to get stressed about things that are out of our control or when things don’t go as expected. We just have to work toward solutions and create the best environment for the people around us.