America’s Other Pastime

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For years, the clicking of the colorful tiles taunted Donna Beth Joy Shapiro. She wanted to learn the game, but she couldn’t find anyone to teach her. “It was the most mysterious thing my mother did,” said Shapiro of her mother’s regular mah jongg games. Finally, Shapiro attended an instructional event hosted by the Jewish… Read More

Striving for Unity

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From the moment he took the microphone at the 54th annual Interfaith Institute at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, it was clear that keynote speaker Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, senior pastor of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church, meant business. This year’s topic was “When There is No Vision, Community Will Perish.” Connor began by referencing BHC’s… Read More

Searching for Community

The night Gidon Feen came out as gay at his Orthodox high school after-graduation party, he said he could feel his stomach boiling. While he had come out to his close friends in 11th grade, this was his entire high school. “Oh, by the way, I’m gay and I’m coming out tonight,” he said. And… Read More

Freedom at a Price

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High school and middle school students from the Bais Yaakov School for Girls gathered in the auditorium at the school’s Mount Washington location to hear famed refusenik Rabbi Yosef Mendelevitch share his story of fighting Russian oppression from behind the Iron Curtain. Mendelevitch, whose “Unbroken Spirit: A Heroic Story of Faith, Courage and Survival” was… Read More

Survivors Haven’t Lost Their Rhythm

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When Jordan Goodman told a room of about 30 seniors that he is a musician and they are musicians too, he got rounds of laughter. But the group, the Holocaust Survivors Social Club, wound up proving him right. For an hour, Goodman led the men and women, some in their 90s, in a drum circle… Read More

Matzah, Matzah Man

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For the past 28 years, starting just after Purim and continuing until one week before Passover, Rabbi Hillel Baron, director of the Chabad Lubavitch Center in Columbia, has been educating and entertaining between 50 and 150 children per day at his Model Matzah Factory. During his reign as “Matzah Man,” an estimated 40,000 children have kneaded,… Read More

From Boycott Bill to Budget Amendment

The Maryland House of Delegates adopted an amendment to the budget this week, transforming the boycott bill into a budget amendment. “The General Assembly finds that … the boycott adopted by the American Studies Association is consistent with a movement known as boycott, divestment and sanctions, designed to delegitimize the democratic State of Israel,” reads… Read More

Medical Marijuana Bills Moving Forward

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Legislators in the House and Senate of Maryland’s General Assembly are tasked with resolving the differences between two medical marijuana bills that were passed by each body. SB 923, introduced by Sen. Jamie Raskin, would allow doctors in good standing to prescribe medical marijuana. The bill passed the upper chamber, 45-1. HB 881, sponsored by… Read More

The Fight for Pigtown

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Photos by David Stuck The revitalization of Baltimore’s most un-kosher neighborhood, historic Pigtown, is being led — perhaps surprisingly — by a Jew. Ben Hyman is the executive director of Pigtown Main Street, one of 10 Main Street programs sponsored by the Baltimore Development Corporation. Though he doesn’t eat pork, his world, in many ways,… Read More

The Joys and Oys of Being Jewish

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Bolton Street Synagogue and The Stoop Storytelling Series are teaming up to present “It’s Complicated: Stories about the Joys and Oys of Contemporary Jewish Life.” The April 5 event will feature six storytellers, some of whom are well-known locals, telling their own personal stories — humorous, poignant and surprising  — about being Jewish. WBAL-TV anchor… Read More