by Joel F.
We can’t move forward without knowing where we have been. This is the essence of why the Jewish Federation of Howard County took on the creation of the Howard County Jewish History Project. By looking back at how the rapid growth of Columbia impacted the evolution of the organized Jewish community in the area, we are better able to chart a path into the future that builds on the work that has been put in by the leaders of the past.
The Jewish Federation is the major instrument of Jewish philanthropy and engagement in Howard County. We are a community-driven organization committed to taking care of the needs of the Jewish people and building a vibrant Jewish future in Howard County, in Israel, and around the world. We are responsible for looking out for the entire Jewish community in the county, not just one demographic segment or one geographic pocket.
The Howard County History Project, “Made From Scratch: Creating the Howard County Jewish Community,” is the type of venture that only a communally-minded organization like ours could take on. We are so grateful to the wonderful historians who worked on this project with us, Deb Weiner and Karen Falk. Assembling this collection of artifacts and anecdotes took over three years, and their process was greatly impacted by the pandemic. Howard County’s Jewish history dates back to the 19th century, but the exhibit starts in the 1950s, when 12 Jewish families settled in the area. It takes viewers through the most important inflection points in the community’s history over the next 50 years then wraps up with an epilogue that gives an overview of what the local Jewish community looks like today.
We are thrilled that the the exhibit’s tour stops next at HCLS Central Branch in the Equity Resource Center from January 4 – February 10. HCLS is one of our most important community partners, and we are always excited to collaborate with them. And if you are wondering when might be a good time to check out the exhibit, maybe try to schedule your visit on January 19, when the Federation and the library partner on an event with local author Diane Tuckman to complement the exhibit.
Joel Frankel was appointed the executive director of The Jewish Federation of Howard County on July 1, 2021. He and his family moved from St. Louis, Missouri, where he spent almost 10 years working at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. Joel and his wife Leah have two sons. As a family they love exploring everything this area has to offer, especially the tot lots, playgrounds, and all of the amazing trails.