Local News

Baltimore Gets a Glimpse of Obama

2014-09-12 19:34:07 mshapiro
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(Photo by Marc Shapiro)

More than 200 people lined the streets of northwest Baltimore Friday afternoon in the hopes of catching a glimpse of President Barack Obama on his way to a fundraising dinner for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Yosef Wiener and his wife left their Shabbot meal cooking to walk about a half mile from their home to the corner of Green Meadow Parkway and Edenvale Road to show their young children the presidential motorcade. They had heard about the president’s visit through word-of-mouth and thought it might be a good learning opportunity for their kids, who stood on the curb waving American flags as they waited.

Friends Zacharya Volosov, Chaim Lejtman and Shuli Katz took the advantage of the downtime between dismissal at Talmudical Academy and the start of Shabbat to try to see the president in their neighborhood. The visit was the talk of the school all week, they said, and it had become a kind of game to guess where the president’s helicopter would land in the area.

While the majority of the people gathered had come to watch the black limousines make their way through the Cheswolde streets, some had come to send a message to the country’s highest executive.

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(Photo by Marc Shapiro)

“Justice Delayed is Justice Denied,” read one sign held by an attendee with the CASA de Maryland group that had arrived to protest the president’s recent decision to delay any immigration reform.

“Stop Terrorism, Support Israel,” read another sign on the opposite side of the street.

“The Jewish community needs to realize that Democrats are not their friends,” said Ruth Goetz, who brought signs with her for people to borrow protesting the Obama administration’s policies on Israel.

The president landed in Port Covington just before 4 p.m. and headed straight to FortMcHenry, where he, along with Gov. Martin O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin; Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger, Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake viewed the original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner.

The dinner was hosted by former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) president Howard Friedman, along with Josh Fidler, an area developer who hosted another fundraiser attended by Obama in 2012. Tickets to the event cost between $10,000 and $32,400 and featured a 10-minute sppech by Obama concerning some of the most high-profile issues of the day followed by questions from dinner attendees.

“And if you want to know why we’re here today, it’s because having a strong Democratic Senate allows us to continue to pursue a vision of an inclusive, progressive, economic agenda that is going to continue to give more and more people the chance to pursue the American Dream in the way that I have and Howard has, and so many people around this room have,” Obama told guests. The president also took questions after his speech.

In addition to the Senate, the president spoke about international conflicts, including Ukraine and ISIS.

“I made a speech this week discussing what is the most prominent threat that we face in the Middle East when it comes to terrorism, and that is the organization ISIL, that has not only taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria but displayed the kind of brutality that even by the standards of terrorists is extraordinary,” Obama said. “And I am very confident that with an Iraqi government in place that is committed to the kind of inclusive government that is needed there and sadly has not been there for some time, and the kind of coalition that we’re putting together internationally, and most importantly, the incredible courage and dedication and skills of our men and women in uniform, we’re going to be able to push them back and ultimately destroy them.”

Baltimore Jewish Times reporter Marc Shapiro contributed to this report.

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Neighbors, Secret Service Prepare for Obama

2014-09-12 12:33:06 mshapiro
AFP PHOTO/ MICHAEL REYNOLDS - POOLMICHAEL REYNOLDS/AFP/Newscom

AFP PHOTO/ MICHAEL REYNOLDS – POOLMICHAEL REYNOLDS/AFP/Newscom

Residents of Green Meadow Way in northwest Baltimore may get a glimpse of President Barack Obama Friday afternoon as he heads to a fundraiser at the home of Howard Friedman.

“The secret service, or people who look like secret service, have been here since Sunday,” said Josh Hurewitz. “They’ve been driving back and forth.” He thought they did a test-run of the motorcade in the early morning hours once this week.

Green Meadow Way resident Sandra Glazer said the road was supposed to close around 1 p.m., and only people who lived on the street would be allowed to come and go. They’d have to show identification to get back home if they left, she said.

Hurewitz said all the neighbors have received notices about how the day was going to go. Residents were told to move cars off the street and into driveways or garages.

Although people are a bit upset the president’s appearance is so close to Shabbat, Hurewitz said people plan to watch the motorcade.

“Everyone’s getting excited,” he said. “Everyone wants to get a spot on the block if they can.”

According to an invitation obtained by jpupdates.com, the president will attend a reception and dinner at the home of Howard Friedman, along with U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland. The event is a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to the invite.

A group calling itself Citizens of Pikesville plans to protest near the site of the reception. A press release from the group said it is a group of neighbors who support Israel’s right to defend itself.

“President Obama has not supported Israel. He halted flights out of the United States for 2 days this summer,” the release said. “President Obama halted Hellfire missiles to Israel. He appealed Israel to a building freeze. We want Obama to release Jonathan Pollard.”

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Obama Coming to Northwest Baltimore, Protest Planned

2014-09-11 17:20:48 mshapiro
AFP PHOTO/ MICHAEL REYNOLDS - POOLMICHAEL REYNOLDS/AFP/Newscom

AFP PHOTO/ MICHAEL REYNOLDS – POOLMICHAEL REYNOLDS/AFP/Newscom

President Barack Obama will be in Baltimore on Friday, Sept. 12. According to an invitation obtained by jpupdates.com, the president will attend a reception and dinner at the home of Howard Friedman, along with U.S. Senators Michael Bennet, Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin. The event is a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to the invite.

A group calling itself Citizens of Pikesville plans to protest near the site of the reception. A press release from the group said it is a group of neighbors who support Israel’s right to defend itself.

“President Obama has not supported Israel. He halted flights out of the United States for 2 days this summer,” the release said. “President Obama halted Hellfire missiles to Israel. He appealed Israel to a building freeze. We want Obama to release Jonathan Pollard.”

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Following Through

2014-09-11 12:08:40 ebrown
Barbara Bloom keeps newspaper clippings about her late husband’s work nearby at all times. (Heather Norris)

Barbara Bloom keeps newspaper clippings about her late husband’s work nearby at all times. (Heather Norris)

During Leonard Bloom’s life, he helped hundreds, maybe thousands of inventors successfully launch their creations. Now, in his death, his wife has taken on his mission.

“I’m just trying to complete what he started,” said Barbara Bloom, Leonard’s wife of more than 44 years. “It helps a lot.”

Growing up, Leonard was fascinated with adventurers and inventors. After receiving his degree in engineering from Johns Hopkins University and working for a time at Westinghouse as a patent engineer, he received his law degree from the University of Maryland and entered the field of patent law.

For years, Leonard worked at Black & Decker, handling corporate patents before beginning his own private firm with a few other lawyers in Towson.

Although Leonard was working at a time when thorough explanations and drawings were enough to file for a patent, he was fascinated by the history of invention. When he heard about an auction selling several prototypes submitted with patent applications in the 19th century, he bought them without hesitation, said his wife.

Leonard beat out all other bidders to secure seven original tool prototypes, including a rotary engine from 1879, a rug cleaner from 1860 and a bolt cutter from 1871. He displayed the relics in his office for years before moving them to his home office when he formally retired, but Barbara said he had always had plans to donate them to the National Inventors Hall of Fame. On Sept. 7, Barbara followed through with his wish when officials at the museum officially accepted the donation during a ceremony celebrating the gift.

The antiques have been valued at thousands of dollars, but Barbara said she wanted to make sure such unique pieces of history were accessible to future generations of inventors and patent professionals to inspire them in their own work.

“This is part of history,” said Barbara.

For Leonard’s own part, his work on negotiating the patent on the Black & Decker workbench was one project in which he took special pride, as was an improved defibrillator. In the early 1990s, the Jewish Times ran an article about Leonard that featured another one of his projects: a feminine hygiene product that helped a Baltimore housewife pay off her debt, buy a home and send her children to college.

“He didn’t just work with big corporations,” said Barbara. “He also took ideas from regular people.”

Even in retirement, he consulted with some clients on securing patents and trademarks. He found it hard to just simply quit a field that had been his life for so long, said Barbara. And now, in the months since his passing, she has found that carrying on some of his work herself has become its own form of therapy.

“I’m trying to carry through everything that he was working on,” said Barbara, who also keeps up on some of the inventors Leonard had worked with and is given regular updates on the progress of some of the inventions her husband had had an interest in. “I want to follow through so that that time wasn’t wasted.

“That’s what keeps me going,” she added, “completing what he started.”

hnorris@jewishtimes.com

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Breaking Barriers

2014-09-11 12:03:44 ebrown
(Provided)

(Provided)

With the recent Ferguson, Mo., shooting fresh in everyone’s minds, children from Baltimore’s Jewish and African-American communities have detailed their own struggles with race relations — back in 2010, a highly-publicized altercation took place between an African-American teenager and two Jewish men in northern Park Heights — as part of a traveling photo exhibition in City Hall.

City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young unveiled the exhibit on Sept. 3, inviting more than a dozen girls between the ages of 10 and 14 for an event honoring their Girl’s Photography Project.

“This project is a way to foster a better Baltimore community and introduce girls to their not-so-different neighbors,” said Young. “After the 2010 incident, we wanted to create a positive spin on a negative situation.”

Hosted by Damion Cooper, director of the city’s Office of Neighborhood Relations, the Wednesday event celebrated the girl’s efforts with keynote speakers, a kosher reception and a certificate presentation by Young. Speakers included Community Conversations co-chairs Phyllis Ajayi and Nathan Willner, Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc. (CHAI) executive director Mitchell Posner, Wide Angle Youth Media executive director Susan Malone, and program participants Aiyanah Muhammed and Daniella Friedman.

“I am thrilled that City Hall hosted us for the event,” said Ajayi. “The Girl’s Photography Project physically shows diversity in the eyes of our kids. Both sides saw that what they ultimately wanted out of life was the same. The only difference is the color of their skin.”

As an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, the CHAI program helps fund, staff and manage the Community Conversations series. By bringing youths together through art projects, Posner believes that positive integration is the best way to build a better Baltimore.

“There is no secret formula to building a stronger Baltimore community,” said Posner. “However, we are giving our kids the education they need by introducing them to each other at an early age. Starting with our youth, we are building the people of tomorrow.”

Through Wide Angle Youth Media, the girls began the program in late January and took a five-week long photography course. While many of the girls were skeptical at first, they ended up forming lasting bonds with their Park Heights neighbors.

Encouraged by her grandfather to enroll, African-American participant Muhammad nervously joined in the program. After the 2010 dispute, she feared she would not find common ground with her Jewish counterparts. Within the first session, her reservations melted away.

“Because of prior experiences in my neighborhood, I didn’t expect the Jewish girls to be as nice as they are,” said Muhammad. “I made a lot of Jewish friends, and I have a new view of my Jewish neighbors. Our friendships have continued even past the program.”

Due to the success of the Girls’ Photography Project, similar programs are currently being designed. The Community Conversations series is hoping to create a comparable project between African-American and Orthodox Jewish boys in the future. As more programming continues, Young believes that Baltimore will become a more unified community.

“America is a melting pot, and we are all one people. This project gave the girls a chance to see that,” said Young. “By building positive relations and forming bonds now, events like the Ferguson shooting hopefully won’t happen here. We are setting up Baltimore for success.”

afreedman@jewishtimes.com

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