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“I always thought of Judaism as a burden that my family had carried around for generations. Now I view it as a gift. All thanks to Jewish Connection!” - J.W., Syracuse NY

Who We Are

Ancient Wisdom for the Modern World


Jewish Connection of Maryland is dedicated to showing college students and young professionals the beauty and relevance of Jewish spirituality while addressing today's challenges. Our mission is to help today's generation of young Jews explore themselves and their values utilizing the tools of over 3000 years of Jewish wisdom. 

College and young adulthood is often a time when people seek to discover who they are and why they're here - unfortunately Judaism is usually the last place people look for answers to these age-old questions. We explore ancient Kabbalistic and Talmudic approaches to answering the modern challenges of happiness, meaning, relationships, and success.


Nowadays, with the growing modern maladies of depression, anxiety, existential confusion, digital disconnect, divorce, and loneliness, these lessons are more important than ever! In addition to classes, we are a hub to connect students to heavily subsidized educational travel and internship experiences where they can explore their heritage while building themselves and their careers. 

According to Jewish mysticism there are three main relationships in life: with yourself, with God, and with others. Our goal is to help students develop healthy and positive relationships in all three areas of life so that they can go on to be successful role models for the Jewish people and the world. 

Jewish Connection is currently operating in UMBC - University of Maryland Baltimore County - the small honors college that made NCAA College Basketball history by being the first seed-16 team to ever beat a seed-1 in the 2017 March Madness!

Meet Our Team

Rabbi Gavriel Horan
Founder and Director
Rachel Horan
Educator and Outreach Coordinator

Rabbi Horan has devoted the most part of the last decade to giving back to the Jewish people by sharing his passion for Jewish spirituality and self-improvement. Rabbi Horan has led and taught on over a dozen Birthright-Israel and post-Birthright trips to Israel, and has lectured on numerous college campuses.


Originally from New York City, Rabbi Horan traveled extensively all over the world, and spent 8 years living in Israel, where he completed his rabbinical studies and received ordination from the former Chief Justice of the Rabbinical High Court in Jerusalem. Prior to moving to Baltimore, he was the campus Rabbi in SUNY Albany and Queens College in New York. He has a B.A. from Touro College in Psychology and Jewish Studies and an M.S.W. from Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work. He is also an accomplished journalist and licensed psychotherapist and wishes he had more time to spend hiking in the great outdoors or doing home improvement projects with his kids.

He would love to schmooze with you about the meaning of life, the universe and everything any time! 

Rachel Horan, a native of Edison, New Jersey, holds a B.A. in Statistics from Rutgers University. But instead of becoming another statistic, she moved to Israel after graduating college to further her Jewish studies, while interning for Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics. She soon decided that numbers weren’t her thing and chose to work with real people instead. Rachel became a manager for two separate Jewish non-profit organizations; one that offered assistance for terror victims, and another that trained mentors to reach out to unaffiliated Jews.


After marrying Gavriel, Rachel became a certified hydro-therapist and aqua-aerobics instructor working with the elderly. Although they always planned to live in Israel, the Horans jumped at the opportunity to teach others about Judaism on college campuses.


Today Rachel spends most of her time taking care of her beautiful children, meeting with students, and hosting dozens of guests for Shabbos meals, classes and challah baking each week. She is currently becoming a life-coach and hopes to open her own business as a parenting coach in the near future!