Out of the Woodwork

Schoolteacher Jerry Pepper never dreamed he would sell the lecterns known in the Orthodox Jewish world as shtenders as a side job. As the owner of Pepper’s Podiums, he started retailing solid wood products after meeting an Amish woodworker in Elkton, Ky. Inspired by his work, Pepper opened his own company five years ago in… Read More

A Taste of Honey

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The traditional Rosh Hashanah taste of apples dipped in honey, as well as the challah with honey (instead of salt) taken at meals through the end of Sukkot, invoke thoughts and prayers for a sweet New Year and for the months that follow. “The honey concept is interesting because it’s a contradiction,” observed Rochel Kaplan,… Read More

Dissecting High Holidays Sermons

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  Rabbis literally spend the entire year working on their High Holidays sermons. They keep files, takes notes, collect articles and think in-depth about what timeless topics will strike a chord with congregants. “A Shabbos sermon is usually one note,” said Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg of Beth Tfiloh Congregation. “A holiday sermon is more of a… Read More

Yom Kippur Without Fasting

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Each sect of Judaism has its own way of observing the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, but there is at least one custom observed across the board: fasting. As members of the Baltimore Jewish community spend the day in synagogue with empty stomachs beginning the night of Oct. 3, some observing the holiday won’t… Read More

Count Your Blessings

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Based on a verse in the Book of Deuteronomy, the Talmud declares that a Jew should recite 100 blessings a day to adhere to God’s ways and to serve Him. Fortunately, reciting the blessings for prayer and meals, each three times a day, easily achieves the required number. But it becomes a challenge if meals… Read More

High Holidays: Toddler Edition

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Coloring, crafting and shofar blowing? With Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur just around the corner, Jewish preschools are inviting the high holidays into their classrooms. From dipping apples in honey to learning where the horn for the shofar comes from, teachers in Baltimore are rolling the Jewish holidays into their curriculums. Enter Ilene Brooks’ classroom… Read More

Party Time

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Israel is turning 66, and you are invited to the party. From feasting on falafel to bopping to Israeli beats, Jewish organizations across the area want you to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day in style at Yom Ha’atzmaut events next week. Fells Point’s contemporary bar, Vale Tudo, will be decked out in blue and white on… Read More

Gluten-Free

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For the many members of the Jewish community who more or less avoid consuming chametz year-round, Passover brings welcome relief. “Passover is a big treat for everybody,” said Chana Fishkind, who, along with her two sons, maintains a gluten-free diet. Her husband, she said, just goes with the flow. Two years ago, Fishkind discovered that… Read More

Passover and Your Pooch

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It is common knowledge that the eating of chametz is forbidden on Passover, but what do you do when your cat has been eating cans of chicken and gravy all year? What about your hamster that loves his oat-based treats? Since Jewish law forbids even deriving benefit from chametz during Passover, your pet cannot consume… Read More

Confessions of a Chametz Buyer

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The prohibition against eating leavened bread containing wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye at Passover is well known. Some Ashkenazic authorities also prohibit the consumption of rice, millet, corn and legumes during the holiday, and most Jews make a point of cleaning their homes and cars, removing any crumbs that may have accumulated prior to… Read More