Giving, Now and Then

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The Shofar has sounded, the ark is closed and our names have been inscribed in the book of life for another year. None of that, however, means we no longer have an obligation to perform tzedakah or to do what we know is right until next year’s holidays.

To that end, our cover story focuses on the work that local Jewish organizations are doing to better the lives of others. Rachel Kohn and Carolyn Conte interviewed Marc Terrill, president of The Associated, and Jonathan Schilit, the creator of Righteous Crowd, on what their organizations have done and are doing to extend a hand to our community, and how you can get involved.

Continuing with the theme of giving and charity, Ronald McDonald House Charities Maryland, in partnership with Chai Lifelines, recently opened its first ever kosher food pantry. The new Ronald McDonald House in East Baltimore features a kosher kitchen, shelves stocked with kosher food, playrooms for children and a temporary home for families in need.

In addition to acknowledging acts of kindness in the present, we must also remember those done in the past. Last week saw the dedication of a new memorial for Thomas Kennedy, a 19th-century Maryland legislator who fought for the rights of Jews to hold public office. To learn more about his contributions, read Carolyn Conte’s article on his fight for Jewish equality.

While some fight on a political battlefield, others fight more literally. In our Arts & Life section, we examine the struggle of anti-Nazi fighter Hannah Senesh during World War II, and the 30-by-40-foot mural created in her honor by Julie Robertson. A Christian Japanese-American artist, Robertson was deeply moved by Senesh’s story, inspiring her create the enormous mural dedicated to her life and struggle against the forces of fascism and anti-Semitism.

Sadly, it is a struggle that endures to this day. On Oct. 9 in the German city of Halle, a gunman opened fire near a synagogue during Yom Kippur services, killing two. Reported to have made anti-Semitic statements, the suspect is alleged to have planned a “massacre” at the synagogue. Thankfully, the suspect was not able to carry out the alleged plot in full, sparing countless lives.

If you are interested in contributing to future issues of the JT, or would like to speak your mind in our Voices section, we would love to hear from you. Shabbat Shalom.

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