04 January 2018
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is pleased to welcome Malki Karkowsky to our professional team as our new Director of Women’s Philanthropy. We sat down with Malki to learn more about her background and what she’s looking forward to accomplishing in her new role.
Tell us about your background and what attracted you to the role of Director of Women’s Philanthropy.
I’ve spent more than a decade in the Jewish communal field, including at Hillel International, The Jewish Federation of Cleveland, BBYO in New England, Hillel at the University of North Carolina and George Washington University. I’m very excited about this new opportunity, and I’m looking forward to strengthening the role of women philanthropists in our community.
What is it about working in the Jewish communal world that you’re most passionate about?
Growing up, I had a strong, supportive Jewish community. I felt the values that I espoused were reflected in it and if anything happened – good or bad – my community would be there to support, grieve and/or celebrate with me. Additionally, Judaism is a deep religion full of meaning; there’s a reason why we participate in holidays, tradition and rituals. I love that Judaism is about more than just what’s on the façade. I think it’s wonderful to explore it with others who also feel proud to belong to the Jewish community. Working for Jewish organizations is an extension of these values.
What excites you about the role women philanthropists can play in our community?
I once heard a speech in which a woman spoke about how in too many movies, the ingenue turns to the protagonist and asks, “What do we do?” The woman giving the speech asked – rightly so – “when have a group of women not known exactly what to do in any given challenging situation?” I feel that this sums up most, if not all, of the Jewish women I have met. Our tradition encourages us to question, and our heritage has required us to be problem solvers. I’ve been so impressed by what I’ve already seen from our community in my short time at Federation, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what else these incredibly generous and resourceful women in Greater Washington can accomplish together in the coming year to further our community.
As a Maryland native, is there anything about the Greater Washington community that is particularly meaningful to you?
I have always been impressed by the strength of the Jewish community in Greater Washington. Even though its population can be very transient, there is still the sense of connection and service.
Did The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington play a part in your life while growing up in the area?
Growing up in a local, tight-knit Modern Orthodox community, it wasn’t always clear to me as a child who or what external organizations supported us. But as I learned more about Federation’s work, I realized that it is the backbone that ensured that I could participate in the beautiful Jewish life I live. I’m looking forward to giving back to our community in this new role, to do what I can to ensure that other members of our community also have these meaningful opportunities.