Julian Sless, 27, has a passion for helping people by driving ambulances.
After graduating from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, Sless went to the University of Maryland for a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. He worked at law firms, then joined the development office at Beth Tfiloh Congregation & Schools as a development associate.
For years, Sless has loved working for the Chestnut Ridge Firehouse as an EMT and a firefighter. He now drives ambulances multiple times a week for the firehouse. Next year, he hopes to help educate Beth Tfiloh students on fire safety.
Sless lives in Federal Hill and belongs to Beth Tfiloh Congregation.
What is a development associate?
That encompasses fundraising, constituent outreach, including alumni and grandparents and parents of alumni as well. It’s really everybody. So fundraising and outreach and marketing a little bit. I put newsletters together, and there’s a lot more in there, but it’s just a few things.
How did you get to that job?
My first job was working as a campaign manager for Sen. Bobby Zirkin. I ran his campaign. … That was my first shot. The campaign brought me to work in Bobby Zirkin’s law firm. I worked there for a year and a half, where I was running their workers’ compensation division.
I was interested in going to law school. That was really where the criminology and criminal justice degree came in. Then I decided law school wasn’t for me. I went to work at another law firm doing different work for workers’ compensation. This time it was more insurance based on recovering money for companies. I realized that work wasn’t necessarily for me. Then COVID-19 happened, and they actually told me to stop coming to work because I was working at the firehouse, and they felt that it was dangerous for me to be in the office after riding an ambulance. After a while, they let me go and I really spent most of COVID-19 working at the firehouse on the ambulance. That was a crazy experience.
Then things were winding down, and I knew I needed to go back to work. So I started looking, and someone reached out to me from Beth Tfiloh asking about a coaching position. I told them that I don’t think I can commit to that. But if there was something more permanent that’s open, perhaps I would go there. They found a position that was open, so I applied. I went through an interview process, and here I am.
Do you see this as a long-term job?
When I first heard about the job, I wasn’t sure at all. But now that I’ve been here since November, I really love it. I love the environment. I’ve always loved BT, but this is an eye-opening experience to be working here. I think learning about what development is and does is really great, and I see this as a long-term thing.
Why do you feel like it’s important to help the Jewish community?
I feel a much stronger connection to this work, specifically because I know I’m helping the Jewish community and helping Beth Tfiloh in general. I know that I got a really great education out of BT, and I hope to send my future kids there one day.
What do you do at the firehouse?
I’ve been there 11 years. I’m an EMT and a firefighter. I mostly ride the ambulance these days. It’s a really crazy, wonderful and fun experience for me. I get to see a lot of crazy things and not so crazy things. It’s like a second family to me. I know it sounds kind of cliche, but helping people is like the number one thing that I get out of it.