Baltimore, MD - June 28, 2022 - 11:45AM -TI food distribution for today has ended.
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Baltimore, MD - June 21, 2022 - Kesser Torah is proud to announce the release of a song and music video specifically created for its current campaign.  This inspiring song is soon to be on the lips of ohavei Torah worldwide.
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Move-In-Ready Workspace in coveted Quarry Lake with flexible terms available. This brand-new workspace boasts a professional atmosphere, modern aesthetic, and many amenities, including:-Beautiful newly built offices-Complimentary Wi-Fi-Utilities included-Sitting/Standing desks, fully furnished-Conference room available-24-hour access-Secure building and office space-Beautiful shared outdoor patio-Free parking, including covered spaces-Close proximity to Pikesville and the I-695For more information contact us at
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Baltimore, MD - June 25, 2022  - O'Fishel's Mitzvah Motivators: What Have YOU Done for Klal Yisrael Today - Masmidim Calendar with Instructions on How to Obtain Your Prizes..Click on the form below for a larger, printable copy. Today's prize - The hat not the kids (June 26, 2022):Bring the truncated completed form to the Liebes home (2601 Smith Ave.)on SUNDAY, JUNE 26 between 3:00-5:00pm or MONDAY (6/27) or TUESDAY(6/28), between 4:00-5:30 for a MITZVAH MOTIVATOR BASEBALLCAP with special escape hatch for ponytails and oversized peyos!
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Talmon, Israel - June 28, 2022 - In a small ceremony held recently by the natural springs outside Talmon in the Binyamin area of Judea and Samaria, Israel Magen Fund (IMF) founder David Rose presented a fully equipped firefighting ATV to the volunteers in the Binyamin Security Division – the second in a series of four. The ATV, which will be positioned in the Shiloh area, was donated by Dr. Victoria and Paul Sarvadi, from Texas USA. IMF is dedicated to supporting Israel’s medical and security sectors through transparent, direct and communicative giving.  Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Ganz noted that, with over 18,000 emergency calls a month from terror and arson attacks to hiking, biking and car accidents, the volunteers of the Binyamin Security D...
Baltimore's City Council passed a bill to create a police accountability board during their meeting, Monday night. The bill passed with several amendments, including one that will allow for former officers to serve on the board. Each jurisdiction in Maryland is required to have a police accountability board by Friday, July 1. That's mandated by a law that passed in the state's General Assembly last year. The bill now goes to the desk of Mayor Brandon Scott for his signature.
With the average price for gas at $4.83 a gallon on Tuesday and nearly a million Marylanders expected to drive for the July 4 holiday, Sheetz gas stations statewide have lowered the price of two of its gasolines through the weekend. The price for unleaded 88 gas will hold at $3.99 a gallon. The convenience store chain has lowered the price of its E85 gas to $3.49 a gallon. "Unleaded 88 is approved by the EPA for use in vehicles for model years 2001 or newer as well as light-duty trucks, SUVs and Flex Fuel Vehicles," the gas station chain said in a statement. More than 977, 460 Marylanders are expected to travel 50 miles or more for the Independence Day holiday, up 2.1 percent from last year, AAA Mid-Atlantic said in a news release Tuesday. Despite high gas prices, 90 per...
Baltimore, MD – June 28, 2022 - It is with regret that Baltimore Jewish Life (BJL) informs the community of the petira of Mr. Mich Klein, a’h, husband of Mrs. Betty Klein and father of  Ms. Alyza Rochel Klein, R' Shaya Klein, R' Yossi (Devorah) Klein, R' Chaim Yisroel Klein, and brother of R' Chaim (Peter) Klein and Rabbi Pinchas (Jacky) Klein. The levayah will take place Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 1:30 PM at Steeles Memorial Chapel, 350 Steeles Ave West, Thornhill, Ontario  Kevurah will take place in the Clanton Park-Machzikei Hadas sectionLevayah Zoom click here  or call 16475580588  code 603550 1948  access code 129129 Shiva will be observed through morning of July 4th at  105 Almore Ave, Toronto, Ontario Minyanim Sh...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Korach: Democracy and Religion; Creatures of Rights of Creatures of Duty

Korach was a cynical demagogue who launched a mutiny against Moshe. This was nothing holy about his intentions. The actual claims he lodged however, did carry legitimacy. He asserted equal rights for every individual member of society, foreshadowing the great arguments of modern democracy.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, …. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". These words, written in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and carved into history, launched the great project of modern democracy. For the first time, governments preserved basic human rights, including the freedom of worship. No longer banned, Judaism flourished. Yet the culture which democracy has construed is often dissonant with deeply held religious values. Democracy and religion have a peculiar relationship: democracy gives, and it takes.

Religious identity is built upon the values of commandment, commitment, mission, and mutual responsibility. At Sinai, we were charged with a comprehensive system of mitzvoth commands, which limit freedom of choice, but infuse our lives with higher meaning. Additionally, we model a life of meaning and commandment to the broader world. As a "kingdom of priests", our mission is to showcase a godly life of devotion for all humanity. In addition, we bear mutual responsibility to one another. The doctrine of areivut asserts that that every Jew is morally and legally responsible for each other. Unless I assist others in their mitzvoth, I haven’t completely satisfied my own commandment.

Mission, commandment, commitment, and mutual responsibility form a cornerstone of duty which is the foundation of religious life. In his 18th century moral guide known as "Mesilat yesharim", Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzato, framed a haunting demand which defines Jewish identity. Every Jew must ask themselves "What are my duties in this world?". Hashem created us a creatures of duty, and our call to duty provides us meaning, nobility, and loftiness. 

Sadly, in many modern democracies, we often view ourselves as creatures of rights rather than creatures of duty. How did we get here, and what are the dangers for religion?

Democracy and Human Rights

Without law and without government, weaker members of society would be exploited by stronger members. Additionally, society at large would be vulnerable to foreign aggression. To establish strong government to preserve order and provide safety, individuals must voluntarily waive some of their freedoms. The willful relinquishing of personal freedom on behalf of common welfare is known as a social contract. We enter a mutual agreement with society, in which we deliver our rights in exchange for effective government.

Though personal freedoms must be surrendered for this government, there are certain basic freedoms so central to human welfare, that they can never be relinquished. These sacred freedoms are inalienable – they can't be alienated from a person, but must remain forever theirs. A person's life, liberty and pursuit of personal happiness are so vital to human experience, that they cannot be suspended under any condition or in the context of any social contract.

In short, democracy balances between which freedoms can be relinquished to governments, and which can never be surrendered. At its heart, democracy was never about preserving rights. Human rights were part of an internal calculus calibrating the boundaries of the social contract and which rights can and cannot be suspended. Democracy was never primarily about rights, but about something larger than the individual- the common good.

Demanding Our Rights

Something happened. Somehow modern democracies morphed into cultures obsessed with the pursuit of human rights. In the past, democracies stirred us to devotion to some larger common agenda. Sadly, today, democracies are often centered upon petty rivaling demands for rights and resources.

Several factors contributed to this decline. Ideally, democracies work best when its citizens share a unifying narrative. When people are unified by a larger common project, they more naturally sense mutual responsibility to that joint endeavor. Immediately after the American Revolution, the young country viewed itself as a global experiment in democracy, or as the “city on the hill”. Likewise, in the 20th century the United States viewed itself as the defender of human liberty against the horrors of Naziism and Communism. Unified by a common narrative, lives were defined by mission and collective responsibility.

Modern society has lost much of that common narrative. Rapid urbanization relocated people from socially connected villages into cold and impersonal cities, making common narratives even more elusive. Fortunately, life in Israel does provide a common unifying narrative, and, by and large, citizens are patriotic about fulfilling their duties and obligations for the common good. At least in this respect, Israeli democracy is healthier than its Western counterparts, many of which have been emptied of a common story.

Additionally, as society expanded, governments became bloated providers of a wide network of services and benefits. Once government becomes a supplier of benefits, people become consumers rather than partners. Politics has begun to resemble the market: no duties, only opportunities for profit.

Religious Duty or Personal Rights

This cultural shift poses many dangers to modern democracy, but also to religious identity. We have become excessively fixated upon our rights and less upon our duties.  We are preoccupied with what we should be receiving, and less attentive to what we should be contributing.  We have become consumers and not producers. Religion and moral behavior challenge us to act selflessly toward Hashem and altruistically toward others. A life pivoted on legal rights is self-centered and self-seeking. Absent a mindset of duty and selflessness, religion becomes hollow. Religion may still be vigilantly practiced, but religious identity becomes faint. Stout religious identity should be crafted upon Rav Moshe Luzzato's mandate of human duties and less upon modern democracy's obsession with rights. The Mesillat Yesharim and not the Declaration of Independence.

A Culture of Victimhood

A second danger in our "culture of rights" is the appeal of collective and personal victimhood. In the modern competition for rights and benefits the best way to triumph is to insist that others recognize your past disadvantage. Any society or group, which, in the past has been most victimized, possess superior virtue and deserves a larger piece of the pie. The politicalization of victimhood demands societal recognition of grievance and compensation for collective past suffering. Victimhood becomes a power play. The weaponizing of victimhood is ultimately responsible for the corrosive phenomenon of identity politics and the muddying swirl of intersectionality.

Religion is also threatened by the culture of victimhood. Victimhood breeds hatred and resentment, rather than generosity and compassion. Victimhood paints the world in post Marxist darkness, as a world sharply divided between oppressors and victims. It encourages antagonism and confrontationalism rather than harmony and collaboration. It can divide internal communities just as it divides the body politic. It becomes a mindset which invades every communal setting and even our relationships. Nothing is more destructive to a marriage than victimhood.

Additionally, victimhood enfeebles us rather than empowering us. At some point in their lives, everyone is victimized, either through human misconduct or by forces beyond our control. It is seductively easy to collapse into a state of lack of accountability and thereby release ourselves from responsibility. It is cathartic to convince ourselves that we aren’t culpable because, in the past, we have been the victim.

Any releasing of responsibility is contagious, and will infect our general religious discipline. Once we begin to acquit ourselves of responsibility our religious discipline unravels. We fall down a slippery slope of self-exoneration. There is too much victimhood in our world, and it is suffocating religious aspiration.  Every victim faces a choice: to fall into victimhood or to choose redeemed lives of responsibility.

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Baltimore, MD - June 28, 2022 -  8:41AM - We apologize that the milk delivery was delayed this morning. Anyone who did not get milk at the Tuesday morning food distribution, there will be a milk station setup in the Seven Mile Market Parking lot today (Tuesday) from 1PM until 6 PM,  and on Wednesday from 10AM until 5PM. Please proceed to the Blue tent next to the Trailer on the side of the Parking Lot near Sinu Pharmacy.
Baltimore, MD - June 27, 2022 - 7 people from our very own community will be on the Baltimore City Ballot in July! Delegate Dalya AttarState Central Candidates: Alex Friedman Shevy Friedman Sandy Rosenbluth Councilman Isaac Yitzy Schleifer Tzvi SkaistTzvi Topper They need all our support! **In order to vote for them, you must be registered as a democrat. Every vote is crucial so please be sure, you, your family, your friends and your neighbors are all registered to vote. In order to vote in the Democratic Primaries, you must be registered as a democrat.  Register to vote by clicking on this link: Update your registration by clicking on this link:
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Maryland’s Primary Election Day is July 19. Mail-in voting has begun as the state’s voters can request a mail-in ballot be sent to them. There are 288 ballot drop-boxes set up statewide. The top of the ballot includes races for who will replace Gov. Larry Hogan in the governor’s mansion. The Republican race pits Hogan’s Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz against Trump-endorsed Del. Dan Cox of Frederick. Top candidates in the Democratic field include Comptroller Peter Franchot, nonprofit CEO Wes Moore, former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Maryland’s former Attorney General Doug Gansler, and former U.S. Education Secretary John King. “This is going to be a really wild and tight race coming down to the end,” Dr. Roger Hartl...
Korach was a cynical demagogue who launched a mutiny against Moshe. This was nothing holy about his intentions. The actual claims he lodged however, did carry legitimacy. He asserted equal rights for every individual member of society, foreshadowing the great arguments of modern democracy. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, …. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". These words, written in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and carved into history, launched the great project of modern democracy. For the first time, governments preserved basic human rights, including the freedom of worship. No longer banned, Judaism flourished. Yet the culture which democracy has...
Nichum AveilimNichum Aveilim Aveilim
Baltimore, MD – June 27, 2022 - It is with regret that Baltimore Jewish Life (BJL) informs the community of the petira of Shirley Zimberg, a’h, mother of Sarah (Eliezer) Lochman and Dina (Nick) Finkelstein. The levayah took place this afternoon. Shiva will be observed in Detroit. Details to follow Bila HaMaves LaNetzach
A political shift is beginning to take hold across the U.S. as tens of thousands of suburban swing voters who helped fuel the Democratic Party’s gains in recent years are becoming Republicans. More than 1 million voters across 43 states have switched to the Republican Party over the last year, according to voter registration data analyzed by The Associated Press. The previously unreported number reflects a phenomenon that is playing out in virtually every region of the country — Democratic and Republican states along with cities and small towns — in the period since President Joe Biden replaced former President Donald Trump. But nowhere is the shift more pronounced — and dangerous for Democrats — than in the suburbs, where well-educated swing ...
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Baltimore, Md - June 27, 2022: Dear JCC Friends,  Keeping our JCC community safe is of upmost importance. We wanted to share that this morning we received an email bomb threat on a website information form. As per our security protocols, we immediately notified our security consultant and local authorities. The local police conducted extensive sweeps of both JCC campuses accompanied by members of our executive and senior management teams. Both JCCs have remained fully operational.Unfortunately, we have received many of these non-credible threats over the past few months--as have multiple JCCs across North America. We are working with our local precinct, the FBI, and the Secure Community Network (SCN) to help determine the source of these threats. SCN is the official homeland securit...
An Amtrak train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago derailed Monday in Missouri after striking a dump truck officials told Fox News. Several cars on an Amtrak Southwest Chief train derailed in Mendon, Missouri at a public crossing and had 243 passengers aboard, a company spokesperson said. There were reports of unspecified injuries. "Local authorities are currently assisting customers and we have deployed Amtrak resources to assist," the spokesperson said. The incident came a day after three people were killed Sunday when an Amtrak commuter train smashed into a car in California.
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Baltimore, MD - June 27, 2022 – 4:30PM - Avoid 83 at Northern Parkway southbound as a car is on fire at 83 South on the ramp. Traffic is backed up to Sinai Hospital.
Pending home sales unexpectedly broke a six-month streak of declines in May, climbing 0.7% to a reading of 99.9, according to the National Association of Realtors. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting a decline of 3.7%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001. On a regional basis, contract signings jumped 15.4% month over month in the Northeast, increased 0.2% month over month in the South, fell 1.7% month over month in the Midwest and contracted 5% in the Midwest. The figures mark year-over-year declines of 11.9%, 13.8%, 8.8% and 19.8%, respectively.  Despite May's small gain in pending sales, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun warns that the housing market is "clearly undergoing a transition." Contract signings fell 13.6% on a ...
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