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Preserving Baltimore’s First Synagogue (Part I)

22 Kislev 5773 – December 5, 2012
While it is not known precisely when Jews first settled in Baltimore, we do know that five Jewish men and their families settled there during the 1770s. However, it was not until the autumn of 1829 that Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, whose Hebrew name was Nidchei Yisroel (Dispersed of Israel), was founded. This was the only Jewish congregation in the state of Maryland at the time, and it was referred to by many as the “Stadt Shul.”

The Tale Of Two Armstrongs In Elul

26 Elul 5772 – September 12, 2012
Two major news stories involving two famous men named Armstrong occurred within days of each other recently. Was it random happenstance? Or was there hashgacha involved? We know that nothing happens outside Hashem’s realm and power. But did Hashem have a specific reason for these two events occurring together when they did?

Granting Tuition Reductions In Day Schools: A New Approach

5 Elul 5772 – August 22, 2012
Many American parents are passionate about providing their children with opportunities to participate in sports and develop as great athletes. A recent article in the Financial Post posed the question “Are your kids’ athletic dreams worth breaking the bank for?” For parents of elite athletes, the costs can be astronomical. Such parents designate “tens of thousands of dollars of their household budget to help their child’s athletic career blossom, a sacrifice that impacts everything from daily spending to retirement.”

Fighting The Tuition Crisis With Financially-Driven Parent Volunteer Programs

22 Tammuz 5772 – July 11, 2012
A recent CNN Money article focused on how more students than ever are requesting need-based financial aid from the private schools they attend. “Private schools are getting flooded with financial aid applications, and a growing number of the parents seeking help are earning $150,000 or more a year,” the article stated. It also pointed out that “overall, the average cost of tuition at private schools across all grades is nearly $22,000 a year, up 4% from a year ago and 26% higher than it was in the 2006-07 academic year, according to the National Association of Independent Schools.”

Storming The Gates Of Heaven For A Miracle

24 Sivan 5772 – June 13, 2012
On January 31, my family’s world was turned upside down. I received a phone call from my mother early in the morning. “Go to Baltimore, your sister is sick. Daddy and I are flying up today [from Florida]. Her organs are shutting down. It’s bad.”

West Coast Happenings

12 Sivan 5772 – June 1, 2012
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Eliyahu Werdesheim Convicted, Brother Avi Cleared, in Baltimore Shomrim Case

13 Iyyar 5772 – May 5, 2012
Eliyahu Werdesheim, one of two Baltimore brothers charged with beating an African-American teenager, was found guilty by a circuit court. Werdesheim, a former member of...

Henry S. and Benjamin H. Hartogensis

11 Iyyar 5772 – May 2, 2012
Usually Jewish history books deal with those who have made their mark by doing extraordinary things. While such people obviously are important, there are those who may not have enjoyed much fame yet whose efforts and accomplishments were crucial to maintaining Yahadus in their community. Two such men are Henry S. Hartogensis and his son, Benjamin H. Hartogensis, who devoted their lives to the Jewish community of Baltimore.

Werdesheim Case Going Forward in Baltimore

4 Iyyar 5772 – April 26, 2012
Lawyers for two Baltimore Jewish brothers accused of beating a black teenager withdrew a request to move the trial out of the city and...

New ‘Zimmerman’ Trial in Baltimore, This Time with Orthodox Jews

2 Iyyar 5772 – April 24, 2012
The trial of the brothers Eliyahu and Avraham Werdesheim, who are accused of beating a black 15-year-old on November 19, 2010 as they were patrolling an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Baltimore, is scheduled to start today, Tuesday. In a case disturbingly reminiscent of the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida, the brothers are charged with assault, false imprisonment and carrying a deadly weapon, and could face 13 years in prison.

Baltimore Brothers Face 13 Years for Assaulting Black Teen

1 Iyyar 5772 – April 23, 2012
Brothers Eliyahu and Avi Werdeseheim are being charged with second-degree assault, false imprisonment and carrying a deadly weapon in the beating of a black...

Rescue Plans Suspended in Talks of Baltimore Jewish Times Bankruptcy

20 Adar 5772 – March 14, 2012
The Baltimore Sun reported that two competing plans to save the Baltimore Jewish Times' publisher from bankruptcy are no longer pending, and negotiations resumed...

Thoughts On Bridging The Great Jewish Divide

25 Tevet 5772 – January 19, 2012
We recently observed the 10th of Teves, which, historically, represents the beginning of the siege of Yerushalayim by Nebuchadnezzar. It was this siege that began a string of calamities that resulted in the destruction of the first Beis HaMikdash.

Getting The Best Messages

18 Tevet 5772 – January 12, 2012
Suzanne called me today about the newest humiliation she had just experienced. At the gym, a personal trainer loudly reprimanded her for trying to help another person with some equipment, and he did so in front of nearly everybody who was working out there.

Lost To Orthodoxy: The Fate of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation

18 Tammuz 5771 – July 20, 2011
Not many Jews lived in Baltimore during the eighteenth century; by 1796 the entire Jewish population of the city consisted of about 15 families. As late as 1825, Solomon Etting, one of the first Jewish residents of Baltimore, estimated the Jewish population of Baltimore to be about 150.

The Controversial Mordecai Moses Mordecai

28 Shevat 5771 – February 2, 2011
The first ordained rabbi to settle in America, Abraham Rice did not arrive here until 1840. Before then, few men with anything more than a rudimentary Torah knowledge resided in America. One exception was Mordecai Moses Mordecai.

Shkoyach!: A Chassidic Rabbi’s Offerings On Thanksgiving

17 Kislev 5771 – November 24, 2010
Reuven Poupko wears many hats, aside from a fur-clad shtreimel. A rabbi, lawyer and psychologist, the Baltimore native also served as chief rabbi of Curacao from 1998-2001, and has taught in colleges, rabbinical seminaries and day schools. But this Thanksgiving, Poupko is going to swap his bekeshe for an apron as he takes his wife and children to the streets of downtown Baltimore to share a Thanksgiving dinner with some of the city's most downtrodden residents.

How To Talk With Our Children About Personal Safety

20 Heshvan 5771 – October 27, 2010
This is a handy little jingle for parents to keep in mind, but even though it's short, my rhyme is not for little children. In order to adequately prepare our children we must first be aware of the red flags ourselves. Then we need to schedule an "annual check-up" with our children and clearly and calmly bring up the subject of personal safety.

A Weekend To Remember: Reflections on the OU’s Marriage Retreat

13 Tishri 5771 – September 21, 2010
"You're going where?! That sounds interesting. What is it?" This response we received from friends when we mentioned our plan to attend the Orthodox Union's Marriage Enrichment Retreat this past July reflected the very same questions we were thinking. And it was with those thoughts that we went to the retreat - interested but unsure of what exactly we were getting into. A nice hotel, no kids, good food and maybe some interesting workshops.

What I Learned About America On My Summer Vacation: An Interview With MK...

15 Elul 5770 – August 25, 2010
In the less than two years since he gave up his full-time job as a print and radio journalist, Uri Orbach, 50, has distinguished himself as an indefatigable parliamentarian for the Religious Zionist Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, which sits in Prime Minister Netanyahu's coalition government.

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