‘Uncle Sol’

It can’t be an easy job, working in a funeral home. Your clients are generally distraught, having just lost a loved one. It’s a difficult but absolutely essential job, especially in the Baltimore Jewish community.

As you’ll read in this week’s cover story by Hannah Monicken, the staff at Sol Levinson & Bros. shoulders this responsibility with great care, and the Levinson family works to treat every family with the utmost dignity and respect as they guide them through what can be a very tumultuous and excruciatingly sad time.

I can speak from personal experience, as a lot of us can, that there’s good reason the family-owned business has prospered for 125 years. Having attended a number of funerals at Levinson over the years, and having had to bury two grandparents in recent years, I have found that they truly do make the process as painless as possible.

From the calming voices of the employees who removed and transported our loved one to walking us through all the arrangements to the ease of parking at the funeral home to the sanctity of the burial and shiva, my family and I were comforted that everything was taken care of and we were in good hands. And the funeral home’s chapels are designed with the family’s comfort in mind — private rooms to use before the service that open up right into the front rows of the chapels.

It’s the only Jewish funeral home in the Baltimore area, and that’s a position Levinson does not take lightly. It has, in fact, motivated the Levinson family to further invest in the community.

Sol Levinson has partnered with local organizations such as Jewish Community Services and LifeBridge Health to offer learning opportunities, and it has held bereavement lectures and groups. For its 125th anniversary, the funeral home launched a volunteer initiative in partnership with Jewish Volunteer Connection that will allow community members to complete a charitable task at a Levinson booth at various community events. In fact, at the JCC Community Block Party in June, the Levinson booth ran out of supplies to make blessing bags for the homeless due to the great amount of participation.

The Levinsons don’t have to do these things, but much like the way their “sacred responsibility” informs the great care the company puts into its work, the funeral home also takes its role as a community institution to heart.

As Phyllis Ovcharek shared, “It’s getting to the point where people in my family call them ‘Uncle Sol.’”

I think we all know what she means. Thanks, Uncle Sol!

mshapiro@midatlanticmedia.com

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