BHC Honored

Bonnie Heneson Communications, a full-service marketing communications firm, won a Gold 2016 Aster Award for a physicians’ directory that the agency created for Howard County General Hospital.

The Directory of Physicians is a publication distributed to Howard County residents that BHC writes, coordinates and designs listing nearly 800 physicians who practice at Howard County General Hospital.

The Aster Awards program recognizes health care marketing professionals across the nation. Competition criteria include creativity, layout and design, functionality, message effectiveness, production quality and overall appeal.

Gauging the Impact of BDS Is the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel succeeding?

In 2005, Palestinian nongovernmental organizations initiated the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to encourage businesses, universities and other global entities to pressure Israel into ending the occupation of the West Bank and Golan Heights, giving full equality to Palestinian citizens of Israel and recognizing the Palestinians’ right of return to land they had fled when Israel became a state.

In the United States, some college campuses have seen protests and student-backed resolutions calling for their schools to divest from companies that do business with Israel. An increasing number of state governments are combatting BDS and showing support for Israel through legislation.

So just how much support does BDS have and to what degree has it affected Israel?

Gauging the Impact of BDS

On Campus

On April 22, New York University’s graduate student union, a 600-member organization, voted to approve a measure urging the university to end its exchange program with Tel Aviv University and called on the United Auto Workers, its parent union, to divest from Israeli companies.

Four days later, NYU’s president, Andrew Hamilton, rejected the union’s proposal, stating that it would be “contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, antithetical to the free exchange of ideas.”

The same month, Vassar College students voted in a referendum to reject a resolution supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement after the student council had passed it.

These two recent incidents at NYU and Vassar help illustrate the dynamics of BDS on campus. Student-backed resolutions relating to at least one element of BDS have seen the light of day at 34 universities in the United States between 2013 and 2015, according to the ADL. Of these, 13 passed. Despite the activism at these universities, these numbers constitute just a fraction of the more than 4,500 institutions of higher learning in the United States.

Nevertheless, BDS on campus has caused alarm from the organized Jewish community. In spring 2015, Eric Fingerhut, CEO of Hillel International, the campus student organization, said the lives of American Jewish students and the integrity of the university were at stake.

“And so, some Hillel directors who might not have experienced it may find that they experience it in the future. And our job is to be proactive,” he said.

Fingerhut put in place a controversial set of guidelines about which positions on Israel are acceptable in the organization’s activities. Groups that advocate any form of BDS violate those guidelines.

Last summer, billionaire Sheldon Adelson raised $50 million to create an organization called Campus Maccabees to fight BDS. David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, was named to head the group. An associated Facebook Page called Maccabee Task Force has some 20,000 likes.

Economic Effects

Central to the BDS mission is to hit Israel economically and damage it so it will withdraw from the occupied territories. SodaStream, a do-it-yourself carbonated beverage company, was in the BDS spotlight for months after it opened a factory in the West Bank in 2014.

An interfaith coalition of organizations announced a boycott of SodaStream. The company eventually closed the plant and moved to a larger facility within Israel. More than 500 Palestinian jobs were lost in the process.

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said the move had nothing to do with BDS or politics. But BDS advocates declared victory upon hearing the news.

“SodaStream’s announcement today shows that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is increasingly capable of holding corporate criminals to account for their participation in Israeli apartheid and colonialism,” said Rafeef Ziadah, of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee.

But the SodaStream boycott appears to have done no long-term economic damage.

“The impact of BDS is more psychological than real so far and has had no discernible impact on Israeli trade or the broader economy,” Kristin Lindow of Moody’s Investor’s Service told Forbes. “That said, the sanctions do run the risk of hurting the Palestinian economy, which is much smaller and poorer than that of Israel, as seen in the case of SodaStream.”

If you boycott Israel, New York State will boycott you.
— New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo


Foreign investments in Israel now total $285 billion, three times what they were 11 years ago when BDS was launched, Israel Bonds chairman Izzy Tapoohi wrote in the Jerusalem Post on July 6.

That has not daunted Palestinian activist Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Munayyer said BDS is working even if the economic results are not apparent.

“It’s not just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s a matter of corporations that are profiteering off of a system of injustice,” he said. “When you have debates over whether or not to boycott or to divest in an institution or a church, that conversation is happening, and that conversation would not be happening if people were not using these [boycott] tactics.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netan- yahu last year launched a $25 million effort to combat BDS by monitoring the activities of pro-BDS organizations. The plan was not implemented due to infighting in the Israeli cabinet.

Isolating and Delegitimizing Israel

Opponents of the occupation want to distinguish Israeli products made in the West Bank and Golan from those made within the Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 border. BDS goes further. It wishes to stop the sale of Israeli goods from the territories and often from Israel itself.

In response, Israel supporters in this country have spearheaded anti-BDS legislation in U.S. states. Ten states passed laws in the last three years. Another 15, including Virginia, have them on their agendas.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) recently signed a bill into law that creates a blacklist of companies engaging in BDS tactics. “If you boycott Israel, New York State will boycott you,” he declared.

The Baltimore Jewish Council planned to pursue an anti-BDS bill in Maryland’s 2016 General Assembly session that would have prevented pension divestment to ensure that state pensions weren’t invested in companies that divested from Israel and changed the state’s procurement contract process so that companies who divest could not earn state contracts, similar to laws enacted in regard to Iran. When BJC officials researched both issues, they found that no companies had divested and decided not to pursue an anti-BDS bill, but they continue to monitor the issue in Maryland.

At the federal level, the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 30 passed the Combatting BDS Act of 2016. It would authorize state and local governments to divest funds from companies that engage in BDS activity that targets Israel.

Roz Rothstein, CEO of the conservative pro-Israel group StandWithUs, calls the legislation “victories against bigotry.”

BDS loses “as they play the game because they appear to be so extremist, and they’re losing because [U.S. governments] recognize that [BDS is] spreading bigotry,” she said.

Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, has proposed a litmus test for whether words or actions critical of Israel cross the line from anti-Israel to anti-Semitic.

Central to the BDS mission is to hit Israel economically and damage it so it will withdraw from the occupied territories. The support for BDS among young people can partially be attributed to the effectiveness of Palestinians in making their appeal similar to that of anti-Apartheid activists, said political analyst Peter Beinart.

He calls it the “Three D’s test”: delegitimization, demonization and double standard.

“We have to fight to convince others of why [BDS] is absolutely wrong,” Sharansky said. “And in this BDS movement, the most important thing is not to convince our enemies that they are wrong. We have to tell the Jews that they have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Marketing to Millennials

BDS also marks a generational divide that is highlighted in a study released in May by the Pew Research Center. It examined American attitudes toward foreign policy, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Pew found that 43 percent of millennials, people born after 1980, were likely to sympathize with Israel compared with more than 60 percent of people born before 1964.

Simply put, Israel is not the miracle for millennials that it is for their parents and grandparents. The BDS movement, with its argument on justice for the Palestinians, is tapping into the passions of the millennials.

“In my generation, Israel may have been the first driver of Jewish identity,” Jay Sanderson, president of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation, told Ha’aretz. “But it’s not going to be anymore in the same way. Israel’s too complicated. So our approach has to be to connect these students to Jewish life and then find a meaningful way to engage them with Israel.”

The growing support for BDS among young people can partially be attributed to the effectiveness of Palestinians in making their appeal in a similar way black South Africans did during the anti-Apartheid movement, said political analyst Peter Beinart.

“It makes sense that this is going to be strongest in the places where there is such strong political activism,” he said, noting that pro-BDS sentiments have taken root in particularly left-leaning areas of the United States such as New England and California.

Beinart, who opposes BDS, said that because the Israeli government is “erasing the Green Line” [with its settlements policy] and because there has been little progress in the Middle East peace process over the last 20 years, BDS has become an alternative for the Palestinians in achieving their goal of a state.

Rabbi Alana Suskin, director of strategic communications for Americans for Peace Now, a pro-Israel group that opposes the occupation, said younger people are becoming attracted to the BDS movement because they are more engaged with social media and have not had to deal with the levels of anti-Semitism their parents faced.

“Younger people have much broader connections,” she said. “They’re reading tweets from people all over the world. When they’re having revolutions in the Middle East, people can see it on Twitter. You’re looking at all of these things and you’re thinking, what can I do?”

BDS supporters only constitute a small percentage of Israel critics, said political theorist Michael Walzer. But if the movement continues, it could have negative long-term effects.

“We have to acknowledge that this is a political movement of some importance,” he said. “This is not a movement that can do serious damage to the State of Israel, and its importance often is exaggerated for political purposes on the right. But it could turn the next generation of the American foreign policy elite against Israel.”

Baltimore Man In Standoff Charged with Attempted Murder

Last week’s standoff closed Reisterstown Road from Seven Mile Lane to Labyrinth Road and some surrounding streets. (Adam Barry)

Last week’s standoff closed Reisterstown Road from Seven Mile Lane to Labyrinth Road and some surrounding streets. (Adam Barry)

A Baltimore man who shot at police during an eight-hour standoff was charged with first- and second-degree attempted murder in connection with the July 6 incident.

Robert Blake, 46, of the 6900 block of Reisterstown Road is also charged with first- and second-degree assault, discharging a firearm within city limits and possession of body armor, according to Det. Niki Fennoy, a Baltimore Police spokeswoman.

Blake remains in custody with no bail.

Officers from the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office arrived at Blake’s residence around 8:30 a.m. July 6 to serve a warrant and other paperwork, at which point the suspect refused to come outside and implied he had a weapon, according to police spokesman T.J. Smith.

Police blocked off Reisterstown Road from Seven Mile Lane to Labyrinth Road around that time, and SWAT officers were called in. Some nearby homes were evacuated as well.

Within the hour before the suspect’s arrest, which happened around 5 p.m., shots were fired at officers. No officers were injured, and the suspect was not harmed during the ordeal, Smith said.

Support was provided by Howard County and Baltimore County police and the Baltimore City Fire Department, and the MTA provided a bus for first responders and those who were evacuated from their homes to use as a cooling station, Smith said.

JCC Members Upset Over Pool Hours


Owings Mills JCC members are upset that they can’t use the large outdoor pool until 3 p.m. on weekdays. (Photo provided)

Members of the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC are peeved by the hours at the large family pool, which were adjusted to accommodate campers for the summer.

The pool is exclusively used by campers until 3 p.m., at which point it’s open to the public. JCC members, many of whom joined specifically to use the pool, say the new hours don’t work for them, and the other pools — an outdoor lap pool, an outdoor instructional pool, an outdoor kid pool and an indoor pool — don’t fit their needs and the needs of their families.

“I don’t think there was much thought put into how the whole community would be affected when the hours were revised,” said Dawn Barton, a mother of 10 and JCC member of two years. “Just like any change, all voices should be heard, especially when you are putting money into an organization.”

An online petition asking for a viable alternative has 198 signatures as of press time.

We’re fighting it because we like it here. — Ann Gorton, JCC member

The change in hours came in conjunction with the first summer of J Day Camp, the new camp on the Owings Mills JCC campus that started this summer with the termination of Camp Milldale as a separate entity. JCC members were informed of the change in hours in early May.

“Because it was a new program, we didn’t know until May what the final course of action would be with the pool hours,” said Barak Hermann, CEO of the JCC of Greater Baltimore. “We’re sincerely sorry for any inconvenience this change has caused our members. This is the first summer for our new J Day campers on our Owings Mills campus, and we’re constantly evaluating logistics.”

He said he’s aware that members are frustrated and disappointed and said he’s “sad that people are upset.” The pool being used exclusively by campers, as opposed to allowing campers and members both use the pool at the same time, was for safety reasons, Hermann said.

The family pool, the JCC’s large pool that has a splash pad, used to be open to the public at noon during the week. Its weekday hours are now 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Fridays. There are three other outdoor pools — a lap pool, a baby pool and an instructional pool — and an indoor lap pool with varying hours that are not affected by the camps. Members argue that those pools are not ideal for families to spend a day at the J.

“The J is claiming you can still go up there at noon [and use] the little instructional pool,” said Ann Gorton, a mother of two boys. “[There would be] kids jumping on top of each other and too many kids in that little pool.”

Her sons go to Camp Airy for the second session, and since she’s a teacher, during the first part of the summer she likes to spend the day at the pool with the family. Like other families, Gorton used the JCC pool as a family activity during the weeks kids aren’t at camp.

“Some of us do not have the extra money for camp all summer,” Elizabeth Gibard wrote in the petition’s comments section.

Several commenters say they may look for other pools next summer if these hours continue.

“We’re trying to tell Barak we’re fighting it because we like it here,” Gorton said. “We want to stay.”

Hermann said, “Because of the growing numbers, we [have to] make difficult decisions. … We’re constantly doing the best we can to serve the community and evolve.”

UPDATE: Swastikas in Bank Account Result of Faulty Browser Extension

On the left side accounts are listed, and on the right side are balances. The swastikas appear in a balance after a decimal and after the last two digits of the balance.

The swastikas appeared in a balance after a decimal and after the last two digits of the balance.

UPDATED 7/11/16 10:30 a.m.

The swastikas that appeared in a Baltimore resident’s Bank of America online banking records were the result of a faulty Google Chrome Extension.

Mark Goldberg, who discovered swastikas among one of his balances and in the online records of his partner, was using an extension called Nazi Detector, which is supposed to identify known white supremacists and their allies.

Extensions are software add-ons that change the functionality of the Chrome browser. Nazi Detector has two out of five stars in the Chrome Web Store, and the reviews section contains several comments from users who appear to be Nazi sympathizers.

Goldberg confirmed that the swastikas no longer appeared in his records after he removed the extension.

He first saw the swastikas Friday morning, and called Bank of America’s technical support, who he said was helpful, but hadn’t seen similar cases.


Elie Wiesel, Our Inspiration

Elie Wiesel (David Shankbone)

Elie Wiesel (David Shankbone)

We join in mourning the passing of Elie Wiesel, one of the most famous Holocaust survivors who died Saturday at the age of 87. Like many other heroic figures of the tumultuous last century, Wiesel transcended his earthly existence to become a symbol, an inspiration and an idea.

Through his storytelling and his writings, Wiesel was the world’s guide to the torment of the Holocaust experience. He emerged from the depths of hell to answer a calling to help transform humanity rather than to reject it. He also defined that calling for the rest of us and did so in the starkest of terms.

His words were memorable, his impact was significant, and his moral suasion was untouchable: “I belong to a people that speaks truth to power,” he publicly lectured President Ronald Reagan in 1985, when Reagan planned to visit a  German military cemetery containing graves of the Nazi SS. “Mr. President, your place is not that place. Your place is with the victims of the SS.”

Although Wiesel became one of the world’s best known Jews, he did not limit his efforts to issues of parochial Jewish concern. Having survived a genocide, he did not stay silent about others.

“Mr. President,” he said, this time to Bill Clinton in 1995 during the genocidal Bosnian war, “I must tell you something. I have been in the former  Yugoslavia last fall. I cannot sleep since what I have seen. … We must do something to stop the bloodshed in that country.”

Although Wiesel occasionally took political positions or made pronouncements with which some disagreed, those differences pale in comparison with the larger message of Wiesel’s public life and his  relentless effort to help mold a world that learns from its mistakes. On that issue, he once famously asked in a speech whether, when he left this physical world and was reunited with his father (whom he witnessed being murdered during the Holocaust), could he tell him that people had changed? Sadly, the answer is “no,” since we still live in a world where humans inflict unspeakable horror upon one another. Nonetheless, Wiesel provided a ray of hope.

He was the conscience that challenged the status quo. He was the voice that forced memory of evil but refused to accept it. And he was a man of deep and abiding faith.

In his Holocaust memoir “Night,” Wiesel famously wrote about a Jewish boy who was struggling between life and death, with a noose around his neck in the Kingdom of Night: “‘Where is God? Where is He?’ someone behind me asked,” Wiesel wrote. And then, “Where is God now?” To which an internal voice answered, “Here He is. He is hanging here on this gallows.”

Elie Wiesel taught us that God remains with us if we do not turn away.

Presbyterian General Assembly’s Shift Brings Mixed Reactions

Presbyterians are pushing back against the church group’s  anti-Zionist study guide.

Presbyterians are pushing back against the church group’s anti-Zionist study guide.

Jewish organizations praised the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America for moderating its stance highly critical of Israel.

The 222nd Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly, held in Portland, Ore., last month, passed a resolution in “opposition to any efforts to deny or undermine the rights of the Palestinian people or the Jewish people to self- determination.”

But overall, the American Jewish Committee and other Jewish groups that were present at the assembly opposed the resolution, “Israel-Palestine: For Human Values in the Absence of a Just Peace,” calling it anti-Israel. The resolution passed 429 to 129.

The resolution affirmed that the church “stands with the people of Israel, affirming their right to exist as a sovereign nation” as it does with the Palestinian people.

“Just two years ago a group chartered by the Presbyterian Church issued an anti-Zionist screed called ‘Zionism Unsettled,’” said Ethan Felson, executive director of  Israel Action Network. “This general assembly said they oppose any anti-Zionism. That’s a significant shift in two years.”

Charles Wiley, a church spokesman, said the assembly left the church’s policy on the two-state solution largely  unchanged and added that the church has “a long-standing commitment to affirm the two-state solution as a part of that self-determination for  Israelis and Palestinians.

“There was research and  reflection on what the current possibilities were for two states, but there was no change in our general policy,” Wiley said. That policy “is an affirmation for Israelis and Palestinians to live in peaceful self-determination and for oppressive practices on all sides to stop.”

Jewish groups condemned a four-minute video, “Wala,” shown at the assembly, The  Israel Action Network and the Anti-Defamation League said the video, by Palestinian American poet Susan Abulhawa, was “egregious” for its comparison of Israel’s Palestinian checkpoints with the Nazi cattle cars that carried Jews to concentration camps during World War II.

“We would hope that church leaders might have recognized what a profound  offense this

was, not just to Jews, but to everyone,” the Israel Action Network said in a statement. “Gratefully, a majority of the commissioners did realize how offensive it  was and voted down a boycott resolution to which the video was directed.”

Wiley said the video was shown in support of a resolution to boycott Hewlett-Packard products. The action failed in plenary by a vote of 483 to 72.

“Advocates are free to advocate for their issue however they choose, within their time limits,” he said.

Other resolutions included a call for a “prayerful study” of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. It was amended to include a study of the opposition to BDS.

Another resolution urged the realty company RE/MAX to stop its sales of property within Jewish settlements. Supporters of the resolution reportedly said they received a letter from RE/MAX CEO Dave Liniger before the general assembly, stating that the company “will no longer receive any income from the sale of Jewish settlement properties in the West Bank,” according to JTA.

Attempts at Full Israeli-Palestinian Peace Only Exacerbate the Conflict, Says Analyst

Yossi Alpher, in his new book “No End of Conflict: Rethinking Israel-Palestine,” argues that peacemakers must separate “pre-1967” and “post-’67” issues. (Photo courtesy Americans for Peace Now)

Yossi Alpher, in his new book “No End of Conflict: Rethinking Israel-Palestine,” argues that peacemakers must separate “pre-1967” and “post-’67” issues. (Photo courtesy Americans for Peace Now)

Prospects seem so poor for Israeli-Palestinian peace that even some longtime advocates of a two-state solution have begun arguing for new  approaches to preserve Israel’s Jewish and democratic character.

“We’re on a slippery slope, on both sides, to something very ugly,” veteran Israeli security analyst Yossi Alpher said over coffee at Kramer Books in Washington’s Dupont Circle last month.

Alpher, a former Mossad  officer and former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, said that neither Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has the political strength or personal desire to reach an agreement to establish a Palestinian state alongside  Israel and end the conflict  between the two peoples. Well-meaning attempts, such as Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2014 peace push, can only fail under the circumstances and leave the region worse off.

World leaders are making a mistake by trying to build agreements on the model of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which sought to end every aspect of the conflict at once, Alpher said. “My argument is, 25 years after Oslo, it’s fair to suggest that whoever wants to deal with the issue should stop and say, ‘We tried this at the highest level, and we failed.’ If you try again based on all the same rules, you’re going to make things worse.”

We’re on a slippery slope,  on both sides, to something very ugly.” — Israeli security analyst Yossi Alpher


Alpher, a Washington, D.C., native who has lived in Israel since 1964, is often associated with Israel’s peace movement. He writes a weekly analysis column for Americans for Peace Now and co-edited Bitter Lemons, an online dialogue with Palestinian academic Ghassan Khatib.

But Alpher said that he is an independent analyst, not an ideologue. He was back in Washington to speak about his new book, “No End of Conflict: Rethinking Israel-Palestine,” whose policy prescriptions seek to slow down — not transform — the ride to a  binational Israel in constant conflict with its Palestinian  inhabitants.

“I used to be optimistic. Then I became realistic. I am so concerned about the future that I have written this book,” he writes.

The flaw inherent in all peace attempts, including the 2008 effort between Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, where the two parties came closest to agreement,  is between what Alpher calls “pre-1967” and “post-’67” issues.

The post-’67 issues — borders, security arrangements, land swaps — are relatively simple to agree on. But the pre-’67  issues, which arose from  Israel’s creation, are “narrative issues” upon which both the Israeli and the Palestinian  national identities are founded: Jerusalem and the holy places and Palestinian refugees. Agreements repeatedly founder on these issues, Alpher said.

One lesson from Kerry’s failed peacemaking effort, Alpher said, is that the two sets of issues should be separated, and the narrative issues should be set aside. “Talk about the nuts and bolts of a two-state solution, not about the end of the conflict.”

Alpher views Israel’s settlement and West Bank policies over 50 years almost like a Greek tragedy. They “add up to a strategic mistake worthy of being listed in Barbara Tuchman’s 1984 ‘March of Folly’ alongside the Trojan War and the U.S. War in Vietnam,” he writes.

“The existential threat to  Israel is from within,” he said, “as a democratic, Jewish, Zionist state. And this is our doing. And in this sense it’s a strategic mistake. The recognition [in 1967] should have been: Get out.”

In the book, he offers five possible scenarios for the future: The Arab world contributes to Israel’s continued military-strategic strength despite the continuing Palestinian problem; things become so bad that Israelis decide unilaterally to give up the West Bank; the Palestinians revolt against Israel’s presence in land they claim for a future state; or the Palestinians give up their struggle for independence.

Alpher said the more likely scenario is “muddling through.”

Nevertheless, he said, “we’re in a revolutionary era in the region, which is why you can’t truly predict the future.”

What if Gaza runs out of water in two years, he asked, as the United Nations predicts? “What effect does that have? Or if [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan makes an agreement with Israel and  becomes a patron of Gaza. What effect will that have?” Or what if Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi deputy crown prince and rising star, announces he will come to Jerusalem “and offer Israel peace and normalization ‘if you and the Palestinians do A, B, C and D.’ What effect would this have on Israeli public opinion?”

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat did make such a groundbreaking gesture in 1977, Alpher noted. But that was only after the trauma of the Yom Kippur War. That’s a high price to pay for fundamental change.

Pikesville Run, Walk Is a Winner for Cancer Patients

Runners and walkers of all ages line up at last year’s event. (provided)

Runners and walkers of all ages line up at last year’s event. (provided)

More than 1,000 Marylanders will gather at Woodholme Center on July 10 for the Miles That Matter Pikesville 5K run and walk benefiting the Ulman Cancer Fund and the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce.

“Supporting young adults and their loved ones impacted by cancer is the core of our mission, and we’re so excited to continue to bring people  together in the young adult cancer fight through the Pikesville 5K,” said Brock Yetso, president and CEO of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. “We invite the community to join us again for this special event, which also supports the chamber’s efforts to make Pikesville a destination where people want to live, work and shop.”

The event, which was started 16 years ago, is chaired by longtime volunteer Mark Sapperstein, owner of 28 Walker Development who lost his mother and mother-in-law to cancer. It  has benefited cancer-related  organizations for the past four years.


It benefits people  like me who need the services Ulman is providing, which are so important and so special.” — Alex Feinberg, cancer survivor


“The 5K is a way for us to bring the community together for a good cause and at the same time to have fun,” said Jessica Normington, executive director of the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce.

One of this year’s runners  is 29-year-old Owings Mills native Alex Feinberg. He was diagnosed in 2014 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes, which are a part of the body’s immune system, according to the American Cancer Society.

Feinberg considers himself fairly lucky, saying he had “as great of an experience as you can ask for in such an unfortunate situation.” He was treated at John Hopkins Hospital with six chemotherapy treatments and two months of radiation and praised Ulman for assisting him and his family throughout the process. Today, he is cancer-free, and participating in the 5K means the world to him.

“It benefits people like me who need the services Ulman is providing, which are so  important and so special,” said Feinberg. “They are changing peoples’ lives by providing support to young adults like myself and their caregivers wherever needed.”

Ulman, which was founded 19 years ago in Howard County by Doug Ulman, also organizes a free 12-week training program called Cancer to 5K, which Feinberg participated in. The program reintroduces cancer survivors to physical  activity with professional training and coaches and the encouragement necessary to complete the race, regardless of a participant’s age, cancer status or fitness level.

This year’s race will feature music by CK Productions, a moon bounce, face painting and prize drawings for certificates and sports equipment. Monetary prizes and gift certificates will be awarded to the overall first-, second- and third-place finishers in both a men and women’s division. Additional trophies will be awarded to the top finishers in the various age groups.

Following the race, a hot breakfast will be served by several vendors including Classic Catering, Suburban House, Lenny’s Deli, Giant, Starbucks and Target.


Miles That Matter Pikesville 5K run and walk
July 10
Woodholme Center 1829 Reisterstown Road
Registration is $35 through July 9; $40 on race day.
To register or for  more information, visit, call  410-484-2337 or email

Red Goji Brings New Kosher Asian Cuisine

Red Goji Restaurant interior (Photo provided)

Red Goji Restaurant interior (Photo provided)

Baltimore lost a staple restaurant in the kosher community after Umami closed its doors amid confusion and contradictory announcements last year. Now, a new Asian kitchen has stepped up to fill the void.

Red Goji opened quietly, less a year ago. Initially, it was owned by two Japanese men and served Asian food that was not kosher. In an area that is so predominantly Jewish, the loss of kashrut in the shift from Umami to Red Goji significantly affected the restaurant’s business, particularly being next door to Goldberg’s Bagels. The new manager, John Luen, speculates that a lack of business caused the original owners of Red Goji to skip town.

Following their untimely exit, Luen took over the restaurant and has just recently completed his reinvention of Red Goji, which has been certified kosher and serves a broad selection of Asian cuisine.

Although the new restaurant is in Umami’s old location, the two eateries are entirely unrelated. Luen got the idea from a friend who runs a similar operation.

“I have some friends in Brooklyn [N.Y.], and they’re doing a kosher Asian restaurant as well,” he said. “I said, ‘In this area, it could be doing pretty well.’”

“I know in this neighborhood, a lot of people keep kosher,” Luen added. “There are good people and it is good marketing.” Laughing, he added that “being kosher will bring me more holidays. At my age, I can’t work like a young guy seven days a week.” However, Luen did put a considerable amount of effort into assembling the menu and sought out harder-to-find items such as panko radish.

Luen’s aim is to integrate traditional Asian cuisine with kosher cooking. “A lot of things we do, somebody doesn’t have it, but we bring it in — like squash for the sushi, even some tempura. We do seared tuna and some nice things in the kitchen. We have the summer roll. … We use rice paper to wrap chicken and lettuce with rice noodles all together, served cold. A lot of people enjoy it.”

Red Goji received its kosher certification through Star-K.

“There are a lot of steps. All the china and plastic had to go. We had to buy a lot of new equipment — cutting boards, knives and everything. We don’t have dairy here, only meat, fish and vege-tables,” Luen said. “They sent a representative to cauterize everything. Some things they put in an oven, some they put in boiling water, to clean out the kitchen, every single detail like new.”

Locals have reacted to Red Goji becoming kosher with delight. Customer Phil Rosenfeld claimed that “Baltimore cannot have enough kosher restaurants.”

Red Goji officially opened as a kosher-certified restaurant on June 21. It is located at 1500 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville.