High Holiday ‘Miracle’ 15 years ago, through tragedy, one man’s devotion to Judaism renewed

Fifteen years ago, Frank Levy rushed to George Runkles’ hospital room, bracing himself for the inevitable. But he wasn’t ready to say goodbye just yet. Levy, 89, of Parkville, who is widowed and has one daughter of his own, Deborah Lynn, considered Runkles a son. He took him in as a troubled teenager and raised… Read More

For CrossFit Cantor, It’s All About Discipline

The sun has barely crept over the horizon when Rhoda Harrison leaves her Mount Washington home for a fitness center tucked into the outskirts of Baltimore City. For nearly a year, the ordained rabbi and cantor has exercised religiously at Nevermore CrossFit, one of the approximately 80 CrossFit facilities in the Maryland area. Harrison, 51,… Read More

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

Have a Very Veggie Holiday

Here’s a tricky one: If a vegan were to garnish his or her “nonmeat meat” product (say, a tofu dog) with nondairy cheese, would the culinary combination prove to be a violation of kosher law? “Our goal is not to go around rules like that,” said Debra Wasserman, who is the co-director and co-founder of… Read More