In October, then Editor-in-Chief Maayan Jaffe solicited cover story ideas from the JT staff. I suggested a 24-hour look at Baltimore, reminiscent of my first photo assignment at a newspaper in Minneapolis many years ago — but with a special Jewish focus on the city. When we met to discuss the strategy of how we might tackle the stories, an interesting discussion ensued.
It was explained to me that “Jewish Baltimore” constitutes a very prescribed idea. There is an epicenter that exists. But I was interested to explore how Jewish Baltimoreans permeate all aspects of the city and illustrate the variety and spectrum present in our Jewish community.
I grew up in St. Paul, Minn., lived in Oregon for a decade and then came to Baltimore in 2007. Though the Twin Cities and Portland have vibrant Jewish communities, I have not experienced anything like Baltimore’s diverse and ubiquitous Jewish community. (Chanukah candles for sale … at convenience stores?!)
Maayan ultimately said yes to the ambitious idea, but even more importantly, the staff said yes. Thanks to the talent, staying power and good humor of Simone Ellin, Maayan Jaffe, Heather Norris, Marc Shapiro and David Stuck, we went out into the wee hours of the early morning until midnight — and came back with all sorts of wonderful stories about people who add that “special sauce” to Jewish Baltimore. Art Director Lindsey Bridwell then made it all work in print and online — a herculean effort, to be sure.
It was so fulfilling to look “Under the Radar” at Jewish Baltimore; I hope you enjoy it as well.
A happy, healthy 2014 to you all.
Melissa Gerr, digital media editor