Community Pride

While it may seem like the world is in a bit of disarray, this week’s Jewish Times sheds great light on the diversity of Baltimore’s Jewish community, one of the best reasons to celebrate living here.

Susan Ingram’s cover story tells the story of Jacob Blank, a 17-year-old Krieger Schechter graduate and Beth Tfiloh student who has been a competitive ballroom dancer since the age of 10. Blank and his partner, who have been dancing together since they were kids, have quite the inspiring story. Practicing every Sunday, the duo has placed high in major competitions in both youth and adult categories.

“I hope that we would at least get to compete in the championship level, and then, who knows?” Jacob said. “If we got really good, we could probably compete in other countries.”

Between going to school, dancing and working part-time jobs, Jacob and his partner have little free time, but their discipline and dedication is truly inspiring.

Speaking of dedication, two local institutions celebrate anniversaries in the coming weeks. On Nov. 11, Har Sinai Congregation celebrates 175 years with an event honoring longtime members. The following weekend features a celebratory concert.

On Nov. 9, the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce celebrates 40 years. Starting from the ground up, the Chamber grew to represent the diverse Pikesville business community and is hoping to better the future, as it has been working with Baltimore County Council- woman Vicki Almond on the Pikesville revitalization plan and has two representatives on the Pikesville Armory taskforce.

Elsewhere in the community, a younger organization, the Jewish Uniformed Service Association of Maryland, held its first military and law enforcement appreciation dinner. JUSA’s director, Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum, honored a fallen officer and firefighter as well as a Jewish War Veterans member.

Showcasing the diversity of the Jewish community, Maurice Shamash told the JT about growing up Jewish in Baghdad. He tells his story on Sunday at the Jewish Museum of Maryland as part of the current exhibit, “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage.”

And finally, we recap The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s Super Sunday phonathon, which raised more than $1 million toward its annual campaign.

These are all just a few of the reasons I take great pride in the Baltimore Jewish community. Its strength, diversity and institutions are simply unmatched. From a ballroom-dancing Beth Tfiloh student to 100-plus-year-old synagogues to our well-organization Federation to Jews of Iraqi decent, the Baltimore Jewish community is well worth celebrating.

mshapiro@midatlanticmedia.com

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