Giving Back Runs in the Family

For Mara Goldstein, a passion for Jewish community runs in the family. 


In the 1960s, her grandparents were active in CJP – which, in turn, influenced Mara’s parents, Robert and Stepheny (z”l) Riemer to get involved. Looking back, Mara remembers her parents giving their time and treasure generously to CJP, Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS), Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters, and JCC Greater Boston. 


“The Jewish community was truly ingrained in our lives,” she says. “My parents were incredible role models to me and my brother, Adam. They were just doing but I don’t think they realized how impactful it was for us as children to watch them make such a difference. It became part of who I am.”  


And it remains a part of her still. Now, Mara is living out the lessons from her childhood and continuing her family’s legacy of giving back. Since July 2022, she’s served as Chair of JCC Greater Boston’s Board of Directors. In addition, Mara, a longtime CJP donor, sits on CJP%u2019s Teen Engagement Committee, is active with the JF&CS Center for Basic Needs Assistance, and along with her husband and daughters, a regular JF&CS Family Table volunteer. 


“I feel so honored to be able to serve the community in ways that help make a difference in people’s lives,” Mara says. “Giving back gives me such a warm, positive feeling that motivates me to keep doing it.”  


Creating comfortable spaces to be Jewish 


For Mara, becoming JCC Board Chair was especially meaningful – given her parents’ history with the organization and her own family’s longtime connection to the JCC. Mara and her husband, Bob, have been JCC members “forever,” she says, and their three daughters, Hannah, 25; Sophie, 23; and Lila, 20; have long been active in JCC programs and activities.   


“The JCC has always been important to my family, and I was so honored to have been asked to take on this leadership role,” Mara says. “I have a passion for finding ways to create comfortable spaces for people to express their Jewish identity. The JCC embodies that. There are no questions asked you show up as you are. Being able to represent an organization that is so in the forefront of welcoming matches perfectly with my passions.” 


In her role, Mara’s had the chance to see firsthand the “incredible partnership” between CJP and the JCC as the two organizations work together toward a shared vision of a more connected and engaged Greater Boston Jewish community. 


“It’s more than just one plus one equals two it’s one plus one equals three,” she says. “Being able to do this together in partnership enables us to really take advantage of the synergies between the two organizations and exponentially make the programs more impactful.”  


Within CJP, Mara is also focused on creating comfortable spaces to express Jewish identity, namely through her work on the Teen Engagement Committee, a group of volunteers who partner with CJP professionals to identify new and increased opportunities for teens to be inspired, empowered, and connected with each other and the Jewish community as they navigate their Jewish journeys. 


“Teens these days are dealing with so many issues antisemitism, anti-Israel rhetoric, mental health, and just the stress of everyday life,” she says. CJP and its partners are meeting kids where they are to engage them in things they’re interested in and care about