AIPAC Shrinks Convention Presence

The National Museum of American Jewish History (Photo provided)

The National Museum of American Jewish History (Photo provided)

A pro-Israel event in Philadelphia next week to coincide with the Democratic National Convention was abruptly canceled by AIPAC, the organizers of what was to have been a luncheon at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

A museum spokeswoman confirmed that AIPAC recently canceled the event.

AIPAC’s credibility rests on its being seen as a bipartisan organization. It has sizable Democratic support despite its agenda aligning more closely with Republicans in recent years. Its cancellation raises questions about whether the lobby is scaling back its presence at this summer’s political conventions so it won’t have to snub the GOP and its nominee, Donald Trump, who is being boycotted by many prominent Republican Jews.

“We do not have a large, public event at either convention, but AIPAC representatives will be at both conventions and host a number of smaller meetings,” an AIPAC spokesperson said.

A Republican with knowledge of AIPAC’s situation believes that the lobby made good choice in reducing its presence at the conventions.

“[AIPAC] recognized that while the bipartisan consensus on Israel has broken down, in order for them to maintain the credibility of years and years of service, they need to dial it back and get back to advocating for Israel on both sides,” he said.

“I think a trend we have seen in recent years is both [parties] have been pushed more to the extreme, and part of AIPAC’s appeal is that they’re bipartisan and appeal to both sides of the aisle,” he added.

Just how big has the AIPAC presence been at past conventions? In 2000, JTA reported that 800 local and national members planned to attend the 2000 Republican National Convention, also in Philadelphia. And a 2004 letter from AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr stated that 1,500 members attended a community event in New York City surrounding that year’s Republican convention.

But former executive director Tom Dine, who led AIPAC through three convention seasons in the 1980s and ’90s, called the notion that AIPAC would send that many members to a convention from out of town is “B.S.”

“Nobody sends 800 people to such an event … there’s no hotel space,” he said. “Now, let’s say in Cleveland or Philadelphia, which has a significant Jewish population, you have plenty of AIPAC members already living there. Then it might be possible.”

Dine said during his tenure, AIPAC would schedule events around each convention many months ahead of time. Some of these were policy oriented, others were of the “ubiquitous watermelon, cantaloupe and cheese” social variety. He said four or five staff members and several lay leaders would meet with Congress members and candidates at each convention.

Dine said these meetings are important opportunities for members of the pro-Israel lobby to get to know their politicians.

“It’s about individuals and their future in politics, and their candidates for election and re-election would want to show their best sides to the pro-Israel leadership,” he said.

AIPAC used to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on political convention-related activities. But since the recession in 2008, the lobby has become more frugal, said a Jewish organizational leader who is familiar with AIPAC and wished to remain anonymous.

“They want to have smaller, more intimate gatherings rather than more elaborate gala events,” he said.

“The bottom line is, Jewish organizations have to do a cost-benefit analysis of the treacherous waters of being involved in presidential politics,” he continued. “It’s very easy to screw up in being seen as too close to whichever party you’re at the convention of — to the point of leaders on the other side of the aisle getting upset.”

dschere@midatlanticmedia.com

Fighting Colon Cancer with a Healthy Dose of Bluegrass

Rising star Sarah Jarosz will be one of the headliners at this summer’s Susie’s Cause Bluegrass-Folk festival at Oregon Ridge. (sarahjarosz.com)

Rising star Sarah Jarosz will be one of the headliners at this summer’s Susie’s Cause Bluegrass-Folk festival at Oregon Ridge. (sarahjarosz.com)

The names Susan Cohan and Charlotte Bohn may be known only to a select group in Baltimore, but a local nonprofit, the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation, Inc. (Susie’s Cause), has been working tirelessly to raise both awareness and money for colorectal cancer, the disease that took the lives of these two amazing women.

David Rodman Cohan founded Susie’s Cause following the death of his daughter, Susan. In 2002, Susan visited a doctor about recurring stomach pain and was told in the emergency room that she had an advanced stage of colon cancer. Her prognosis stated that she could only expect to live a couple of months. In her memory, Susie’s Cause now raises awareness and supports research into colorectal cancer.

On July 30, the organization is raising money with the Susie’s Cause Bluegrass-Folk Festival at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville. The lineup is headlined by the Del McCoury Band, a Grammy Award winner and member of the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame. Sarah Jarosz, a multi-instrumental artist who has been hailed by The New York Times as “one of acoustic music’s most promising young talents,” performs, along with the Seldom Scene, Mipso, the Stray Birds, Tim and Savannah Finch from the Eastman String Band and the Ken and Brad Kolodner Quartet.

In line with the cause, the festival will include booths providing information regarding colon cancer, in addition to free screenings. Additionally, the day will include open-pit barbecue, beer and a tasting tent from the Maryland Distillers Guild, which will be offering samples of Maryland distilled spirits.

Why bluegrass music? Charlotte Bohn was an amateur bluegrass singer. When she was diagnosed with cancer and became a board member of Susie’s Cause, David Cohan joked that board members had to sing, not knowing that Bohn had studied music at Towson. When he discovered that Bohn could sing so beautifully, Cohan personally paid for her to record a bluegrass album, which serves as a legacy to her children.

“The bluegrass community, out of any genre, is the most warm and inviting and family friendly,” said Brandon Andreadakis, marketing and internet director for Susie’s Cause. “I was invited by our headliner [Del McCoury] out to his four-day festival in Cumberland with over [10,000] people, and the man took me in like family. The heart that’s involved, it’s a genre of music that we’re proud to be behind. It’s a fun day out, it’s local. If money is raised from the event, it goes directly to our health outreach program. We have a lineup here that is second to none.”

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer, in addition to being the second most deadly across both genders after lung cancer. Incidence of colon cancer among people under 50 has increased 10 percent in the last 10 years.

“It is not a glamorous cancer to push,” explained Andreadakis, “but colon cancer is preventable with early detection through a colonoscopy, and we’re trying to make it an affordable procedure. There are a lot of misconceptions. It is painless, you’re in twilight, it’s simple. If a polyp is found, its removed using a tool called a colonoscope. A light, a water jet and a snare are all it takes. Like a lasso, the snare pulls tight around the polyp, you apply an electrical current to it, and it burns the polyp off.”

Susie’s Cause puts on free health fairs across the country. Robert Glick, another board member of the organization, shared that the organization recently received word that someone who was screened at one of their tables had cancerous polyps discovered in his or her colon. Thanks to the screening, the polyps were quickly removed, and Susie’s Cause saved one more individual from colon cancer.

“It’s about getting the word out — have your parents get screened, get a colonoscopy,” said Andreadakis. “Our health fairs are a combination of entertainment to bring people to them, but also to provide information to both inner-city urban and underserved rural populations. People in underserved communities are worried about paying rent, putting food on the table for the night. Getting a colonoscopy is the furthest thing from their mind. So to get them out to an event, share stories and educate them in a fun way in their backyard has been tremendously successful, and there is no one else doing it.”

Glick encourages everybody to come to the concert July 30. “It’s not your traditional ‘West Virginia, back-country holler’ bluegrass,” he assured. “This is the best of the best. We were blown away last year. You’re coming out for amazing food, and it supports a good cause.”

For more information, visit susiesbluegrassfest.com.

 

dnozick@midatlanticmedia.com

Israelis Debate an International Peacemaking Role

Michael Oren (Courtesy of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Michael Oren (Courtesy of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

It wasn’t long before a small auditorium in downtown Washington erupted in  debate as Member of Knesset Michael Oren (centrist Kulanu party) and MK Merav Michaeli (center-left Zionist Union) began butting heads over which issues affect how Israelis cast their ballots.

“[Oren says] the thing that interests  [Israelis] the least is the peace process,” Michaeli said, in response to Oren’s claim that Israelis are most interested in housing, cost of living and security. “[But he] will argue that they vote, not according to their social or economic situation … but on issues that relate to the peace process.”

“I don’t see security as relating to the peace process,” Oren interrupted.

“Isn’t it my turn now?” asked Michaeli, to the audience’s amusement.

Oded Eran, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, was caught in the crossfire. “I’m arguing with myself,” he said during one of the exchanges between the two MKs.

The three were featured on a July 8 panel discussion held at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy to discuss  Israeli perspectives on international peace initiatives.

Eran began the forum by discussing efforts such as France’s proposals for the creation of a Palestinian state, as well as Egyptian, Russian and Palestinian initiatives.

Traditionally, Israel has believed the only road to peace with its neighbors is through bilateral direct negotiations, Eran said. That idea is “based on the notion that the international community, by and large, is not balanced and is not supportive of the Israeli cause.”

Oded Eran (Courtesy of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Oded Eran (Courtesy of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, quickly dismissed recent  international initiatives to restart peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. He said he was skeptical that Israel would be able to  influence the plans.

The efforts by the French, President Obama and others represent “the nexus between international efforts that are not with the blessing of the state of  Israel,” Oren said, adding that Israel “has been a punching bag” during the past several years.

He emphasized that Israel’s political center supports a two-state solution, but “it is not tenable for Israel to remain passive in the face of these international initiatives.”

We are defined by the conflict. We do not recognize ourselves  without the Palestinian conflict.” — MK Merav Michaeli, Zionist Union

 

The desire for Israel to take control of its future was one of the few points Oren and Michaeli agreed upon. However, Michaeli said the Israel-Palestinian conflict has had a profound effect on Israelis.

“We are defined by the conflict. Israel has existed twice as long with the conflict [since 1967] in this structure than it  existed before it,” she said. “We do not recognize ourselves without the Palestinian conflict.”

Merav Michaeli (Courtesy of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Merav Michaeli (Courtesy of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Michaeli argued that the conflict has become a part of Israel’s core identity, often being used as the cause of other concerns in Israeli life. She said the peace process is about Israel redefining itself. Therefore the country must ask: “What do we want to achieve?”

While she believes a Palestinian state  is in Israel’s interest, she questioned her colleagues’ commitment to that idea.

“I know for a fact that big parts of [the] government do not want to achieve the two-state solution,” said Michaeli, adding that an alternative is “something we have never heard from our prime minister.”

Israel insists on direct bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians. But Eran said “time is running out” on that option.

He argued that even if the Palestinians accepted Israel’s security fence as its  border, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 settlers would still be living within the Palestinian territories. With Israel still reeling from the consequences of a few thousand settlers who were removed for its 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, Eran said he cannot imagine any Israeli government, right or left, doing the same to West Bank settlers.

“Because time is running out and I don’t see any possibility that the two sides will plunge into direct negotiations,” said Eran. “It’s time that the international community create some sort of guidelines for the future solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

jkatz@midatlanticmedia.com

Republican Mayoral Candidate Diagnosed with Bladder Cancer

Alan Walden (Provided)

Alan Walden (Provided)

Alan Walden, the Republican candidate in Baltimore’s mayoral race, announced via his personal Facebook page on July 9 that he has been diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Walden, 80, a former WBAL anchor and co-founder of the Cross Keys Havurah in Baltimore, said he has a good prognosis.

“I have been assured that this discovery has happened at an early enough stage that successful treatment is highly likely,” he wrote. He planned to have his bladder removed and said doctors did not foresee the need for additional treatment.

While the procedure will prevent him from campaigning for about a month, he said he remains committed.

“I am determined to be the next mayor of Baltimore, a great city lacking only the right leadership,” he said. “I will be temporarily sidelined, but this will not keep me from working to be your next mayor. I share much with my beloved Baltimore in knowing that a momentary setback will not define who we are meant to be.”

Walden faces Democratic nominee Catherine Pugh in the Nov. 8 election.

mshapiro@midatlanticmedia.com

The Iran Deal’s Anniversary

In the run up to the July 14 first anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal, the pundits have provided mixed reviews. Those who were in favor of the deal cite Iran having apparently abided by the requirement to limit enrichment levels of uranium it processes, by cutting the number of its operating centrifuges in half and allowing outside monitors inside the country to verify compliance. These facts lead to the argument articulated last week by veteran U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross who wrote: “It is fair to say that the immediate nuclear threat has indeed been reduced.”

But those who opposed the deal point to the many unknowns in the Western world’s dealings with Iran — the lingering questions whether Iran is acquiring plutonium from the black market or producing it in undetected research facilities and the nagging concern over whether Iran will continue to abide by the agreement. These concerns are real, because the planned delay in Iran’s nuclear breakout until 2030 depends so heavily on Iran continuing to uphold its end of the deal.

And then there is the mixed news.  According to Ross, “recent reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency indicate that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA, but the level of information they provide is dramatically less than that found in previous IAEA reports on Iran’s nuclear program.” So we don’t really know.

Add to that concern over Iran’s continuing bad behavior. In March, for instance, Iran launched nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. The launch of the missiles, painted with inflammatory statements calling for Israel’s destruction, did not  violate the nuclear agreement, as some mistakenly claimed. But it did violate U.N. Security Resolution 2231, as a joint U.S., British, French and German letter noted “with concern that Iranian military leaders have reportedly claimed these missiles are designed to be a direct threat to Israel.” In response, the U.S. Treasury Department slapped sanctions on two Iranian groups involved in the country’s nuclear missile program.

In Congress, some lawmakers are looking to set conditions before Boeing can go ahead with a $17.6 billion deal to sell 80 passenger aircraft to Iran Air. The nuclear agreement allows the sale of “commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services to Iran.” But it prohibits their use “for purposes other than exclusively civil aviation.” Iran has a history of using commercial planes to support “hostile actors,” such as the Assad regime in Syria. So the questions being raised about the Boeing sale are not unfounded.

Going forward, what is needed is continuing vigilance over Iranian behavior, coupled with a credible deterrence against a nuclear breakout. While it is unquestionably good that the deal delays the day of reckoning, Iran remains Iran, and  international pressure and consequential sanctions must continue to send the clear message to Tehran that bad behavior and sponsorship of terrorism are not worth the price.

American Travelers Return Jewish Life to Secret Portuguese Shul

Tour group members gather for the start of Friday night services in the “hidden” shul, which was built in 1836. (Photo by Yvette Diamond)

Tour group members gather for the start of Friday night services in the “hidden” shul, which was built in 1836. (Photo by Yvette Diamond)

A small synagogue, unused since the 1960s and hidden in a house on an unassuming street in Ponta Delgada — an island town in the Portugal’s Azores islands — once again was filled with the sound of Shabbat prayers last month, thanks to 33 Jewish tourists led by a Pittsburgh-based travel company.

Malori Asman, owner of Amazing Journeys, which specializes in leading tours for Jewish singles, first heard about the Sahar Hassamain Synagogue from Cheryl Stern, a prospective client from the Boston area, inquiring about the company’s June 5-17 tour of mainland Portugal and the Madeira and Azores islands. Stern asked Asman if she planned to take her group to visit the recently refurbished synagogue on the island of São Miguel while there.

Stern told Asman that she had a “special connection to the Azores” because her father, Aaron Mittleman, who died last February, had been instrumental in securing the funds for the renovation and preservation of the shul, a project he had worked on for almost 30 years.

(Photo by Yvette Diamond)

(Photo by Yvette Diamond)

Mittleman, a resident of Fall River, Mass., had been in Ponta Delgada on a business trip in 1987 along with several colleagues, including Paula Raposa, who had grown up in that town before immigrating to Massachusetts in the 1960s. While having coffee in a café, the group was told of the hidden synagogue, which happened to be next door to Raposa, who is Catholic. She recalled that the group was able to obtain the key to the building that housed the 19th-century synagogue and take a look.

She was stunned, she said.

“I was born there, and my parents were born there,” Raposa explained. “No one knew about that synagogue. It was a secret.”

The Sahar Hassamain (Gates of Heaven) Synagogue, once home to a small but thriving Jewish community on the island, was in total disrepair, Raposa said, but she was touched by the beauty of the sanctuary, as well as its historical significance.

When she returned home to Massachusetts, she and Mittleman established a nonprofit to raise funds to refurbish the synagogue and turn it into a museum to honor the Jewish presence that was once so important to the island. After years of work and navigating administrative red tape, Raposa and Mittleman were able to secure a grant from European Union groups devoted to the preservation of historical monuments in the amount of 300,000 euros.

“The Jewish people who built that synagogue had a huge impact on business there,” Raposa said. “We felt it was important to preserve an important piece of history.”

The refurbished 67-seat sanctuary was rededicated on April 24, 2015 with a Shabbat service of 40 people, about half of them Jews. It was the first known Jewish service in the Azores in nearly 50 years, Fall River’s  Herald News reported at the time.

While the building has received more than 6,000 visitors to tour its museum of Jewish artifacts since the rededication, and the sanctuary has four Torahs in its ark, it is not used for services because there are no practicing Jews left on the island, according to Raposa. There are, however, many Crypto-Jews — those whose ancestors were forced to convert to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition — who maintain Jewish customs such as lighting candles on Friday nights, but often don’t know why.

When Asman heard about the synagogue from Stern, she put it on her group’s itinerary, and booked a tour of the museum. But after exploring the building, members of the group wanted to know if they could celebrate Shabbat there the next day.

(Photo by Yvette Diamond)

(Photo by Yvette Diamond)

At first, the administrator at Ponta Delgada’s city hall refused. But after much persistence, and the involvement of a state senator in Massachusetts and the town’s mayor’s office, the group got the green light to hold a service at Sahar Hassamain.

Asman picked up Portuguese sweet bread at a local market, bought some wine and, along with the Shabbat candlesticks with which she typically travels, set up a Kabbalat Shabbat service for her group.

“It was so touching,” Asman said. “This is a building that was built for prayer, and it had been so long since Jews occupied the area. It was so meaningful to fill the room with prayer, as it was intended.”

For traveler Yvette Diamond of Owings Mills, the service at Sahar Hassamain took on special significance because it came on the heels of a stop in Lisbon when the group heard of the tragic history of the Jews in Portugal who had fled Spain seeking refuge during the Inquisition. They were eventually forced to convert or had their children taken and sold to become slaves to the Portuguese.

“They hanged the men and raped the women,” Diamond said she learned. “And a lot of [the Jewish buildings] that used to be there were built on top of by the Catholic Church.

“We had just learned about all this, and then we went to the Azores, which are spectacularly beautiful,” Diamond continued. “We went to Ponta Delgada, and we went to this shul. It was so nondescript with no signage outside.”

The shul is housed in what was the home of a rabbi, built in 1836 and was concealed from the public. The building contains a mikvah, and the bimah is in the center of the sanctuary in typical Sephardic fashion, Diamond said.

“Being there was an amazing feeling for all of us,” she said. “One day we were bearing witness to the atrocities of Lisbon, and two days later we were in Azores and looking at this beautiful place.”

Heidie Rothschild of Alexandria, Va., agreed.

“For me, I’m not very much a practicing Jew, but to be there with the group and actually having the service in a shul that hadn’t been used in so long, it was just so beautiful,” Rothschild said. “It felt like a very nice way to return to Judaism. I thought it may be a call back; maybe I was there for a reason.”

Toby Tabachnick writes for The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. She can be reached at tobyt@thejewishchronicle.net.

America’s Realty Picks Up East County Property

A Pikesville-based commercial redevelopment firm purchased the North Point Mall in eastern Baltimore County near Dundalk earlier this month.

America’s Realty CEO Carl Verstandig said his company acquired the property, which includes a 95,000-square-foot Kmart and an adjacent 40,000 square feet of retail space, for $3.3 million.

“It’s a great location,” Verstandig said. “It’s just a rundown center.”

His company plans to completely redo the parking lot, install a new facade, new landscaping and new lighting.

America’s Realty recently completed $500,000 in improvements at Club Centre in Pikesville that included a new parking lot, lighting upgrades, new roofs and landscaping. That work was done over the past three months, Verstandig said.

The company also recently completed updates at 1709 Reisterstown Road that included a new parking lot, a new facade and new canopies. Last month also saw completed updates to the Fields building in Pikesville, which included new canopies, new paint and a retrofitted parking lot.

Verstandig, whose company buys distressed properties and renovates them and finds new tenants, is on target to buy 40 to 50 centers this year, about double what it usually acquires, he said.

“This year, there’s just been more opportunity that I’ve seen in 30 years,” he said. “The availability of product is like crazy.”

mshapiro@midatlanticmedia.com

After 66 Years, State Bridge Chief Calls It a Career

From left: Maryland Treasurer Nack K. Kopp. Earle Freedman, Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot at a ceremony on July 6, where Hogan presented Freedman with a commendation for his years of service. (Office of the Governor of Maryland)

From left: Maryland Treasurer Nack K. Kopp. Earle Freedman, Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot at a ceremony on July 6, where Hogan presented Freedman with a commendation for his years of service. (Office of the Governor of Maryland)

The state of Maryland’s bridge chief retired last week after a career spanning over six decades.

Earle S. “Jock” Freedman, 86, retired as the longest-serving employee of the state of Maryland after 66 years of service, all spent in the bridge department of the State Highway Administration.

On July 6, Gov. Larry Hogan honored Freedman for his “exemplary work ethic, leadership and extraordinary talent” and for his work on making Maryland’s bridge inspection program a national model, along with making headway on the governor’s goal to bring all of the state’s bridges up to standards.

Freedman grew up near Druid Hill Park and attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, where his father taught, before enrolling in Johns Hopkins University.

After graduating from Johns Hopkins in 1950, Freedman started looking for a job that might challenge his skills. He applied to Baltimore City and what was then called the State Roads Commission, now the State Highway Administration.

Baltimore City could not hire him because he was only 20 years old, he said, so he took a position as a junior bridge engineer with the organization that would employ him for the next 66 years. Freedman took over as the head of the bridge department in 1974 and served in that position until his retirement.

“When I first went to work there, there was no such thing as a computer,” he said. He brought the original slide rule that he first began working with back in 1950 to the ceremony.

You always got the impression that he cared for you more as a person than as an employee. — Maurice Agostino

He spoke about changes in the way the organization plans and designs bridges. He highlighted the fact that  environmental concerns with bridge projects have increased dramatically and that engineers must pay careful attention in their designs.

Additionally, Freedman noted that public involvement in bridge projects had increased, something that had been both frustrating and rewarding during his career. “There are things that when you go to a public meeting people bring up that you never realize,” he said. Especially for bridges, he added, the community has a better grasp of traffic and industry that might be affected.

“I really enjoyed the engineering portion of it, a lot of people do a job and never get to see the fruit of their labor,” Freedman said, referring to the fact that the products of his labor could be seen every day by motorists and pedestrians. However, it was never just about the job for him.

“In my office, I really believe that when I left, we were more of a family than we were just churning out work on a day-to-day basis,” Freedman said. He said that this attitude and community is what kept him with the state government for more than 60 years.

In terms of bridges he has worked on, Freedman says he is most proud of the Naval Academy Bridge over the Severn River in Annapolis. The bridge design came about as an engineering competition to find the best design for the area.

With these designs, Freedman and the State Highway Administration were able to come up with a bridge that was aesthetically pleasing and that satisfied the community. The Naval Academy Bridge and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac, which Freedman also worked on, won national prizes for bridge design in the years they were built.

Maurice Agostino, who worked with Freedman for 21 years, said that Freedman’s intellect and experience as an engineer made him a go-to when someone had a problem with a project and that he would frequently come up with a solution that might have escaped others.

However, it was never just about the job, Agostino said. “He’s created kind of a family atmosphere around here, more apt to ask how your wife’s doing, how your kids are doing, how your family is doing,” he said.

John Narer worked with Freedman for 34 years and remembers Freedman as an engineer who always looked for the best solutions in terms of economic impact and durability, but mostly what would best serve the taxpayers. “It was always important for him to do the right thing,” he said.

To that end, Narer said Freedman valued integrity from his co-workers and subordinates. “It was like having a parent, you never wanted to lie to him. He made that very clear to us, especially dealing with the public: Always do the right things. It may be the most difficult thing to do, but the right thing is the only thing to do.”

Among the accolades and the commendations in his Pikesville house, Freedman said he is specifically proud of one from Johns Hopkins University. The award from his alma mater is a special award for mentoring so many young engineers throughout his career.

Freedman spoke of how rewarding it was to see engineers that he had mentored in positions in other engineering firms and civic departments, and it was not a rare occurrence that one would drop by for advice or just to say hello.

“You always got the impression that he cared for you more as a person than as an employee,” Agostino said.

Adam Barry is an intern at the Baltimore Jewish Times.

CHAI to Manage Myerberg Center

CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, announced that it will oversee the management and operation of the Edward A. Myerberg Center, which began July 1.

This arrangement, approved by Myerberg’s board of directors, will enable CHAI to bring its extensive expertise in working with Northwest Baltimore’s aging population to the management of the Myerberg. CHAI owns and operates 16 Weinberg Senior Living facilities including Weinberg Woods, an active senior living community connected to Myerberg through a breezeway.

CHAI also offers programs that support aging-in-community such as Northwest Neighbors Connecting, a self-sustaining village of members and volunteers that provide everything from transportation to social activities to senior home repair and benefit coordination programs.

Siegel Elected to AAO Board

Dr. Steven M. Siegel, an orthodontist with offices in Glen Burnie and Reisterstown, has been elected by the Middle  Atlantic Society of Orthodontists as its representative on the board of trustees of the American Association of Orthodontists. Siegel was formally installed at the AAO’s recent 116th Annual Session in Orlando, Fla.

The AAO is the world’s oldest and largest dental specialty  organization with more than 18,000 members worldwide.

“It is a privilege and honor to represent my colleagues and the patients of the Middle  Atlantic Society of Orthodontists on the AAO’s board of trustees,” Siegel said in a news release. “The AAO plays a key role in assisting members as they navigate these changes, providing the support and resources they need as they continue the tradition of providing our patients with the highest possible quality of care now and in the future.”

An assistant clinical professor in the Department of  Orthodontics at the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery since 1989, Siegel also has been a member of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Cleft and Craniofacial Rehabilitation Team since 1990.