Pay to Pray?

When I was a kid attending services at Temple Emanuel, I was fascinated by the concept of synagogues charging money for High Holiday services. A synagogue selling tickets to pray? Even members had to pay? I couldn’t wrap my head around it at the time. To be honest, it didn’t feel quite right to me…. Read More

Creating a Festive Table

Food is always my focus when it comes to planning a get-together, and the holidays amplify that emphasis. I devote my energy to the menu — procuring the proper ingredients, assembling the right assortment of flavors, textures and colors, ensuring that the dishes reflect tradition but also offer interesting twists on the classics. This a… Read More

High Holiday Tickets Are Serious Business for Synagogues, Congregants

There’s an old joke about a boy who shows up at a synagogue on Yom Kippur. The usher tells him he can’t come in without a ticket. “But I’m not staying. I just need to talk to my mother,” the boy pleads. “Well, all right,” the usher says. “But if I catch you praying, I’m… Read More

Security a Top Priority during High Holidays

After a year of high-profile anti-Semitic incidents, including a rash of bomb threats, local officials are planning to beef up security this year for the High Holidays. There are no specific threats ahead of Rosh Hashanah, which begins the evening of Sept. 20 and continues through Sept. 22, but both Baltimore City and County police… Read More

The Mitzvah of Shofar Blowing Is a Learned Discipline

Perhaps two of the most rewarding mitzvahs each year occur during a series of loud howls and screeches. Now if this is your first Elul, you couldn’t be blamed for confusing the aforementioned sound with the honking of a trumpeter swan or the cry of an elephant. The loud and shrill yet beautiful tone of… Read More

High Holiday Celebrations Include More Than Religious Services

As synagogues throughout the community get ready for High Holiday services, dinners, special music programs and guest cantors, a number of nonreligious High Holiday events are popping up around the metro area designed to relate to and enhance the meaning of the Jewish New Year and season of atonement. Baltimore’s Jewish Volunteer Connection partners with… Read More

Social Justice Seder Addresses Police Accountability

Jews United for Justice (JUFJ), a grassroots organization that pursues justice and equality through a Jewish lens, uses the story of Passover to focus on a key Baltimore issue — police accountability The organization’s social justice seder, held April 2 at Bolton Street Synagogue, included a revised haggadah for the theme and was attended by… Read More

Rabbis Riff on Passover Six rabbis talk about the modern-day meaning of the holiday

Every year on Passover, Jewish communities the world over read from the Haggadah to hear the story of the Jewish people’s enslavement and to celebrate our liberation. The story doesn’t change year to year, but as local rabbis explained to the JT, its deep meaning is multifaceted, and the Passover story continues to have essential… Read More

Same Seder, Different ‘Dayenu’

The ancient division of Jewry into Sephardim and Ashkenazim originally was a geographic division: “Ashkenaz” is Hebrew for “German”; “Sepharad” translates as “Spain.” Today, a number of differences between Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews still exist in practice, despite geography no longer being a factor, as the communities live side by side in Baltimore. The JT… Read More

Seders for Seniors

Post retirement, it is important for people to stay engaged with activities and organizations. Even those who are unable to live independently still want to celebrate milestones and holidays, including Passover. And with Passover fast approaching, area senior living facilities with Jewish populations are preparing for the holiday. Sherrie Polsky, director of community life at… Read More