The historic building housing B’nai Israel: The Downtown Synagogue may be old, but the congregation inside approaches Judaism through a contemporary lens. Located minutes from the Baltimore Inner Harbor, the Modern Orthodox congregation is one of the longest continually operating synagogues in the state of Maryland. As part of its dedication to welcoming Jews of all demographics, B’nai Israel recently launched a year-long adult education program in partnership with Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT), the Modern Orthodox rabbinical school located in Riverdale, New York.
On the 19th of Kislev (Yud Tes Kislev), 1798, Rabbi Schneur Zalman, the first Chabad Rebbe (also known as the Alter Rebbe or the Baal Hatanya), was released from prison. He was imprisoned due to libelous information supplied to the czarist government by opponents of the fledgling Chassidic movement. According to Chassidic tradition, the Rebbe’s imprisonment was the earthly reflection of a heavenly complaint that was lodged against him and the Chassidic cause that he was promoting, and his liberation symbolized a heavenly green light for the continued promulgation of Chassidus.
Montgomery County executive candidate Bill Frick with Yossie Charner and Rabbi Yitzchak Charner. (Photo credit: Eli Teichman)
NCSY Fellowship was back in action Dec. 5 at Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, Maryland. Over 40 teens from all backgrounds came together to learn about ethical challenges in the workplace. (Photos courtesy of Mattie Watson)
The Chabad movement recently won a small but significant victory in an ongoing battle for a historic Jewish treasure, thanks to the efforts of a local legal team: Nathan Lewin and Alyza Lewin of Lewin & Lewin LLP and Steven Lieberman, Robert Parker, Jen Nock, Dan McCallum, and Nechama Potasnik of Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, PC.
Following the passing of her husband Avi Karkowsky in June 2013, longtime Kemp Mill resident Nancy Karkowsky decided to hold a blooddrive in his memory; Avi had relied on generous blood donors over the course of his illness. In May 2017, when Iris and Adam Bashein were presented with the Community Service Award at Young Israel Shomrai Emunah’s annual banquet, the couple recalled the community blooddrive in their acceptance speech and proposed that it should be done again. Nancy, the Basheins, Eli Landy (who played a big role in the previous blooddrive), Barbara Price, and other volunteers partnered with INOVA to organize the Community BloodDrive in Memory of Avi Karkowskyz”l and Clif Price z”lon Nov. 12.
The Berman Hebrew Academy Lower School Girls Choir performs at the White House Chanukah Party. (Photo Credit: Atara Mayer)
Nearly 210 of JSSA’s Holocaust survivors attended the annual Café Europa Chanukah party on Thursday, Dec. 7 at Washington Hebrew Bindeman Center in Potomac, Maryland. Café Europa offers a meaningful opportunity for survivors, most of whom were from the Former Soviet Union, to socialize with others who have endured similar circumstances. (Photo credit: PJ Feinstein)
Israeli delegation to DC seeks to understand American Jewish perspectives.
A week before Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely drew fire for comments about the “convenient lives” of American Jews, an Israeli delegation visited Washington, D.C., with the express purpose of building bridges between Israel and the American Jewish community. The delegation was part of Project Community, a joint initiative of Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and the Israeli NGO Gesher, which promotes mutual understanding and cohesive living among secular, religious, and ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel. The visit took place Nov. 13-19, with the delegates spending two busy days in the Greater Washington area before heading to meetings in New York.
When the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington, known as the Vaad, released a kashrus (kosher status) alert about Potomac 18 Caterers on Nov. 22, many in the community waited expectantly for more information to follow.
Jewish Community Centers in Baltimore, Israel, and Ukraine will partner for the first time as part of the JCC Global’s Amitim 2.0-Fellows: A Global Leadership Network program. The JCCs officially launched the partnership earlier this month at the JCC Global World Conference in Tarrytown, New York. The Amitim 2.0-Fellows is a three-year Global Leadership Network program that brings Jewish peoplehood concepts and programs to the next generation of JCCs worldwide and expands the global network of Jewish leaders and JCCs.
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