Pearlstone retreat center to reduce workforce by 75%

Conference and retreat center lays off full-time staff after months of managing to avoid the move.

Ben Harris, JTA ,


The Pearlstone Conference & Retreat Center in suburban Baltimore will reduce its workforce by 75% following a roughly 90 percent drop in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 180-acre facility in Reisterstown, Maryland, will lay off roughly half its staff in the coming weeks and reduce those remaining to part-time, Pearlstone CEO Jakir Manela told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
“We will have very few remaining full-time people,” Manela said. “It’s a nightmare. It’s traumatic.”

Pearlstone, which is home to a retreat center and an organic farm and is supported by The Jewish Federation of Baltimore, has sought to pivot its business in the face of the pandemic, launching a kosher farm-to-table delivery service and moving to offer smaller group getaway options that permit social distancing.

It also secured a roughly $500,000 loan from the federal Paycheck Protection Program that enabled it to avoid staff reductions even in the face of the cancellation of its popular Passover and Shavuot retreat programs.

The center hopes to host some kind of day camp this summer should public health authorities allow it.