Our Staff

Our staff represents a unique blend of talents, personalities, and world views that help make us such a diverse and creative organization.

Executive Director:

Caren Leven


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Meet Caren Leven our new Executive Director. Prior to coming to the BZD, Leven – Who grew up here in Baltimore, but was born and raised in Haifa Israel, is fluent in both English and Hebrew — She spent five years as the Director Of Congregational Engagement at Temple Oheb Shalom. At the Pikesville congregation, she led community outreach efforts and created, revamped and implemented hundreds of community-based, marketing campaigns. Working with volunteers and lay leadership, she significantly grew membership during her tenure, In addition, Caren has extensive experience in sales and account management. “I was attracted to the [BZD] because Israel holds a very special place in my heart, I was born and raised in Haifa and came to the United States when I was 10 years old — exactly 30 years ago. Although I have spent most of my life here, a piece of me was left behind. Now, my life has come full circle”.  Caren is a graduate of Towson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a minor in Marketing, She lives in Pikesville with her husband, Jon, their two children, Ayden and Ava, and their dog, Lulu.











Marketing and Communications Coordinator: Arielle Ashpes


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Meet Arielle Ashpes, our Marketing and Communications Coordinator! Arielle was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and currently lives in Towson, MD. Prior to her working as a full-time employee, she was the BZD social media intern during her last semester in college. Arielle graduated Summa Cum Laude, from Stevenson University, with a Bachelors's in Business Communication. However, Arielle started her professional career long before she graduated. In 2014, she began her company, Tech Savvy Ari, where she tutored individuals ages 50+ in using social media and their technological devices. Later, Arielle added another component to her business, which was working as a social media manager for various businesses. Arielle’s work experience, creativity, ambition, love for Israel and the Jewish people made her a perfect match for BZD. She is always working on ways to not only stay connected to Israel and Judaism for herself, but for others, too. Arielle is super passionate about building a foundation for young adults to understand the importance and greatness of the state of Israel. Alongside her passion for Israel, Arielle loves to hike, read, write, sing and play her guitar! 

BZD Shlicha

Adi Ratzon


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Adi Ratzon was born in 1990 and grew up in Ramat Gan, Israel. Adi was part of the “Maccabi Tzair” Youth Movement throughout her childhood and she worked with kids and teens. After finishing High School, Adi chose to do a year of voluntary social service in the city of Beer Sheva instead of drafting right away.  In 2009, Adi drafted into the IDF, where she served in the Karkal Unit, which is a unique co-ed combat unit based in Southern Israel. She was also a part of a unique program called Garin Nahal which was run through the Education Corp. After a year and a half of combat service, she moved to the southern city of Kiryat Gat, where she volunteered with difficult teenagers for a year. Adi spent her entire life with the Maccabi Youth Movement, so it was only fitting that after her army service, she rejoined and worked for them for six years. Adi holds a BA in Psychology and Sociology from the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yafo. Adi is now the Shlicha for the Baltimore Zionist District and is excited to bring the Israeli culture and feeling to the Baltimore community.

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About BZD

The Baltimore Zionist District (BZD) exists for the sole purpose of nurturing the bonds between Baltimore and the State of Israel.  

Baltimore Zionist District (BZD) uses its direct Israeli connection as a home base for the creation of cultural and political programs and educational activities which deal with all aspects of Zionism and modern Israeli life. BZD works with and reaches out to Baltimore’s Jews across the religious and cultural spectrum and the greater Baltimore community.

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