Dancing With Chickens In 10 Easy Steps

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(David Stuck)

What’s Shabbat without chicken? What’s any day without chicken?

With meat and fish prices soaring, chicken is still your best bet for nutritious and economical meals. But it’s easy to get stuck in a chicken rut. Here are some ways to shake up your routine and add new culinary steps to your chicken dance. If your regular Shabbat meal is roasted chicken, roast an extra — or buy another rotisserie chicken. You can never have too much,
because there are so many ways to use the leftovers. I prefer to either shred or chop cooked chicken on a diagonal for more tenderness. And never throw away the frame of any cooked chicken. Freeze it for a rainy/snowy day to make chicken soup. Store-bought rotisserie chickens make the best chicken soup, as the herbs season your soup beautifully. And cooking time is much shorter.

Here are 10 ways to dance with chickens — seven ways to incorporate leftover cooked chicken and three from-scratch recipes.

1. CHICKEN SLOPPY JOES: Sauté some finely chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic until translucent. Add finely chopped cooked chicken to warm. Stir in equal parts of marinara and barbecue sauce, and spoon onto soft buns to serve.

2. THAI PASTA WITH PEANUT SAUCE: Combine about 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, one teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons chopped garlic and a dash of hot sauce in a saucepan. Add enough coconut milk to thin. Warm on the stove, then toss with cooked pasta noodles, shredded cooked chicken, chopped roasted peanuts and chopped fresh cilantro or parsley.

3. CHOPPED SALAD: Combine chopped cooked chicken, chopped apple, chopped red onion, raisins and almonds in a bowl. Toss with a pareve salad dressing. I like the Asian ones.

4. CHICKEN LETTUCE CUPS: Chop chicken and toss in a little cornstarch. (2 tablespoons for each whole chicken). Sauté chopped garlic and ginger over medium heat until golden brown and nutty aroma. Add chopped shiitake mushrooms and chopped water chestnuts. Drizzle with soy sauce, rice vinegar and a touch of sugar, scraping the bottom of pan. Add the chicken and cook until sauce thickens and chicken is done. Drizzle over a little more soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil to taste. Serve in lettuce cups topped with chopped roasted peanuts and green onion.

5. CHICKEN COUSCOUS: To cooked couscous, add diced olives, diced red onion, sautéed garbanzo beans, chopped cooked chicken, raisins, diced dried apricots and diced dates. Flavor with fresh chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley, ground cinnamon, cloves, coriander and squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

6. CHICKEN TACOS: Try the new stand-up-straight taco shells, one packet of low-salt taco seasoning and about 1 cup shredded cooked chicken. In a small saucepan, add about one half the packet of seasoning, some water and the chicken. Simmer for about five minutes, stirring until almost all liquid is dissolved and chicken gets all the flavors. Place lettuce on bottom of taco shell, then chopped tomato, chopped onion (optional), chicken and sliced avocado and end with some good salsa.

7. CHICKEN TAQUITOS: Roll shredded seasoned taco chicken in small tortillas and then deep fry. Serve with great salsa.

8. CHICKEN POT OR SHEPHERD’S PIE

9. CHICKEN CACCIATORE

10. ISRAELI FRESH LEMON CHICKEN

Ilene Spector is a local freelance writer.

Not Only for Art’s Sake

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Dr. Dean Kane, with the help of his wife, Lauri, will hold his first exhibition later this month. Proceeds will benefit The Red Devils. (Photos by David Stuck)

Dr. Dean Kane spends his life making people’s lives, and the spaces in which they live and work, more lovely. As one of Baltimore’s leading plastic surgeons, Dr. Kane, 59, has been helping patients improve their appearances for more than a quarter-century. As an artist, he has added color, texture and beauty to their surroundings. In both cases, Dr. Kane’s work has transformed the lives of others not only by aesthetic standards, but also by the emotions they inspire in both patients and art lovers.

He and his wife/business partner, Lauri, 58, will make an even more significant impact when they host Art for Hope, an event celebrating the opening of Dr. Kane’s first public art exhibition, which will benefit The Red Devils, an organization that supports Maryland’s breast cancer patients and their families. The event will take place on Oct. 16 in The Gallery at The Ritz-Carlton Residences located on the Federal Hill waterfront. The evening will include light fare, an open bar, signature cocktails and a silent auction and raffle.

Art for Hope will honor Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and her mother, Dr. Nina Rawlings, a breast cancer survivor.

“My art has evolved since the 1960s when I first became involved with photography,” Dr. Kane said.
“I began taking photographs when I was 13, and by 14 I had my own dark room.”

As time went on, Dr. Kane was drawn to more sculptural work and developed an interest in metals. With the advent of digital photography, he discovered Adobe Photoshop that would eventually enable him to create a technique that he calls PhotoSculpture.

PhotoSculpture starts with a single photograph. Dr. Kane takes a digital image, uploads it to his computer and then manipulates it — embellishing it, changing its shape, reconfiguring it, reconstructing it and enhancing its colors. Once he has an image he likes, he prints the photo, making as many as 50 copies. He then formats the picture by cutting out each part of each image by hand.

“Each petal is part of a photograph I took,” said Dr. Kane, pointing to a large three-dimensional flower that hangs on The Ritz-Carleton’s gallery wall. “Then, I layer the cut-out parts of the images on top of each other over and over again until I get the three-dimensional image I envisioned.”

Each cut-out layer is decorated with acrylic paint; wires and metal mesh, or other materials are added; and finally, the whole image is lacquered. The art ranges from 10-by-10 inches to as large as 40-by-40 inches, said Lauri Kane.

One of the most striking aspects of Dr. Kane’s work are the vivid colors.

Dr. Dean Kane’s decorative three-dimensional art is inspired by photography. “Each petal is a part of a photograph I took,” he said. (Photos David Stuck)

Dr. Dean Kane’s decorative three-dimensional art is inspired by photography. “Each petal is a part of a photograph I took,” he said. (Photos David Stuck)

“You can’t get colors like this with pigment, but you can when you work with photography,” he said. “When you deconstruct a photo with Photoshop and then reconstruct it with layers, the original image takes on a whole different character.”

Dr. Kane’s collection includes a series of sculptures and modular pieces, some based on subjects such as Ray Lewis, the Ravens and the Orioles; others depict the doctor’s interpretations of natural phenom-ena (such as the four seasons), Van Gough’s lilies and many types of flowers. Dr. Kane said his work has been influenced by pop artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jackson Pollock.

Not all of Dr. Kane’s work is exclusively decorative. He has also created usable art in the form of a set of
multimedia vases.

“If you do everything on the wall, you’re missing the ceiling and the base,” he said.

The vases, which are constructed similarly to his other works, are made functional by a glass vase that is placed inside the decorative outer shell.

One of his most original creations is a three-dimensional scrapbook of his life that Dr. Kane calls “MyWall.”

The scrapbook consists of images attached to modular squares that can be removed or rearranged as desired. Each square represents important people and events in Dr. Kane’s life; there are images of family members, friends and scenes of New York, where the Kanes used to live.

Much of Dr. Kane’s art has been inspired by the traveling he and Lauri have done over their 40 years tog-ether. In fact, he is quick to credit his wife with much of his success.

“I may have a unique gift for art, but Lauri’s gift is communication,” said her husband. Lauri Kane, who has a Ph.D. in public health, was instrumental in obtaining The Ritz-Carlton’s gallery space for her husband’s exhibition, as well as organizing the fundraiser for The Red Devils. She is extremely proud of the work the organization does with only one full-time (and one part-time) staff member.
“Everyone else is a volunteer,” she said.
“We are in 40 hospitals, all in Maryland, and we raise about $600,000 a year. Our funding takes care of child care, transportation, BGE bills, rent and food for breast cancer patients — and their families — while they are undergoing treatment,” said Lauri Kane, who is on the board of directors for The Red Devils. “And what’s really great is that we do this without red tape. There is no paperwork, no waiting. Women and their families receive funds immediately as long as a nurse practitioner says they need it.”

The Kanes also contribute to Hadassah and Susan G. Komen, among others.

“All the pieces [on display in the gallery] are for sale, and a percentage of the sales will go to The Red Devils,” said Lauri Kane.

The raffle will be a personalized commission of the winner’s own personal photo.

Art for Hope takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in The Gallery at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Inner Harbor, 801 Key Highway. The event is free, and complimentary valet parking is provided. For more information and to RSVP, visit deankaneart.com.

Simone Ellin is JT senior features reporter — sellin@jewishtimes.com

Sarbanes, The Jazz Musician

Nico Sarbanes was the only student musician commissioned to write a piece for the Baltimore Jazz Alliance’s composer showcase. (Photo provided)

Nico Sarbanes was the only student musician commissioned to write a piece for the Baltimore Jazz Alliance’s composer showcase. (Photo provided)

Nico Sarbanes’ parents planted musical seeds early in his life, perhaps paving the way for him to become a jazz trumpeter.

“Jazz was the first music I heard when I was growing up,” he said. “My parents were playing Sinatra and Tony Bennett for me when I was a kid.”

Sarbanes, the son of Dina and Congressman John Sarbanes, recently had his work showcased at the Baltimore Jazz Alliance’s composer showcase, one of four competition winners and the only student-musician featured. Three original pieces were submitted anonymously to a panel of judges that included renowned Baltimore musicians, who evaluated the pieces based on harmony, structure, creativity and originality.

“They decided [Nico’s songs] had a strong melodic content, and he’s well versed in harmonies,” said Mark Osteen, president of the Baltimore Jazz Alliance.

The four winners of the contest were commissioned to write new pieces to be performed by the BJA Quintet, thanks to a grant from the Baltimore Community Foundation’s William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund. Six other entrants also had their pieces performed. Another grant from Loyola University’s Center for the Humanities paid for the event, which was held on Sept. 29, as well as for the musicians and publicity.

Sarbanes, 20, a junior studying jazz trumpet at McGill University in Montreal, took a 16-hour train ride back to Baltimore to hear his piece performed. Because of the commute, he wasn’t able to rehearse with the BJA Quintet as the other composers were.

“I was actually hearing it performed for the first time, along with everyone in the audience,” he said. “It was a cool experience.”

His father, Congressman John Sarbanes, and his grandfather, former Senator Paul Sarbanes, attended the performance.

“He’s put a lot of work into this, both in terms of his performance …  but also now in composing, which is nice because he’s bringing his own creative input to this pursuit of music,” Congressman Sarbanes said. “It’s satisfying, I know, for him to see that that’s getting some recognition.”

Musical talent goes way back in the family. Nico’s great-grandfather, Leon Schwartz, was a renowned Klezmer violin player.

“That music gene definitely found its way to my three kids,” Congressman Sarbanes said, noting that his daughter, Stephanie, was an accomplished cellist in high school, and his younger son, Leo, currently plays the oboe in the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra and was in Maryland’s All-State Band.

Nico’s mother, Dina Sarbanes, said he would sing everywhere as a kid, recalling a time when he broke into an opera song in the middle of Strapazza in Pikesville. After playing in summer music programs and in various musical capacities in school, Nico had has his sights set on music schools.

“He said those words that every Jewish mother wants to hear, “I’m going go to college and become a jazz musician,” Dina Sarbanes joked.

The family has been highly supportive, Nico said.

“I know what a risk it is for a parent to invest money in their kid going to music school because it’s a fickle career path,” he said.

Although he sees a lot of parallels between jazz and Klezmer, and Eastern European Ashkenazi music, he focuses more on hard bop. The jazz subgenre incorporates blues, gospel and R&B into its sound. Artists such as Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, the Adderley brothers and other artists on Blue Note Records piqued his interested in hard bop, which attracted him because of its intellectual approach with soulful sounds.

“The biggest thing for me when I’m composing is that there has to be some sort of emotional connection,” Nico said. “I feel like there’s too many musicians now in jazz who place too much emphasis on the intellectual part of their writing. … You can balance them.”

The piece he composed for the BJA showcase was called “Clifford The Big Brown Dog,” a tribute to jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown.

While Nico may not be following in the public service footsteps of his father and grandfather, Dina Sarbanes hopes he finds a way to improve the community in other ways.

“You can make a difference in the community through music. You can promote arts education, bring music to underprivileged kids,” she said. “I hope he will continue the tradition of giving back and serving the public; it just may be in a different way.”

For now, Nico is enjoying the lack of creative limitations in jazz.

“I like the freedom jazz allows you,” he said. “When you’re not concerning yourself with mistakes so much, it’s a lot easier to express yourself.”

Marc Shapiro is a JT staff reporter – mshapiro@jewishtimes.com

What Is Love?

rabinowitz_elishevaWe say “I love you” or “I love (fill in the blank)” so casually in our everyday lives that it becomes empty and insignificant. Many people say “I love pizza,” “I love brownies,” “I love working out (or maybe not),” “I love my car,” and recently I heard a teenager tell someone she had only met a few days prior, “I love you so much.” I wondered to myself, “If they just met a few days ago, do they really love each other, and do we really love all of these things?”

When I began to ponder why we use the words “I love” without meaning, the following came to mind:

> Movies: Boy meets girl, they fall in love, something monumental happens, and they live happily ever after. We see it so much, we believe it is real. We can tell ourselves that this is just a movie, but it skews our perception. What are our expectations when we are looking for the right one? Is our decision based on physical appearance, money or other qualities? And when times get tough (and they will), what do we hope will happen (someone will save us)?

> Music: Many people listen to secular music several hours a day. Many of the lyrics revolve around love: “All You Need Is Love” (Beatles), “As Long as You Love Me” (Justin Beiber), “Love Will Keep Us Together” (The Captain and Tennille), “Love The Way You Lie” (Rihanna) … and the list goes on.

As a therapist and mom, it saddens me to see the songs that have provided generations with a fantasy of love.

When I ask clients about how they first met, frequently I hear stories such as: “It was love at first sight;” “I fell in love after just a few dates;” and “I knew she was the right one as soon as I saw her.”

These descriptions do not hold true for all my clients, but these descriptions do sound like they are out of movie scripts. After these couples get married, they are frequently surprised when reality hits. We have to pay the bills, we have to stay up all night because the baby is crying, we are upset with each other because we have a difference of opinion, we gained 20 pounds, or we went bald. Many people are unaware of what it takes to stay married. Frequently, couples don’t discuss the everyday challenges, the ups and downs and the frustrations because love will solve everything. It does not work that way.

So what is love?

I can’t define love for you, but usually it doesn’t develop (referring to the songs with a love theme) in five seconds, it doesn’t work if you lie, it’s not healthy if you are addicted to it, and you can lose that loving feeling (but that doesn’t mean the relationship is over). Relationships take work, patience, compromise and giving to one another to develop and maintain a loving bond.

Enough

2013_meredith_jacobs_smOn my daughter’s Twitter feed the Monday after the Navy Yard shooting: “Enough. #DCStrong.”

I felt proud at her outrage and also sad because this is yet another in a long line of national violent tragedies our children have grown up knowing. Our children, who were babies, preschoolers during 9/11 — is this to be their generation’s moniker? Here is a sampling of national violent
attacks during their lives:

Columbine in 1999; 9/11 in  2001; the Beltway snipers in 2002; Virginia Tech in 2007; the Holocaust Museum in 2009; Tucson in 2011; Aurora and Newtown in 2012; and this year, Boston and the Navy Yard.

I thought about when I was growing up. I’m certain there was violence and horrible things in the world. I remember my teachers writing on the chalkboard the number of days the hostages were held in Iran. My high school science teacher turned on the television in our biology classroom when President Ronald Reagan was shot. When Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, carrying a planeload of students returning home from their junior year abroad, I gathered with my college roommates, all of us also in our junior year, and cried.

I’m certain there were more, but unlike our children, I didn’t have Twitter or Facebook to flood me with a constant stream of news. It’s overwhelming and somewhat distancing. Desensitizing. Our parents were able to shield us. News was on television at 6 p.m. or in the newspaper — vehicles far too boring to catch our childhood attention.

I asked my son how he felt about the shootings. He told me that it feels like it’s just one more. In a few months, there’ll be another.

It reminded me of something my daughter had written for the New York Jewish Week in its “Fresh Ink for Teens” blog: “We are the future but not if we are the targets.” She was struck by how often the victims were children.

It was soon after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., that she wrote about how often she has gathered at school for moments of silence, how often she has heard rallying cries of reforming gun control and increasing resources for those struggling with mental illness and how often time passes and people move on.

Is it our new way of consuming news? Our attention is caught only by what happens to be trending at that moment.

Sofie wrote: “It was OK for us to blindly hope when we stood in a circle around the American flag in first grade, but we’re too old now to put our fate in other people’s hands. … But maybe this is our rallying cry. Maybe out of our sadness, anger and fear we open our eyes, become aware and create movement and proactive change regarding gun control and the treatment of mental-health illnesses.

“Faceless terrorists scare me. Burning buildings scare me. Evil gunmen scare me. But what scares me most of all is the idea that the only reaction from Newtown will be blind hope.”

Less than a year later, we’re here again. How many more tragedies will cut through our children’s lives before we truly do something? We can’t wait for them to grow up. It’s not enough to throw a Twitter hashtag or “like” a post and think we’ve done something meaningful. We need action and
reform. And we need it now.

Enough.

Styling Made Simple

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Lauren Rutkovitz, owner of A Style Studio in Pikesville, says her store has something for everyone. (David Stuck)

Right off Pikesville’s Hooks Lane, Baltimore native Lauren Rutkovitz  and her team of styling experts are busy making Baltimore women look and feel their best. With its warm turquoise walls, A Style Studio is a full-service makeup studio mixed with a clothes and accessories boutique, dedicated to providing women — all women — the opportunity to look and feel terrific.

Rutkovitz, owner and makeup artist, with 33 years of experience, made the leap from working out of her house to opening the relatively small, yet always in demand, 700-square-foot store in 2009.

“My husband didn’t like all the ladies coming in and out of the house. After my second child went off to college, I decided I was ready to go back to work full time,” she said.

Rutkovitz started with her best friend, sister Amy Sigman, by her side; she hired Sigman immediately after opening the shop.

Rutkovitz also reached out to Sue Biller, a fellow Baltimore native who has been working in retail professionally for 35 years.

Biller said, “The clients share their special occasions and simchas with us, and it really creates a communal and neighborhood-like atmosphere that is truly unparalleled in the industry.”

Rutkovitz explained the need in the community for a store such as A Style Studio.

“A lot of boutiques do not cater to women over size 10. Since I am not a size 10, I think women feel very comfortable shopping here, and I am very proud of that,” said Rutkovitz. “When you walk into our store, no matter what your price range is, no matter what size pants you wear, you have an honest personal stylist with years of experience at your service.”

Shawn Gelvar, former owner of Shawn’s Place in Pikesville who now works at A Style Studio, said the store is “a pressure-free environment led by honest stylists. When people walk into the store, it’s like visiting friends.”

After nearly five years of business, A Style Studio has built a large customer base. Store regular Debbie Shavitz walked into the establishment on a late summer weekday and was met with hugs and kisses from the staff.

“The number one aspect that keeps bringing me back is the genuine and caring customer service,” Shavitz said with a smile.

However, Rutkovitz is not only creating community within the walls of her relatively small, locally owned boutique. Whenever there is a local fashion-show fundraiser, Rutkovitz and her staff are eager to help.

Last May, A Style Studio and its staff planned, choreographed, styled, accessorized and did the makeup for the wildly successful Mount Washington Pediatric Fashion Show. In addition, A Style Studio clothing, accessories and expertise were featured in the Israel Bonds Fashion Show at Beth Tfiloh Congregation earlier this year.

Are you interested in meeting an A Style Studio expert? Visit 25 Hooks Lane, Pikesville, call 410-484-1115 or visit astylestudio.com.

Out Of The Shadows

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Kathy Leichter says making “Here One Day,” a film about her mother’s
suicide, helped her heal. (Provided)

Here one day, gone the next. That’s what it feels like when a loved one dies — especially when that person takes his or her own life.

That’s the focus of “Here One Day,” a highly personal 2012 documentary by award-winning Jewish filmmaker Kathy Leichter.

The film is about her mother, Nina Leichter, who jumped to her death from a New York City apartment window in 1995 at the age of 63. She suffered from bipolar illness, and the film focuses on its impact and the impact of Nina’s suicide on her family. It will be screened at Baltimore’s Church of the Redeemer on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. The screenings, open to people of all faiths, are presented in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week.

“If you had told me I would make a film about my mother’s suicide, I probably would have slapped you in the face,” said Leichter, 46. “Telling this story was so far from my mind, in part because of the stigma [of suicide], but also because it was so painful. Talking about it meant
accepting it.”

It was not until nine years after her mother’s tragic death, when pregnant with her younger son, Theo, that Leichter began to confront the feelings she had long suppressed.

“I had my first son, Otto, in 2001, and for some reason I had always assumed my second child would be a daughter. But when my sonogram showed that my baby was a boy, it unleashed a huge wave of grief. I think [unconsciously] I assumed that having a daughter would give me a chance to re-create my relationship with my mother, to heal and bring her back,” said Leichter. “I didn’t do that by having a daughter, but I did it through making the film.”

At first, said Leichter, “the film was going to be a more abstract, conceptual reflection on ‘mother loss’ and how it influenced me as a mother. It wasn’t about suicide.”

But as she dove deeper into the project, Leichter began to hone in on the story of her own family. The turn of events was remarkable since, until she began to make “Here One Day,” Leichter had been unable to reveal to others the cause of her mother’s death.

“I had to be interviewed by a friend who was a psychoanalyst,” she recalled.

For years, Leichter had been unwilling to look at photos of her mother, and it was not until 16 years after her mother’s death, and seven years into the film project, that Leichter finally had the courage to listen to a collection of audiotapes left by her mother.

“I was frightened to hear her voice. Once I did, it felt good,” she said.

100413_here_one_day1The making of “Here One Day” also gave Leichter the opportunity to talk openly with her younger brother and father about her mother and the pain her suicide had inflicted upon the remaining family members.

“Unconsciously, I used the film to approach my grief,” Leichter said.

“At first, my brother didn’t want to be filmed,” said Leichter. “But after a while he realized he was a big part of the story, and he didn’t want me to tell it without him. So I sat with him for two-and-a-half hours, and I learned a lot I didn’t know before.”

Ellen Lebedow, a clinical social worker at the Jewish Social Service Agency in Rockville who leads support groups for adults who have lost loved ones to suicide, stressed the importance of providing a separate group for those individuals.

“People who have lost someone [to suicide] are frequently dealing with painful issues such as shock, anger and guilt, all issues that in some cases make grieving after a suicide somewhat different than other types of bereavement,” she said.

Yet, mental-health and suicide-prevention advocates also stress the importance of confronting mental illness and suicide directly and without shame.

“That’s where Kathy’s film comes in,” said Lebedow. “We need to bring out the issues of mental illness and suicide. These are real issues in the Jewish community and every community. We need to talk about them and to be there for one another.”

By screening her film in venues across the country, and appearing for post-film discussions (as she will do on Oct. 10), Leichter hopes to create safe spaces to talk about mental illness and suicide.

“I did a screening at Wesleyan University recently and I met someone who told me she had never met anyone else who had a parent with bipolar illness,” said Leichter. “She thought she was the only one. The film is very open and raw. Because of our honesty, it allows other people to talk about their experiences. Making this film has really been a gift.”

Screenings of “Here One Day” with follow-up discussion with filmmaker Kathy Leichter will take place on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St. For more information about the film, visit hereoneday.com.

The War That Changed American Jewry

In the middle of the night on Feb. 23, 1861, three individuals tread quietly through the darkened streets of Baltimore. One was Allen Pinkerton, head of a private detective agency. Another was serving as a bodyguard. The third, wearing an overcoat draped over his shoulders and a soft felt hat, and hunched over to disguise his height, was President-elect Abraham Lincoln.

The group had arrived in Baltimore by train from Philadelphia at the President Street station (later to become Maryland’s Civil War Museum). They were trying to reach Camden Station, located next to what is now Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Their plan was to travel by early-morning train to Washington for Lincoln’s inauguration as the nation’s 16th president.

The reason for the secrecy that night was the mounting tension preceding the Civil War that would erupt two months later, on April 12, with the Confederates firing on the Union army at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Pinkerton had been informed of a possible plot to assassinate Lincoln as he passed through Baltimore. The concern was real: The city had given Lincoln only 4 percent of its vote, and roving bands of thugs were known to attack Union sympathizers.

Emotions had escalated to such a point that a month before, on Jan. 4, President James Buchanan had issued a proclamation calling for a day of fasting and prayer to seek a peaceful solution to head off war. But such efforts had not prevented seven Southern states from seceding from the Union over slavery and states’ rights before Lincoln’s inauguration.

In subsequent days, Baltimore City and the state of Maryland became major players in the Civil War, which lasted until April 9, 1865 and which is now being commemorated nationwide during its 150th anniversary. Baltimore was then the third most populous city in the country, and Maryland, with land surrounding most of the nation’s capital, was situated at a key location in the war between North and South. And while the state officially would stay within the Union, many Marylanders expressed great sympathy for the Confederacy. In fact, to keep Maryland within the Union, Lincoln would station armed federal troops in the state throughout the war. Today, one can still see Union army cannons on Federal Hill trained on the city.

Living among the 31 million Americans engulfed in this national turmoil were the nation’s 150,000 Jews. Ninety percent of them — many of whom were part of the early wave of German-born Jews emigrating to America — had been living in this country less than 20 years, with 25,000 residing in Southern states. During the Civil War, some 10,000 Jews served in the fighting — 7,000 for the North, 3,000 for the South.

The portrayal of the varied Jewish sympathies and actions during the Civil War — as well as an assessment of the importance and impact the war had on American Jewry afterward — are some of the many surprises to be found in the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s newest exhibit, “Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War.” The exhibit opens Oct. 13 and runs through Feb. 28, 2014. As the museum’s literature states, the war “not only divided our
nation but split our community.”

Most of the nation’s rabbis and Jewish communal leaders tried to keep a low profile on the explosive issues of the day and supported a peaceful resolution, especially since Jews, both in the North and in the South, valued being in a country that offered shelter from the religious strife of Europe. Benjamin Szold, an Orthodox rabbi who was the father of Baltimore’s Henrietta Szold, advocated “peace above all.” However, the split that did exist among many could be seen most vividly played out in what Jewish Museum of Maryland’s Executive Director Marvin Pinkert referred to as a “battle” between two Baltimore rabbis.

“The ‘battle’ in question was not fought with bullets but with ideas,” said Pinkert. “However, to the degree that the Civil War was as much a struggle of ideas as it was a contest for territory, I don’t think the term ‘battle’ is hyperbolic.”

The confrontation involved a Reform rabbi and an Orthodox rabbi with opposing views of slavery. Rabbi David Einhorn of Har Sinai Congregation, a Reform congregation located on High Street one block north of Baltimore Street, was a strong advocate for the abolition of slavery. Rabbi Bernard Illowy, spiritual leader of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation (then Orthodox), located one block south of Baltimore Street, tried not to alienate pro-slavery supporters in the Jewish community, even delivering a fast-day address interpreting Biblical support of slavery.

‘Mums’ the Word

Marc Corwin (left), president of American Exhibitions Inc., and Van Reiner, president and CEO of the Maryland Science Center, address the media about the ‘Mummies of the World’ exhibit, which opens Sept. 28.

Marc Corwin (left), president of American Exhibitions Inc., and Van Reiner, president and CEO of the Maryland Science Center, address the media about the ‘Mummies of the World’ exhibit, which opens Sept. 28. (Photo by David Stuck)

The Mummies Are Coming! The Mummies Are Coming!

Yes, you heard right. The largest collection of real animal and human mummies ever assembled will be taking up residence at the Maryland Science Center and welcoming visitors as of Sept. 28. The collection includes a 6,420-year-old child mummy from Peru and an entire mummy family. The Science Center is the last stop for “Mummies of the World,” a traveling exhibition that first opened in Los Angeles in 2010. It was produced by Baltimore native Marc Corwin, president of American Exhibitions Inc., in association with the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums.

Prior to founding American Exhibitions Inc., Corwin was a successful music promoter who brought superstars such  as Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Heart, Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle and the Eagles to Baltimore venues. Corwin’s promoting career put him through law school, and he became a successful attorney specializing in licensing and syndication. In the early 1990s, Corwin worked with HBO, Showtime and Don King Productions to prosecute cases involving unauthorized use of closed-circuit television and pay-per-view boxing telecasts. His company, Secure Signal, Inc., was the largest civil prosecutor of pay-per-view broadcasts from 1993 to 2004 and helped create major case law precedent in the area of piracy law.

In 2003, Corwin left the litigation field, and spent a few years handling malpractice cases. Several years later, he agreed to produce a successful traveling exhibition called “Our Body: The Universe Within,” which opened in 2006 and was sold to Premier Exhibitions, Inc. in 2007. A year later, Corwin was ready for a new challenge. “Mummies of the World” fit the bill.

When many of us think of mummies, we imagine human figures wrapped in gauze or toilet-like paper. We assume they all come from ancient Egypt. But not all mummies are wrapped and not all come from Egypt. To learn more about mummies and about this fascinating exhibition, the Baltimore Jewish Times caught up with the versatile Corwin, who now resides in Boca Raton, Fla.

JT: Let’s play Jewish geography. Where did you grow up?
Corwin: I lived in Pikesville, and still have tons of friends and relatives in Baltimore. My sister, Janice Strauss, still lives there, and my nephews, Michael and Jonathon Strauss, are also in Baltimore. I had my bar mitzvah at Chizuk Amuno [Congregation] and was also a member of Beth El Congregation.

School?

Pikesville High School, the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Baltimore Law School. But I dropped out of college twice. My poor Jewish mother. Even worse, I dropped out to become a music promoter. When I lived in Baltimore, in the 1960s and ’70s, there was a concert venue called Painter’s Mill Music Fair right near the Owings Mills Mall. I was responsible for bringing Bruce Springsteen there in 1975. I was also involved in bringing the Eagles and Eric Clapton to the Baltimore stadium (the old one). One night, there was supposed to be a show, but at 6 p.m. there was a horrible storm that knocked over the stage. That’s when I said to myself, “I’m going back to college and getting a law degree.”

Why did you leave Baltimore?
I’ve always had an affinity for Florida. I like the warm weather. But Baltimore’s a great city. I’m proud to bring “Mummies of the World” to Baltimore. It’s a great opportunity to come home.

Let’s talk about the exhibition. What exactly is a mummy?
There are a lot of myths about mummies. Hollywood makes them seem scary, like they’re coming after you, but they’re really not. A mummy is the dead body of an animal or a human that has been preserved after death so it does not decompose. Most mummies happen naturally because they are buried in a place without oxygen or moisture — places like caves, crypts or bogs. … To be considered a mummy and not just a skeleton, the body must keep some of its soft tissue, such as hair, skin or muscles. We study mummies to learn about ancient peoples and civilizations.

How did the idea for the exhibition come about?
It came from Germany. In 2004, staff members of the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums in Mannheim, Germany were doing inventory and found an underground vault with 20 human mummies and artifacts. A group of researchers from the German Mummy Project began using 21st-century techniques to learn everything they could about the mummies. Other researchers and museums got interested, and in the end, we were fortunate to get 21 museums from seven countries to collaborate on the exhibit. The show has mummies from Europe, South America, Asia, Ancient Egypt and Oceania, and some are as old as 6,500 years. These are real people who had real lives, just like you and me.

What and who are in the exhibition?
There are nine galleries and five interactive kiosks with 3-D imaging. There are the Baron and Baroness, mummies from the 17th century who were naturally mummified in the family crypt due to the cool dry air. They were found in their family’s late 14th-century castle in Germany. There are Michael, Veronica and Johannes Orlovits, a mummy family from the 18th century who lived in a town north of Budapest that was decimated by White Plague (tuberculosis). In 1994 they were discovered in a small church under the pine floorboards. The Detmold Child is a 10-month-old infant from Peru that is remarkably preserved. He lived more than 3,000 years before the birth of King Tut, and he still has hair. Using modern tools, we’ve been able to find out how old he is. There are also animals, a howler monkey from Argentina and a lizard mummified in the Sahara Desert.

It sounds a little scary. Will children be OK with this?
It’s like seeing art. We do have a parent’s guide that gives suggestions on how to talk to kids about the exhibition. We were pleased to see how many families have come with kids [in other cities]. We also have a 40-page curricular guide for schools. But really, it’s very special and magical. It was very important to us to be respectful and ethical. The colors are muted. Each gallery has a different, dignified atmosphere. It’s breathtaking. Most people are in awe. Everyone connects with something. Inside every mummy, there’s a story waiting to be told.

“Mummies of the World” will be on display at the Maryland Science Center from Sept. 28 through Jan. 20, 2014. For more information, visit mdsci.org or mummiesoftheworld.com.

‘Soul Doctor’


Gevalt.

It is a Yiddish exclamation of surprise, incredulity. Usually, it’s negative, like “Oy, gevalt!” But Eric Anderson, the non-Jewish actor who transformed himself into the hippie rabbinic icon, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, said he learned the term can have a whole other meaning.

“[Shlomo] used it like ‘Wow,’ ‘Gevalt! This is amazing,’ ‘Gevalt! I cannot believe it,” said Anderson. “Instead of it meaning ‘Oh my gosh,’ Shlomo used it to say, ‘You are the greatest, you are the sweetest.’”

And just like that one Yiddish word, the message of the recently debuted Broadway performance of “Soul Doctor” is one of peace and love and holiness in the challenges of the post-Holocaust era. And the character of Rabbi Carlebach, who ultimately played alongside such musical greats as Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead, is meant to show an enduring spirit, a man who could touch the lives of millions, as he sat personally torn between his life as a religious Jew and his mission of spreading the sparks of Judaism to the masses — no matter their affiliation.

Rabbi Carlebach passed away in October 1994.

“Soul Doctor,” which opened Aug. 15 at Manhattan’s Circle in the Square Theatre, was written and is directed by Daniel S. Wise. It takes the audience from Rabbi Carlebach’s childhood in Vienna through the height of his music career — the hippie 1970s. It predates his short-lived marriage and the birth of his two daughters, Neshama and Dari. Instead, it focuses on a lesser-known relationship he had with jazz singer Nina Simone in 1957, when she was working as a pianist and lounge singer in Atlantic City.

“I don’t think most people realized that Shlomo had a sweet friendship with Nina Simone; this is something we learned about from Neshama in whom he confided in his later years,” said Anderson. “Bringing Nina Simone and her music into the show adds some beautiful flavor and gives us some real diversity, which I think a lot of people are not necessarily expecting when they walk into ‘Soul Doctor.’”

To get into character, Anderson researched Rabbi Carlebach — on the Internet, through listening to CDs and watching videos of Rabbi Carlebach. But he said his best research was “the smaller, intricate things about him I learned through the people who would speak to me.”

Anderson met multiple times with Neshama and also traveled to Israel, where he spent two hours lunching with Dari, her husband, Ari Leichtberg, and their two children at their home in Zichron Yaakov, near Haifa. Dari Carlebach said she “liked Anderson immediately” and described him as having “a very sweet presence and really soulful eyes. … There is something really special about him.”

Dari Carlebach said she found meeting with Anderson a positive experience also because she was able to talk about her father openly, and there was someone, who knew nothing about him — had no preconceived notions — to take it all in.

After meeting with Dari Carlebach, Anderson spent a Shabbat at Moshav Mevo Modi’in, Rabbi Carlebach’s moshav in central Israel, at which his followers still live today. Anderson, who people describe as quiet and humble, said he was “very careful at first. I didn’t know what to expect.”

“I had an idea that everyone would be beautiful and embracing just because of who Shlomo was and the fact that these are people who were his friends and his family,” said Anderson. “I had never experienced a Shabbos before, with all of the traditions. I was gently led through it. … It was amazing.”

Anderson slept and ate by Dina and Rabbi Ben-Zion Solomon. Dina Solomon said that Anderson expressed to her that the Shabbat — and portraying a character like Shlomo, in general — “opened his heart in a lot of ways.”

She said she had no idea who Anderson was, or even what “Soul Doctor” was all about, until Anderson’s arrival. At the moshav, she said warmly, guests come and go; everyone wants to spend Shabbat at the moshav because of its over-long davening, a service as much as it is a performance of Rabbi Carlebach’s tunes.

“I was coming back from Tel Aviv and someone called me and said someone wants to come to the moshav for Shabbos,” Solomon recalled. “It was a Thursday, and I just said, ‘OK, he can stay with us.’”

But while Solomon said she took a liking to Anderson, she has heard mixed reviews about the production and from the storyline understands that the show doesn’t accurately portray who Rabbi Carlebach was.

“I think anyone who is religious or was close to Shlomo feels pretty negative about it. It portrays him as having an affair with Nina Simone. I know he respected her and loved her music, but they didn’t have an affair. It drags his name through the mud, and his name has already been dragged through the mud enough with those kinds of issues,” Solomon said.

Rabbi Carlebach faced allegations, which became public in a 1998 Lilith magazine article, that he routinely made sexually suggestive late-night phone calls to female acquaintances and that he physically molested numerous women over the course of decades. Such accusations naturally provoked fierce controversy about how to remember a man many consider a saint. His followers have rejected those allegations (and they are not brought up in Wise’s play).

For her part, Dari Carlebach said that one could never capture the depth and breadth of her father’s complicated story.

Rabbi Carlebach, born in Berlin in 1925 to a prominent rabbinic family, fled to New York with his parents and siblings in 1939. His father became the rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jacob on West 79th Street, which Rabbi Carlebach and twin brother Rabbi Eli Chaim Carlebach took over in 1967. The synagogue still stands in New York and is known as “The Carlebach Shul.”

Rabbi Carlebach was a scholar in his own right, studying at some of the most renowned American yeshivot, including Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, N.J. He later connected with the Lubavitch movement, whose rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, encouraged him to go into outreach. This mandate was the start of what became his calling, serving as the rabbi of the hippie movement. Many young Jews returned to a Torah lifestyle as a result of their relationship with Rabbi Carlebach.

“No one in the world could ever be my father,” said Dari Carlebach. “But I think he [Anderson] emanated my father’s soulfulness. … My father was so deep and wise and so universal in many ways, but he emanated this very in-the-present quality and kind of innocent wonder.”

Dari Carlebach also said that Anderson was able to fittingly capture her father’s struggle, being caught between two worlds — the religious, yeshivish world and that of the hippie world. She said her father had a huge desire “to love and heal the world” and he did it with “such heart and grace and empathy.” All insinuations, inaccuracies or even missed plot lines for lack of time (the show is but two-and-a-half hours), said Dari Carlebach, are less important than the universal message, which she hopes that “Soul Doctor” gets across.

“I think a lot of the play is the portrayal of the struggle my father had in being connected to so many worlds, but every world needed him to be all or nothing — my zayde’s shul and his family in the Chassidic world, the hippie world. I think part of his struggle was everyone’s feeling or thinking they knew what was best for him, and his struggle was trying to do what he was supposed to do and all the while feeling too lonely and judged and so torn,” said Dari Carlebach. “I hope people walk away from this play with the understanding of how so often we think we know someone or what they need or who they are — and they are so much deeper, so much more complicated. Each person’s mission is personal. People should walk away knowing how to open their hearts … and with the important message of understanding and acceptance among Jews and among the whole world.”