Go Paleo! or Go Home

Cara Zaller shows off the completed Go Paleo! board game. (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

Cara Zaller shows off the completed Go Paleo! board game. (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

Cara Zaller, a Howard County nutritionist, saw a five-year dream come to fruition with the final production of her board game, Go Paleo! The educational and active game, based on the Paleolithic diet, challenges players to differentiate between health foods and junk, encourages exercise and teaches about the benefits of living a Paleolithic lifestyle.

The diet is based on what those living in the Paleolithic period of the early Stone Age would have eaten. As it was a time before processed foods, the diet eliminates dairy, grains, legumes and most sugars opting for natural foods instead.

“It’s not even about what it eliminates, it’s more about what it does include,” said Zaller. “Paleo is more about getting back to nature — you have to have grown it or killed it. All sources of animal protein, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. It’s not just about a diet either, it’s a lifestyle.”

With an M.B.A. in finance and a bachelor’s in math from Emory University, Zaller did not originally aim to be in the field of nutrition. However, as a fitness instructor, many of her students would inquire about her diet, so she decided to get certified as a nutritionist. Even that was not enough — in the time since, Zaller has opened her own nutrition practice and is currently enrolled in the nutrition and integrative health master’s program at the Maryland University of Integrative Health.

Zaller first heard about the paleo diet from a chiropractor, with whom she was giving a joint lecture, who gave her a book about the paleo diet for athletes.

“I read it and was like, ‘Wow, this is totally different than what is taught in conventional nutrition,’ and from that point on, I decided to eat a paleo-style diet,” said Zaller.

Inspiration for the Go Paleo! board game came one night when she was cooking dinner for her children.

“My kids were running around and my older one was saying, ‘Let’s play a tag game, I’m going be vegetables because they will give you power. You guys will be junk food.’ Listening to him speak, I thought that it was an excellent idea for a board game. We could teach how fruits and vegetables and wholesome foods give the body energy and junk foods drain you of energy, so therefore the fruits and vegetables and natural foods will always win,” said Zaller.

The process of creating a board game from scratch was far more arduous than Zaller and her family anticipated. Their first step was to design the game on paper — her eldest son drew it out, and they used printed images they found online. From there, Zaller began to communicate with Parvez Mangalorewala, the co-owner of Wordsmith Enterprises, who agreed to work with Zaller to produce the game. She sent him their handmade copy, and from there, it was a matter of going back and forth to make sure everything was done correctly.

“The whole idea is like Chutes and Ladders with the slides,” explained Zach, Zaller’s oldest son. “Landing on something bad and making you go back and do an activity card, that was my idea. It’s pretty cool, the game is just as I imagined it to be. I never thought we would make it this far.”

“When we started, it was May 2012,” said Zaller. “We thought that by the end of summer, we would have this game out, but it was just one thing after another.”

Go Paleo! was finally completed two months ago. They had to search databases to see if there was anything remotely like it, trademark the name — copyrights, trademarks and patents all required lawyers. Additionally, communicating overseas to approve every aspect of the game drew the process out.

“The whole journey entailed a lot in terms of layouts, imagery, content and fleshing out the whole game,” said Mangalorewala. “It took about three years to give shape to the final version. Although we did create two prototypes, small things like the wooden dice with food icons instead of dots happened spontaneously during the last stage. However, the entire game play and process was well thought out by Cara beforehand, so it was easier and more interesting to develop the board game into a fine piece.”

The back of the game provides a wealth of information regarding the paleo diet, while the instruction manual itself details the rules of the game, tells Zaller’s story and provides resources that go more in depth about the paleo lifestyle. The game board is also durable. Zaller wanted the board and pieces to be able to survive the active playstyle the game requires.

Initial interest for the board game came from Zaller’s neighbor, Sherry Chen, who is a member of a local board-game meeting group. According to Zaller, she first played the game and when she landed on pasta, she said, “I didn’t know pasta isn’t a health food!”

“Now when I go shopping, I think about Go Paleo! and choose my groceries based on the paleo diet,” said Chen. “I would strongly recommend the game to the community because it is very hard to find a game with the same educational and fitness value. Our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.”

Now that Go Paleo! is finally ready for the public, Zaller’s immediate goal is distribution. David’s Natural Market, which has stores in Columbia, Forest Hill and Gambrills, is carrying the game. Many of Zaller’s friends and students from fitness classes have picked up copies of the game as well. Zaller is also looking forward to the game being reviewed in a paleo magazine.

“My next steps are not just the paleo world,” she said. “I am interested in kids’ nutrition, so I have been contacting the different Howard County schools to see about getting one of these games in every elementary school for their health unit where they teach nutrition. What better way to teach than with fun?”

dnozick@midatlanticmedia.com

Advocacy Day Amplifies Jewish Voices in Annapolis

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Avi Schneider and Jonathan Allen of Terps for Israel (David Stuck)

Jonathan Allen and Avi Schneider normally plan their own lobbying trips to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. But on Tuesday night, the pair of University of Maryland, College Park, sophomores decided to shake things up and head to Annapolis.

Allen, 19, and Schneider, 20, the president of and vice president, respectively, of Terps for Israel, joined about 200 people from the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Jewish communities for Advocacy Day, which was hosted by the Baltimore Jewish Council and Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC).

“While we have met with members of Congress and Senators, we had really never done anything like this before, so we said, ‘Let’s give it a try and see what happens,’” Schneider said. “It turned out to be a no-brainer.”

It was the first time they had joined another organization’s pre-planned lobbying trip.

“While I have had access on Capitol Hill and met with members of Congress before, I saw a lot more state delegates and senators walking around very casually,” said Allen, an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) campus activist. “It was very easy to speak with them just about any issues or topics that are relevant in what’s going around the state.”

The group spent the evening meeting with leaders of the General Assembly from Baltimore City, Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties to discuss a host of subjects important to the Jewish communities of Baltimore and Washington.

These included the state’s efforts to divest itself from companies that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, whether Maryland companies should offer earned sick and safe leave to their workers and budget items the community would like to see funded.

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Del. Benjamin Kramer (D-District 19) (David Stuck)

Del. Benjamin Kramer, a Democrat who represents District 19 in Montgomery County, said he was pleased to see so many active residents taking an interest in an anti-BDS bill he is the sponsoring.

The bill would prevent the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System from investing in any companies that participate in the BDS movement and also prohibits companies that support BDS from securing state procurement contracts.

“There is a lot of support in the community for this anti-BDS bill, but it is important for my colleagues to hear that. I think we saw that here tonight, so it is important that we have such a strong presence here,” said Kramer, who added he has attended every Advocacy Day since his first full year in the House of Delegates in 2007. I am hoping a lot of folks here leave energized to take up the initiative and get the message out there.”

In addition to pushing for an issue or project, many people used Advocacy Day as a chance to network and foster meaningful relationships with local leaders beyond just politics.

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Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin (David Stuck)

“Just being here, living in our Democratic system in ways that it should be experienced, is essential for America,” said Nina Beth Cardin, 63, a community rabbi and Baltimore native. “I’m afraid with all that is happening that we are losing the fundamental fabric of Democracy that keeps us strong. Democracy is not a spectator sport, but it’s a participant activity.”

Linda Hurwitz, 59, a Baltimore native and chairwoman of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, said she feels confident Jewish legislators are committed to working on behalf of the community. She feels the face time cognizant residents such as herself and legislators get to have at Advocacy Day goes a long way toward accomplishing just that.

Among the issues Hurwitz hopes pan out are the BJC’s budget requests for $75,000 for its elder abuse program and for $350,000 in aging-in-place funding for Holocaust survivors.

“To put a face [to the name] and show a sense of passion with personal opinions means so much more than a one-dimensional piece of paper,” said Hurwitz, who has attended Advocacy Day three times. “I believe it is multifaceted when people come and share not only their passions, but their support of something that speaks to them.

“My concerns with everyone are from cradle to grave. We take care of every Jew.”

Sarah Mersky, director of government relations at the BJC, said this year’s Advocacy Day is one of the most noteworthy she has been involved with.

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Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-District 11) (David Stuck)

Those who attended Tuesday also had the chance to listen to remarks from Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-District 11) and Kramer during a dinner reception in the Senate Office Building.

“It really is up to our community to make sure they are reaching out to their elected officials, which I think is one of the most important parts of this,” Mersky said.

Ron Halber, executive director of the JCRC, said he was also encouraged by the events of the evening.

“This was a very positive day,” Halber said. “There was strong support on almost wall-to-wall issues for all of our issues.”

Photos from Advocacy Day:

Advocacy Day 2017

jsilberman@midatlanticmedia.com

Hopkins President Shares Family Refugee Story in Letter Opposing Immigration Ban

Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels

Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels (Provided)

The executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Jan. 27, which implemented a 120-day travel ban from seven majority Muslim countries, sparked numerous protests (including at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport) and legal challenges.

One such challenge resulted in a nationwide hold on the ban by a federal judge last week. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard the Trump administration’s appeal this week, and it seems likely that the case could end up at the Supreme Court.

Local colleges and universities, like their counterparts across the country, are also making their displeasure known and, in the case of Johns Hopkins University, doing so through one personal refugee story.

Hopkins president Ronald Daniels wrote a long letter distributed across the university Feb. 1, detailing not only the university’s dedication to “openness, freedom of ideas, opportunity for the many, not the few,” but also the story of his father, a Polish immigrant to Canada in 1939.

“Though many years have passed since my father, his two siblings and his parents found safe harbor in Canada, the story of their odyssey is vivid and enduring for me,” Daniels wrote. “In March 1939, my father, then 7 years old, and his family came to Canada as Jewish refugees from Poland, only months before Hitler invaded the country and unleashed his Final Solution on six million European Jews.”

Daniels goes on to say that both the remaining of his father’s family in Europe and his wife’s family were “destroyed.” According to the letter, Daniels became a U.S. citizen about a year ago, proud “to associate myself with its historic standing as a place that has given succor and opportunity to the ‘huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’”

The letter ends with Daniels saying Hopkins “will strongly support the members of our community who need our direct assistance in the days and months ahead. …To do less is to sacrifice the futures not only of countless individuals, but of our nation and its great institutions.”

Hopkins also dissuades any faculty or students who could be affected from traveling, as does the University System of Maryland, which includes institutions such as the University of Maryland and Towson University.

“The University System of Maryland community reaffirms its deep commitment to diversity and inclusion,” USM chancellor Robert Caret wrote in a statement.

“We join many higher education institutions nationwide in expressing our concern over the temporary banning
of individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entry into the United States.”

Loyola University of Maryland, a private Jesuit school, grounded its concerns in calls to follow the tenets of their faith in helping those less fortunate.

“Embracing our Jesuit, Catholic mission, Loyola actively works to support refugees and new immigrants in the Baltimore area,” Loyola president the Rev. Brian F. Linnane said in a statement. “… We are steadfastly committed to assisting them, as we are committed to all those who are marginalized.

In this moment, I also encourage each of you to keep in mind how deeply we, as a university community, cherish the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

hmonicken@midatlanticmedia.com

Fighting Fire with a Fundraiser

Lt. Josh Schumer (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

Lt. Josh Schumer (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

To mark its 120th anniversary this year, the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Department is embarking on a $3 million fundraiser to renovate its existing firehouse and buy a new ambulance, tower truck and fire engine.

Pikesville Fire was founded on Feb. 4, 1897 and currently operates both the busiest rescue squad and the busiest volunteer ladder truck in Baltimore County.

The department will celebrate the milestone on Saturday, Feb. 4 during its annual banquet, which is held on the first Saturday in February each year to honor current and founding members in accordance with the organization’s constitution.

Capt. Scott Goldstein, who has served in the department for 32 years, said, “This is a very dedicated group of people who respond to over 3,500 calls a year as volunteers. There are about 88 people actively volunteering, over 100 who participate including non-riding members.”

The banquet will officially kick off Pikesville Fire’s capital campaign.

“This is not a sky-high, bell-and-whistles project,” said Chris Imbach, a member of the department for 32 years who serves as chair of the capital campaign. “Rather, it is a very bare-bones and necessity-driven project. We are not going to add anything but will modernize and renovate every inch of the building, especially the bingo hall, a huge space that is not being used for anything. It is simply an outdated fire department. It does not meet the requirements for housing, equipment and education or the standards of our robust department.”

Cramped quarters and outdated vehicles are two of the department’s biggest concerns. (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

Cramped quarters and outdated vehicles are two of the department’s biggest concerns. (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

These renovations are far overdue, according to Goldstein, who said that the building has remained unchanged since 1970. It still only accommodates sleeping cots for 12 members in a coed room, and many of the volunteers are college-aged women. The facility also only has one bathroom with a shower.

“We are staying in the footprint of the building, not being too grandiose,” said John Berryman, the organization’s president and a member for 55 years. “We have been working earnestly for the past five years. We started off wanting more than what we could afford and narrowed it down. Members came up with a list of items that were necessary, and we were able to meet all of those needs.”

Six or seven officers currently share a single cramped office on the second floor of the building. Part of the bingo hall will be converted to office space. The bingo hall also will include a kitchen, dining area and a computer lounge. Perhaps most importantly, a space will be provided for gym equipment, which is currently in the same room as the beds, preventing people from sleeping while others work out.

Traditionally, the fire station has relied upon events in the bingo hall to help fund the department.

“Back in the day, this was the place to play bingo,” said Lt. Josh Schumer, who has served with the department for 17 years. “However, we now have trouble filling it — there is no draw for people to have parties here. People would rather go to a casino than play bingo.”

Blueprints for the building renovation depict the newly repurposed bingo hall (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

Blueprints for the building renovation depict the newly repurposed bingo hall (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

Most of the vehicles that the fire department owns are custom-made, and as the equipment gets older, repairs and replacement parts become both more expensive and harder to come by.

“Our engine is a little over 20 years old, so unfortunately they don’t make parts for it anymore,” said Schumer. “We are starting to run into issues when stuff breaks. We are an extremely busy firehouse, hundreds of calls per piece per year, and it takes its toll.”

A new ambulance is already in the process of being built for the department. According to Imbach, a new fire engine will cost approximately $600,000 and a new ladder truck nearly $1 million. The current ladder truck was built around 2003.

“We do get some financing from the county,” said Goldstein. “We get money to operate; they pay for some fuel and expenses. But for the real big-ticket items, we are still on our own to raise that money. That’s where the capital campaign comes in. We know that there are some very generous folks in Pikesville, and we just need to essentially advertise our need and let them know that we are here.”

dnozick@midatlanticmedia.com

Baltimore Bagels Goes Bottoms Up! New bagel pop-up has Jewish roots

 Joan Kanner and Michelle Bond on the seventh day of their first multi-day pop up on Cross Street in Federal Hill, February 2016. (Bottoms Up Bagels)

Joan Kanner and Michelle Bond on the seventh day of their first multi-day pop up on Cross Street in Federal Hill, February 2016. (Bottoms Up Bagels)

Although Joan Kanner grew up under the veil of 12 years of Catholic school, she still lays a claim to her own “Jewy center,” as she put it.

The New Jersey-born Kanner, a Baltimorean since 2005, has chosen a particularly apt  description here, considering she is the co-founder of the fresh-out-of-the-oven pop-up Bottoms Up Bagels.

It was a little more than a year ago that Kanner, along with wife and fellow Jersey-born transplant Michelle Bond, began operating Bottoms Up as a nomadic catering service throughout the Baltimore area. This includes pop-ups at such locations as the Waverly Holiday Market, Federal Hill’s Pixilated and Harbor Market.

The wife-and-wife team specializes in everything from fresh hand-rolled bagels to classic shmears (as well as their own signature creations such as house-cured lox cream cheese and house-smoked jalapeno cream cheese) to their “Kick Ass Salmon Lox” (as listed on their menu), cured in-house with salt, sugar, peppercorns, fresh parsley, dill and lemon zest.

Bottoms Up also has eight wholesale partners through such establishments as Mt. Vernon’s The Room, Catonsville’s Rooster + Hen Store and, only just this past week, Canton’s Fork and Wrench.

“We’re trying to get something in south Baltimore soon!” said Bond, who was followed to Baltimore by Kanner after time spent in the Peace Corps led to her accepting a Shriver Center fellowship at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Bond received her master’s in intercultural communication, a field of study that has long interested her as a social activist and savvy entrepreneur.

“Our pop-up in the Lexington Market was very different than the pop-up we did in  Mt. Vernon, for example, and communication helps,” Bond said in reference to starting up and running Bottoms Up with Kanner, whom she wed in 2014.

“I come at it from a community development aspect,” Bond continued, “and food has always been part of this exchange:  coordinating and making it happen, working with the different cafes and business owners, setting things up that will not only be efficient but fun. It’s about making people feel part of the process.”

Bond went on to say that she sees the work she does schmoozing with the business owners and event planners at the various locations Bottoms Up has and continues to appear at as being “more than just a transaction. It’s  influenced by all these other things that are a part of who we are.”

By this she means that Kanner and she are largely propelled by the sense of kinetic innovation that comes with operating a mobile catering business and the constant adventure unfolding each day in working with and setting up at different businesses.

Another part of who Kanner is goes back to that colorfully “Jewy center” of hers.

Though she may not have a master’s of her own in intercultural communication, Kanner does know a thing or two about what it means to be intimately connected to other cultures, particularly Jews.

Consider the backstory of her Catholic grandmother Rose and Jewish grandfather Jacob’s interfaith marriage.

“How do you say you’ve had exposure to this amazing group of people [Jews] throughout your life?” Kanner wondered aloud during her interview with the JT.

This exposure goes beyond Kanner’s fascination with Jewish cuisine, recounting as she did stories of her grandparents going to a kosher butcher to make their “phenomenal” flanken for their borscht, and then zipping right down the street to a different butcher for cold cuts that were full of “porky goodness.”

“And I haven’t made a latke in a while,” Kanner confessed, “but I make those too. With a little basil to ‘Italian them up’ for a bit of variety.”

No, Kanner’s link to her Jewy center is stronger than the mere fact that she happens to make kugel based on her grandparents’ recipe. There’s the history of her grandparents — shunned in Poland during the early ’40s for their interfaith marriage — fleeing through the forests of their homeland to meet up with an aunt in Germany “of all places,” as Kanner laughed, before “hightailing it to Canada” and ending up in the United States.

“I know they also got restitution checks from the German government,” Kanner said, adding that she has in the past heard from other Jewish people who made their way out and thanked her for what her grandparents did in assisting them.

Kanner will never be able to forget her grandfather’s disfigured ear, missing a small piece of his skull from when a Nazi soldier bashed him with the butt of his rifle before escaping.

“It didn’t look gross,” she said. “But there was this little indentation behind his right ear and I remember asking him about these kinds of physical things I saw or hearing stories about what went on.”

Rose and Jacob Kanner at their daughter's (Joan's Aunt) wedding in the 70s. (Toncia Sosnosky)

Rose and Jacob Kanner at their daughter’s (Joan’s Aunt) wedding in the 70s. (Toncia Sosnosky)

Kanner said that, for the most part, her grandparents — who were very involved in her upbringing — were mostly silent to the point of secrecy about the horrors they experienced and witnessed back in Poland and Germany during those tumultuous earlier days.

Though Kanner herself never learned the languages of her grandparents’ native land, she said they did sometimes speak Polish and Yiddish around her, “but they didn’t really want me to learn it.

“All I really knew is that I came from these beautiful people who had undergone these unspeakable things before they came to the U.S.,” Kanner said.

Aside from the practical notion that Bond and Kanner started Bottoms Up largely because they felt Baltimore lacked the kind of traditional style bagels they grew up with in New Jersey and, later before coming here, New York City, this deeper  aspect of who they are as people greatly inspired and continues to inspire their growing enterprise.

“For us, it’s really about everything we’re talking about here: the cultural association and experience of our childhood,” Bond said.

“We were both raised in different parts of Jersey; [Kanner’s] had more of a Jewish influence and mine had more of an Italian influence … but there were  always bagels everywhere.

“In that very simple, accessible food — whether you’re going to a business meeting or working at a construction site down the street — bagels can be there for everyone. And we want to be a part of that in  Baltimore.”

mklickstein@midatlanticmedia.com

Baltimore Startup Puts Fitness Online

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This screenshot shows four friends taking a recorded fitness class together through BurnAlong. (Provided)

It’s that time of year where the best of intentions to fulfill those New Year’s resolutions start to falter.

It’s not hard to guess that many of those resolutions revolved around fitness and exercise. Everyone wants to be healthier, but between work, friends and family, gym routines tend to take a back seat on the priority list.

One new company, founded by two Baltimore residents who both have backgrounds with startups and in the tech sector, is looking to help people keep their fitness resolutions through BurnAlong, a new site that aims to bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar gyms and online fitness.

Daniel Freedman and Mike Kott actually got the idea for BurnAlong from a joke. They were ribbing each other about being out of shape, despite each being previously very active and fit. Their problem-solving curiosity kicked in: Why weren’t they in shape? What was stopping them?

“It all started out in a jovially way, but it all got very serious very quickly,” Kott said.

BurnAlong first launched in beta — only those with an invite could join — in September and opened to the public the following month. The idea is fairly simple: Bring the gym to people at home, but maintain a sense of community. Freedman and Kott have partnered with a number of gyms across the country, nearly 30 so far with inquiries coming in from more, who provide filmed content of their instructors teaching a fitness class. Then users and up to three friends can take the class together, joined by a video chat platform where all are viewing the instructor.

Sue Sheain, a native Baltimorean and owner of Beach Barre Body in Bethany Beach, Del., was one of the early partners to sign on with BurnAlong. She described it as Facebook meets Skype meets YouTube for fitness. The idea of having her classes available to her students online seemed like a no-brainer to Sheain, especially since her studio is located in a very seasonal community.

“They gave me the way to do what I wanted to do myself but didn’t have the resources,” she said.

The partnering with existing gyms and studios is key, Freedman said. There are already many online fitness companies to compete with the in-person options. Their goal was to see how they could improve upon the fitness regimes people already had or remove the barriers that kept them from having one.

“We believe that people would rather work out in person than at home,” Kott said. “We’re not looking to replace the in-person experience, but supplement it.”

Also, people like having a consistency in instructors, and once they find one they like, often they will start to seek out in-person classes with that person, if they haven’t already.

“When people find a favorite instructor, they get really passionate about that instructor,” Freedman said.

Both Sheain and Charlie Bauer, a yoga instructor at fellow early partner gym Prana Studio in Annapolis, are already getting good feedback, especially from clients who weren’t able to make a class but were still able to work out with them.

A side benefit, they both said, is being able to reach audiences they may not otherwise. For both yoga and barre, Bauer and Sheain used the example of men who might feel judged going to the women-heavy classes but could try the classes out at home first.

“It’s getting people introduced to yoga who might not otherwise take a yoga class,” said Bauer, who, as the somewhat rare male yoga instructor, understands the challenge of getting other men to try classes like these. But once they do, he — and Sheain — said, they frequently find they enjoy it.

Freedman and Kott are optimistic about the next couple months. They’re adding more content as well as more gyms, and BurnAlong has already been benefiting from what Freedman calls its “viral quality.”

New year, new startup, new you!

hmonicken@midatlanticmedia.com

The Ethics of Combating Terrorism

From left: Stuart Diamant-Cohen, IDF Brig. Gen. Bentzi Gruber and Leon Berg (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

From left: Stuart Diamant-Cohen, IDF Brig. Gen. Bentzi Gruber and Leon Berg (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

Warfare has changed dramatically in recent decades. On the Israeli frontlines, terrorism and guerrilla warfare persist, forcing Israel Defense Forces soldiers to make life-or-death decisions in the field.

IDF Reserve Brig. Gen. Bentzi Gruber spoke to the Jewish National Fund’s Lawyers for Israel Society in Baltimore on Jan. 24, where he talked about ethics in the field and how IDF soldiers are trained to make split-second decisions in an ethical manner. Gruber serves as the vice commander of armored divisions and leads five brigades, a total of 25,000 soldiers.

His talk came just weeks after the high-profile manslaughter conviction of IDF soldier Elor Azaria, who killed a wounded Palestinian lying on the ground after the man lunged at and stabbed an Israeli solider at a checkpoint.

In the course of his presentation, Gruber focused on how soldiers are trained to make ethical decisions on the spot, without time to wait for orders from superiors.

“We have to start with a framework — you have eight seconds to make a decision. That is the main difference between making a decision in the field and elsewhere. You have eight seconds, shoot or don’t shoot?”

Many factors can influence a soldier’s judgement. Physical and mental fatigue will dull a soldier’s senses. Gruber explained that the IDF has urban training facilities, where soldiers practice making these hurried decisions “so that the first time you are confronting a life-or-death decision is not in the field, it is in the [demonstration].”

Gruber explained that in order to make a properly informed decision, there is not a specific procedure for a soldier, but rather a specific set of simple questions for them to ask themselves that dictate what can and cannot be done.

“The first question is simple,” he said. “In the army, you can use force but only to accomplish the mission, so the first question should always be, ‘Are we using the force to accomplish the mission?’”

The example he uses is of entering a house to arrest a terrorist. If force needs to be used to restrain the terrorist, then that is acceptable because it is a part of the mission. However, to destroy the TV in the terrorist’s house does not have a purpose in accomplishing the mission and therefore is crossing the line.

“The second question is a bit more complicated,” Gruber said. “Make sure that you are only using force against the enemy, not against innocents or noncombatants. If you have a doubt, there is no doubt — you do not shoot. You can use force only if you know that it is the enemy.”

The third factor that a soldier must consider is also the most complicated — collateral damage. Gruber asserted that you are allowed to cause collateral damage to accomplish a mission “but only in proportion to the immediate threat.” Immediate is the key word.

“Even if I know that a guy killed five Israelis yesterday and five IDF soldiers two weeks ago, I will not shoot. The pilot [shooting rockets] is not a judge. He is not trying to punish someone for what they have done in the past. He is trying to avoid terror in the future.”

One ethical dilemma that soldiers often face in Gaza is that terrorists grab children to protect themselves from snipers while crossing a street.

“The sniper won’t shoot,” said Gruber. “This is a moving target, the kid is struggling and yelling. Why are they doing this? Because they know that when it comes to collateral damage, it is a big issue for Israelis. That is the difference between terrorism and soldiers — soldiers try to kill the enemy, terrorists purposefully target civilians.”

The IDF takes avoiding collateral damage at all costs so seriously that the procedure when taking control of an urban area is to alert everyone ahead of time, even the enemy, that they are coming. Forty-eight hours in advance, leaflets drop from planes asking residents to please leave the area; 24 hours in advance, people begin to call the families, and another phone call is made five minutes out.

“We even send text messages and recently have started to use social media,” said Gruber. “Why? It is unthinkable for an army to tell you when and where they will attack in advance. It goes against everything that I know, but it is to avoid collateral damage.”

Stuart Diamant-Cohen, director of JNF in Greater Washington, D.C., and Virginia, said the JNF holds no political standpoint on the issues Gruber discussed.

“However, this presentation provided a remarkable opportunity to see Israel and examine its ethical and moral dilemmas from the perspective of a living hero,” Diamant-Cohen said.

Leon Berg, co-chair of Lawyers for Israel, said that being informed about the ethics of the IDF is important for those who want to advocate on the morality of the Israeli army.

“As an advocate, this knowledge is something that you want to be able to offer to other people,” he said. “All of us are committed to being advocates of the State of Israel, and this is just one more thing to be proud of in terms of the great emphasis the IDF places on ethics in the field.”

dnozick@midatlanticmedia.com

More Than Junk … It’s Scrap! Local Jewish families ‘turned dross into gold’ and helped build 20th-century Baltimore

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(Stockphoto.com/shaunl)

Everything is eventually scrap,” began Marvin Pinkert, executive director of the Jewish Museum of Maryland since June 2012.

“All materials are eventually no longer useful in their original form,” he continued. “The business itself started off as ‘junk’ before being known as ‘scrap.’ Today’s ‘recycling’ is really the same model of our being able to reuse material and is a vital part of society.”

No matter the semantics, the notion of “scrap” as an industry is based around the commerce of deconstructing new or used materials — cars, bridges, boats, industrial detritus — into manageable, much smaller and organized pieces that can then be melted down at steel mills or other facilities that transform “junk” into something that can be used again to create, well, more bridges or cars or, inevitably,  industrial materials that later become detritus themselves.

“As they say, ‘This one’s personal,’” Pinkert noted. “I grew up in the scrapyard business. This was a situation where,  because I was sensitive to the idea that the scrapyard industry was an undervalued part of our economy and an undervalued part of the Jewish experience, I thought it would be great if I could do something on a national level.”

It’s a goal of Pinkert’s to develop the  exhibit, which is set to open at the museum October 2018, as one that would travel around the country to promote “the vision and ingenuity required for the ‘un-making’ and reuse of our material culture,” as written in the project proposal.

Having grown up in Chicago where his family started and ran People’s Iron and Metal Co. before it was sold off two decades ago, Pinkert hopes the upcoming exhibit will “honor my parents and grandparents as well as others who were transformed by the industry and became a central part of the Jewish community.”

According to a 2015 report by the  Institute for Scrap Recycling (ISRI)  — scrap’s U.S.-based nonprofit trade  association that advocates for its more than 1,500 companies in front of government bodies including Congress — the  business has become a monumentally  robust industry on par with those of data processing/hosting, automotive repair and dental, generating an annual $105.81 billion in national economic activity.

In the earliest days of the industry, when one would have scoffed at the very idea of calling it such, hearty souls were simply “junkmen,” detailed, in fact, by Pinkert’s census records of his grandfather.

“It was seen as an occupation someone would enter because there was no other choice due to language skills, lack of technical training or religious discrimination,” Pinkert said. “And then folks advanced bit by bit to become business people, then entrepreneurs.”

It’s an expansive story perhaps best illustrated by the central core of scrap as an industry itself: “You’re going from material that is considered worthless to material that is integral to the creation of this country,” Pinkert said.

Like Pinkert, lifelong Pikes-ville resident Neal Shapiro, 52,  is a scion of the scrap that he  referred to as “a colorful industry for a lot of years, full of a colorful array of characters, which made it fun and interesting.”

Shapiro is himself one of this “colorful array” and a proud member of what is a major dynasty of Baltimorean Jewish family members whose ancestral patriarchs were three brothers who came over in the earliest years of the 1900s, fleeing a section of Russia that today is the country Latvia, before establishing their individual businesses all revolving around scrap.

There was Shapiro’s grandfather, Isaac aka Ike, who founded Cambridge Iron & Metal, Jacob aka Jake with his United Iron & Metal and Morris Schapiro’s company, Boston Iron & Metal.

And, yes, that “Schapiro” surname is not a typo. The original family name back in the old country was Tomke, something that changed when Morris, the first to come over in 1902, met up with a distant cousin whose address he happened to have and who was named “Shapiro.”

Morris was far more than simply the first of the three brothers to seek his fortune in the United States. His multiple enterprises would later include whiskey distilling, owning and running a “near beer” brewery during Prohibition and —  before it was sold off by his son John in 1984 — ownership of the Laurel Park Racetrack, among many other ventures. His scrapyard business would be the largest of the brothers and, as the legend goes, “the ones with the ‘c’ are the ones with the cash,” joked Jim Shapiro, grandson of Jacob.

“I can’t imagine that when they [the brothers] first started picking up scrap, they could ever imagine what it would turn into today,” said Neal,  reflecting on Morris’ adventures through the industry as well as his own grandfather’s and, of course, his own.

“So many weird things happened over the years,” Neal said. “So many crazy things.”

A Vision  for Value

From left: Leroy and his son Neal Shapiro with Sandy and his father Joe Shapiro of Cambridge Iron & Metal in 1985 (Neal Shapiro)

From left: Leroy and his son Neal Shapiro with Sandy and his father Joe Shapiro of Cambridge Iron & Metal in 1985 (Neal Shapiro)

Indeed, Schapiro’s story is a true shmata-to-riches series of adventures with echoes of John Steinbeck’s and Upton Sinclair’s work before turning into pure Horatio Alger.

A native of Czarist Russia, Schapiro started working  menial jobs at the age of 11, before a frightening encounter with a large soldier asking if he was Jewish led him to leave the country.

It was 1902 when, after  saving for nearly a decade to earn 100 rubles (approximately $50 at the time), Schapiro made his way through Europe to Hamburg, where he waited a week for the SS Pennsylvania to whisk him away to the States.

“I was sick as a dog,” Schapiro said in an oral history interview kept at the Jewish Museum. He was crammed in with 500 people in an area of the ship “worse than steerage … just like cattle. They wouldn’t permit that on any boat today.”

For his trouble, Schapiro would also lose all but 25 cents after being pickpocketed at some point along his voyage that took him to Boston by way of New York and Providence, R.I.

A series of odd jobs and even odder experiences including hustling and being hustled followed, leading Schapiro from his cousin’s Boston to Georgia, where, with $12.75 in his pocket, he boarded a boat for $12 that happened to take him to  Baltimore.

“If the boat was going to Chicago,” Schapiro said, “I would’ve gone to Chicago.”

Arriving two weeks after the Great Baltimore Fire of February 1904, Schapiro — who taught himself English by reading newspapers and street signs — was able to find himself a job cleaning bricks just outside what would eventually become the famed Southern Hotel at the corner of Light and E. Redwood streets.

The job lasted four days, and Schapiro moved on to other vocations including working for a baker who specialized in matzoh. Running into some of his Boston relatives walking down Baltimore Street one day, he came to find they were engaged in a clever junk shop venture.

His cousins and uncle were buying up the basest material from the burned district and selling it as scrap. Infuriated by their not allowing him to join up for fear of competition, Schapiro decided to give the scrap game a shot himself.

“So I made up my mind to go into the junk business [and] went to the burn district,” Schapiro said. “[I] bargained for a whole day to buy a couple loads of iron for $7.50.”

With some help from a colleague who assisted his hauling the scrap around in a cart, Schapiro made $10 in one day, concreting his plan to be in the “junk business” forevermore.

By the end of his first week, Schapiro had $100 in his pocket. Buying up whatever he could from blacksmith shops, machine shops, chemical works and “everything where junk accumulated,” along with yet another series of unfortunate events involving a few of his family members and partners, Boston Metals was born and property of Morris Schapiro.

He soon would bring over his brother Isaac and Uncle Oscar to help him run the business that would allow him to eventually purchase his first “little house” with a $200 down payment on Woodbrook Avenue.

The shift from cutting up scrap by hand and basic tools to “oxygen” (torches) in the mid-1920s wasn’t the only major shift that later occurred in the life of Schapiro. By this time, the magnate was easily bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars every month and his empire was assured.

A humble and good-natured businessman throughout his life and multifaceted career, Schapiro’s greatest feat of vindication came down to a tale often told by his relatives involving the simple scrapping of a familiar boat.

Boston Metals would specialize in the junking of boats (at one time as many as 124 purchased from the federal government), and one day he came upon one that caught his attention.

“I was walking along and saw this great big ship,” Schapiro stated in his oral  history.

“Well, it’s for sale and you can go over to Washington to buy her,” said his colleague, and that’s just what Schapiro did, eventually scrapping the SS Pennsylvania, the very boat that took him on his horrendous journey across the seas on his way to America only two decades earlier.

The professionally produced oral history was based on an interview Schapiro granted on the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1953 — 16 years before he passed away — and donated to Pinkert’s Jewish Museum by Schapiro’s granddaughter, Barbara Katz, in March 1988.

Katz, an 83-year-old Pikesville resident, learned much about her grandfather, with whom she was extremely close growing up, from the oral history. It was the only time she heard her grand-father refer to himself as a “junkie.”

“He was a remarkable man,” Katz said. “He was very intelligent and was a great philanthropist. … But he was also very low key, very quiet.”

There was a kind of unspoken understanding in Katz’s family that “no one would ask him about his background. That was the thing about those of the first generation: You didn’t ask about it.”

“If you talk to all three families, you get three stories,” 76-year-old Pikesville resident Sandy Shapiro, scion of Ike’s Cambridge Iron & Metal, said, laughing about the notion that all they have is minor hearsay from grandfathers and uncles who mostly kept mum on the past.

Sandy had a simple reason why these men never spoke about their time back in Latvia: “Because it was rough.

“Jake once took his wife back to Latvia during the [Great] Depression just to visit where he came from,” Sandy continued, “and they went to the old house, and it had a dirt floor. Theirs was strictly a ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ story.”

As had his brother before him, Sandy’s grandfather, Ike, labored away working menial jobs from country to country before having enough money to make it to England from where he was able to embark on a boat to America and join Morris. All while speaking only Russian and Yiddish.

“These were tough guys,” Sandy said, chronicling what it was like for Ike even after he arrived in America.

“My grandfather would rent a horse and wagon for $1 a day and would get scrap in the morning with his assistant,” Sandy said, “and then he and his helper would take hammers and chisels and break the scrap apart. They were real guys.”

Needless to say, the business would always be a rough-and-tough one for laborers in the years that would follow, as technology changed and entire bridge beams or automobiles would be scrapped through machines such as “shredders” that could break gargantuan pieces of metal down to its bare elements or, in the case of “balers,” pounded into smaller cubes to be sold off to smelting plants, steel mills and the like.

“It’s not like we were dirt bags; we just got dirty,” was how Michael Hettleman put it.

K. Hettleman & Co. (Ellen Kahan Zager)

K. Hettleman & Co. (Ellen Kahan Zager)

Another Pikesville resident from the industry, 80-year- old Hettleman is the son of Isadore “Izzie” Hettleman who, along with brother Emanuel “Mannie” Hettleman, ran K. Hettleman and Sons — founded by their father, Kalman, in 1904 — until it was sold in 1962.

K. Hettleman was less a competitor with the Shapiro- and Schapiro-run companies and more of a peripheral partner (as the Schapiro/Shapiro clans more or less operated, with Jake’s company junking a lot of cars, Ike’s focusing a great deal on industrial scrap and Morris’ on boats). Ike’s Cambridge Iron & Metal, for example, sold much of its brass and copper to Hettleman, which in turn would make ingots — manageable blocks of metal — that would later be sold off to appropriate dealers.

Send in  the Jews

It’s likely the scrapyard industry flourished in Baltimore for three very important reasons.

First, as Pinkert pointed out, Baltimore at the time had its fair share of steel mills, a requirement of any successful scrap community.

Baltimore was also one of the few port towns in the United States where large boats — like those being scrapped by Morris’ Boston Metals — could be acquired. And, of course, the Baltimore fire of 1904 left a great deal of otherwise valueless material to be transformed into “junk” and “scrap” for a burgeoning field that would support the Schapiro, Shapiro and Hettleman families in the earliest days of their individual enterprises.

But then there’s the obvious question: Why were so many scrapyard families Jewish?

As it turns out, it’s a trend that resonated throughout the country. Historian and author Carl Zimring writes in his 2009 book “Cash For Your Trash” that in the mid-1930s, while the scrapyard industry was really on the rise throughout the United States, 70 to 90 percent of the business was Jewish owned and operated.

“It was considered an undesirable and filthy business,” Neal said. “Jews [at the time] were not allowed to do a lot of things, and this was relatively inexpensive to get into. As long as a person could get a horse and cart, he could start something.”

Jewish immigrants, or “refugees” as Sandy put it, speaking little or no English, having little or no education, money or resources, were able to discover something in “junk” that so many other communities at the time simply found untouchable.

“Some of it may have been the merchant mentality that came from Eastern Europe,” Neal continued in speculating. “Collecting, buying, selling, haggling.”

Ellen Kahan Zager, granddaughter of Mannie Hettleman and cousin to Michael, also believes that the Jewish dominance of the industry was greatly related to the community’s culture of communication.

“There is deal making in the scrap business, and that is a  reflection of a communication process that is very embedded in the Jewish culture,” Zager said.

“[The scrap business is] not very straight forward, so there’s a lot of give and take, and this is a very Jewish way of communicating, from the very beginning to the very end,” Zager said. “It’s not about  ‘retail.’ It’s built on relationships and trust … or at least it used to be.”

End of  an Era

“When [Pinkert] reached out to me, I was a tad hesitant just because I was trying to break free of the industry and head in a new direction,” Neal said about what has become his retirement since the doors on Cambridge Iron & Metal closed in 2016.

“But then I thought this was a great way to honor our heritage and everything my grandfather did for me.  He started something; he built it and passed the torch to my dad and uncle who passed it onto me.

“And while I never got the opportunity to physically meet him, in a way, I had a connection to him because I was able to continue something he started. That was something too that was really hard for me when I shut down the business; I felt I lost that connection.”

These original businesses no longer exist for reasons ranging from rapidly accelerating technological expenses to stricter environmental constraints, growing competition or the simple reason of owners feeling it was time to move on and sell (as in the case of United).

Such tales as those told here are responsible for making the scrap industry “part of who you are — you do it long enough and it gets in your blood,” according to Neal. And yet, he confessed that he doesn’t really think he wants his own children to go into the business.

“I had always been cognizant of trying to keep the business going long enough so they had that option,” Neal said, “but I don’t think either of them wanted to, and I’m OK with that.

“Friends of mine around the country, they’re not grooming their kids for the business because it’s changing too much.”

“I wouldn’t want my children to do it,” Sandy confirmed.

Sandy is satisfied that “we all did well, we were in a good business. We had nothing to be ashamed of, and all the families worked hard.”

He nevertheless recently began seeing “Jewish kids coming out of college becoming lawyers and doctors, saying [about going into scrap], ‘You gotta be kidding me!’ So the families didn’t see another generation and were selling their businesses.

schematics for the exhibit they’ll have at the Museum of the show revolving around this topic. Said schematic needs to be credited to: JMM/Alchemy Studio and it must state that these are “conceptual outline” or “conceptual rendering” in captions/labels.

Conceptual architectural rendering for the exhibit (JMM/Alchemy Studio)

“What was important about it?” he asked rhetorically. “It was about tracing a larger history, all that stuff about what it meant to be Jewish, how they were able to do all of this and become prominent, make their money and let their families take it to other places around the country to start furniture companies and department stores wherever their train would stop. … They were  able to send their kids off  to college …”

They were able to fund the lives of those who never had an interest going into the same business, be it Sandy’s own brother Burt Shapiro, who became such a renowned classical music and film critic in the area, the Charles Theater honored him by name on their marquee after he died in 2014.

Scrap helped lay the foundation of the education of the likes of Jill Vexler, the Jewish Museum curator involved  in the upcoming exhibit and, of course, executive director Pinkert himself. The recipients of opportunities that came from ancestral tireless toil are those such as Pinkert’s cousin Mandy Patinkin, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor from such beloved films  as “Yentl” and “The Princess Bride.”

These descendants of the scrap industry were able to achieve their dreams because of the “figurative and literal alchemy” that was their parents and grandparents “turning dross into gold,” Pinkert said.

“They created so much from things other people threw away.”

mklickstein@midatlanticmedia.com

Muslim Ban Inspires Protests in Maryland

Nadia Hassan, a member of the American Muslim Democratic Caucus, protests in Highlandtown on Jan. 26. (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

Nadia Hassan, a member of the American Muslim Democratic Caucus, protests in Highlandtown on Jan. 26. (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

Protests erupted nationwide in the wake of an executive order from President Donald Trump that bars citizens from seven majority Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days and suspends the admission of refugees for 120 days.

Airports around the country, including Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport, were crowded with thousands of protesters on Sunday. At BWI, Jewish communal officials, members of Congress and elected officials were among the demonstrators.

“I think people are concerned that [the executive order] is potentially unconstitutional and is fundamentally out of step with the values we want to project around the world,” said Congressman John Sarbanes, who, along with Congressman Elijah Cummings, addressed the crowd at BWI.

Just three days earlier, more than 200 people gathered at the Salem-Baltimore Hispanic United Methodist Church in Highlandtown for a solidarity vigil in support of immigrants, Muslims and refugees led by the Baltimore Jewish Council, CASA de Maryland, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Jews United for Justice (JUFJ).

A federal judge in New York issued an emergency stay on Jan. 28 that temporarily allowed people who traveled to the U.S. with a valid visa to remain, following a petition by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Sameer Abdulkhalq Alshawi following their detainment upon arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

According to the ACLU’s website, “The lead plaintiffs have been detained by the U.S. government and threatened with deportation even though they have valid visas to enter the United States. One plaintiff, Hameed Darweesh, an Iraqi husband and father of three, worked for the U.S. military [as a translator], and his life was in danger in Iraq due to that relationship. [Alshawi’s] wife and son were threatened because of their perceived ties to the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained both men in JFK Airport in New York as they entered the country.”

At the Highlandtown church gathering on Jan. 26, Maya Perez, an immigrant from Mexico and a member of CASA de Maryland, spoke about how her parents came to the U.S. illegally. “Everything I am, the reason I am here right now, is thanks to my dad,” she said. “Our parents decided to leave their countries, their homes, not knowing what would happen to them.”

This spur-of-the-moment gathering and another protest in Annapolis on the morning of Jan. 27 called on Gov. Larry Hogan to reject the implementation of the ban in Maryland as well as to support the Maryland TRUST Act, legislation that would prevent police in Maryland from continuing to detain individuals once they are eligible for release if continued detention is only for the purpose of assisting federal immigration enforcement efforts, according to the ACLU.

“It’s not just citizens who have equal protection under law, it is all people in the country,” said Molly Amster, Baltimore director of JUFJ. “When people who are undocumented fear that involvement of police will result in deportation or the loss of their livelihood or even physical danger, they are unlikely to go to the police. It puts them in an incredibly vulnerable position where they can easily be taken advantage of. This law creating a separation between police and immigration is critical to protecting people’s rights.”

MuslimBan2

The Highlandtown vigil in support of immigrants, Muslims and refugees (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

Madeline Suggs, director of public affairs for the Baltimore Jewish Council, attended both protests and addressed the crowd in Annapolis. She shared that after the two bomb threats to the Park Heights JCC, the first people that she heard from were members of the Muslim community. The BJC received phone calls as well as two dozen letters from Muslim elementary school students to show their support.

“We really wanted to return that support on Thursday and Friday,” said Suggs. “It is really important to stand with all of these minorities that are feeling scared.”

The BJC’s statement on the Muslim ban reflected this sentiment and said, “We believe the United States has a moral and historical obligation to create a welcoming environment for individuals and families looking to start a new life after suffering atrocities in their native countries. Laws that implicitly target specific religious groups should be avoided to the greatest extent possible, and we stand with our friends and neighbors in the Muslim community who are concerned about the effect this ban will have on refugees suffering violence abroad.”

Del. Shelly Hettleman (D-District 11), who also attended the BWI protest, felt similarly.

“I think people are really upset at the xenophobia and at the ham-handedness by which this administration rolled out its changes,” she said. “I understand people’s security concerns, but I have a hard time believing that when it’s mostly women and children, the two-year vetting process they go through isn’t enough to give us security.”

Andrew Miller, who helped spur others to attend the BWI protest, said there was a strong Jewish presence, with a number of people wearing kippot.

“I think it is vital to be involved,” he said. “If we start to differentiate between refugees based on their country or religion, we aren’t adhering to Jewish values or human rights. It is an outrage to the fundamental values on which this country was founded.”

dnozick@midatlanticmedia.com

Seasons Next Season?

Seasons plans a late-spring opening. (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

Seasons plans a late-spring opening. (Photo by Daniel Nozick)

While contractors are working inside the future home of Seasons kosher market to install electrical and plumbing systems, officials remain tight-lipped on an opening date for the store, which has been in the works for about three years.

A series of delays combined with little public information from Seasons has left the community in the dark about a much-anticipated franchise that will provide the Reisterstown Road corridor’s many kosher residents with a second kosher market.

In a phone interview, general manager Zachary Richards said the store, at 1628 Reisterstown Road, most likely will open in late spring but declined to give a specific date.

“We are working on installing electrical systems and plumbing before we move to equipment installation,” he said.

When plans to open a Seasons in Baltimore were first made public, it was slated to be the first of the market’s stores outside New York. However, since the announcement of the Baltimore store, two Seasons markets have opened in New Jersey while progress in Maryland has been notoriously absent. There are four locations in New York.

Despite grumblings about parking, Richards, in a previous interview, said it “was a challenge but, thankfully, has been resolved.”

The Reisterstown Road location had been sitting empty for months before the recent restart of construction. The approximately 15,000-square-foot store will have produce, bakery, sushi, fish, meat, deli and grocery departments. There will also be shop-from-home and delivery options.

Baltimore County District 2 Councilwoman Vicki Almond and her office have been in contact with Seasons and issued the following statement: “One of the questions that I am frequently asked in the Pikesville community is the status of the Seasons market on Reisterstown Road. Work has resumed at the site. Seasons has not committed to a date for an opening. I will continue to monitor the progress on this project.”

dnozick@midatlanticmedia.com