Baltimore County Urged to Close Schools on High Holidays at Hearing

The Baltimore County school board heard passionate testimony on Tuesday in Towson over whether schools should open on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur next year. The school board calendar committee is recommending the move, which is also under consideration by other schools systems around the state. A vote is expected to take place during the… Read More

SUKKAH BUILDING

The day after breaking the Yom Kippur fast, members of Beth Israel Congregation gathered to build a sukkah just outside the entrance to the Owings Mills synagogue. The shul’s Hebrew schoolers spent the morning of Oct. 1 channeling their creative side to make decorations, including colorful paper chains that were hung within the temporary dwelling.

High Holidays on Chopping Block for Baltimore County Schools

Baltimore County may keep schools open during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in 2018. The school board’s calendar committee, which is tasked with making recommendations to the superintendent, is considering the elimination of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as days off from the 2018-19 school year calendar, according to a letter the Baltimore Jewish Council… Read More

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

Fasting: What to Do, What Not to Do and When to Ask for Help

At sundown on Friday, Sept. 29, Jews across the Baltimore-metro region and the Diaspora will begin a day-long fast as part of observing Yom Kippur. But what are the best ways to prepare, the best ways to break the fast on Saturday night, and when should a rabbi be consulted about how to fast while… Read More

True Repentance

We have seen many examples this year of confession, vows and promises made in public.  Sports figures, politicians, entertainers. Anthony Weiner, Bob Filner, Paula Deen and Ryan Braun — just a few among the many who come to mind for their acknowledgments of wrongdoing this past year. The majority fall short from the perspective of… Read More

At Yom Kippur, A Heads-Up On Chest Thumping

On Yom Kippur, when we beat our chests during the confession, maybe we should be knocking instead on our heads. After all, isn’t that where all the trouble starts? On this most physically demanding of Jewish days, Jewish tradition has us beat the heart side of our chests, as if to say this is the… Read More

What Is Jewish Unity?

This year, the Torah portions Nitzavim and Vayelech were read together on Aug. 30. However, Nitzavim is considered to be related to Rosh Hashanah and Vayelech to Yom Kippur. Both parshiot have similar messages — they speak about Jewish unity. According to Torah commentators, on Rosh Hashanah (in Nitzavim), the Jewish unity referred to is… Read More

The Challenge of Being One

There are approximately 14 million Jews in this world, among whom about one million consider themselves Chasidic. The Chasidim are separated into 30 different sects, or dynasties. Three of the most significant dynasties — Satmer, Bobov and Vizhnitz — are split in half. Each one is divided within a family, whose leaders are either brothers… Read More

Uncompromised Commitment

To grasp the Orthodox perspective on Jewish unity requires an appreciation of two fundamental Orthodox beliefs, one of which challenges our religious unity, the other of which strengthens our national unity. 1. “I believe with a complete belief in the divinity and the immutability of the Torah.” This is a fundamental religious assumption of Orthodox… Read More