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Today's Building Hours
  • Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
    5:30am - 10:00pm
  • Weinberg Park Heights JCC
    5:30am - 10:00pm
Shabbat Candle Lighting: 4:54pm

JCC Blog

Category: Jewish Living

Mar09
Purim Festivities

The Irony of Purim

A time of celebration and confrontation 
by Rabbi Jessy Gross 

Purim is perhaps the most ironic holiday of all the holidays on the Jewish calendar – and also my favorite! In most places, people are familiar with Purim as a holiday where children get to dress up and a bunch of carnival like celebrations pop up for families to enjoy. Maybe a creative performance telling the great tale of triumph of Esther and Mordechai over Haman (boooo!!!!) leads into the carnival. A total family affair…or is it? Actually, Purim is probably the MOST adult holiday we have in our holiday cycle. The story told in Megillat Esther is a tale of seduction, deception and senseless hatred and a degree of violence. And, one of the ritual commandments actually instructs us to get so...

Feb10

Tu B’shevat: Celebrating the New Year of the Trees

By Rabbi Dena Shaffer
    Executive Director of 4Front - a new teen intiative housed at the JCC

 

After Chanukah it’s easy to feel a little sad, thinking that we have to wait until Purim for another opportunity to celebrate. But then we remember…Tu B’shevat is almost here! 

Tu B’shevat, which literally means the 15th of the month of Shevat follows just a few short weeks after Chanukah (this year on February 10-11). It’s a fascinating Jewish experience that reminds us that even the most mundane activities can be elevated to heights of joy and holiness. 

Tu B’shevat originated as an agricultural practice, a sort of biblical tax day. Back in the day, our...

Jan11
by admin

Dr. King’s Dream and Reaching the Promised Land

On comforting the agitated, and agitating the comfortable. 
By Rabbi Jessy Gross

During rabbinical school I had a chance to take a class on the life and teachings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.  Rabbi Heschel would forever be on my list of someone who I would have wished to learn from directly, and who I would forever be grateful I had a chance to learn from through his writings and teachings.  He was a committed Jew and activist, someone who never fully found a place for himself while all the while always remaining fervently committed to his faith in Judaism and expression of Jewish values, notably our charge to pursue justice for all people. 

As part of...

Dec20
by admin

Lotsa Latkes

Check out these delicious latke recipes from around the world from your friends at the J. 

South Africa 

Submitted by Lara Nicolson, Shalom Baltimore and Interfaith Engagement Director
from Cape Town, South Africa

According to Lara, “South African latkes are crispier and harder and most often served with cinnamon and sugar not apple sauce or sour cream. Plus we pronounce it ‘Lutkus.’”  

France

Submitted by Laurence Weis, Staff Accountant 
from Paris, France

Carrot latkes with Almonds
4 large carrots, grated
½ Cup almonds, blanched, finely grated
2 eggs
½ Cup flour
½...

Nov22
Thanksgiving Table
by admin

Thanksgiving: Day vs. Daily

Taking a moment to reflect on our gratitude. 
By Rabbi Jessy Gross

Every year the same question starts to pop up, “What is the relationship between Judaism and Thanksgiving?” Perhaps the question arises due to an innate desire to draw a relationship between our larger American culture and the particular ideas we connect to as Jews. Unless we are talking about Thanksgiving leftovers for Shabbat dinner the day after Turkey Day or the rare occasion that we celebrate Chanukah, thus coining the term Thanksgivukkah, some might think it is a stretch to find the connections.

Actually, it seems the connection is obvious.  Before we enjoy the Thanksgiving feast, hopefully celebrated in the company of family and friends, it is customary to go around the table and invite everyone to share what he/she is thankful for. It is a time to reflect on the year behind and...

Oct13

Season of joy and community

Welcoming our season of joy and the celebration of community
By Rabbi Jessy Gross

When it comes to MY favorite Jewish holiday it is really a toss-up between Sukkot and Purim.  I love the role that Purim plays on our calendar as the great "getting it out of our system" - as a necessary step towards preparing ourselves for Pesach.  I love how we break out of the traditional boundaries and frameworks in which we operate and are invited to question and reconsider what we know to be true. And, I love the role of female power and influence and minority uprising plays in the story we tell.  Yet, despite all these things, if I have to choose one, I think Sukkot actually triumphs as my all-time favorite - zman simchateinu - our...

Sep28
Rosh Hashanah Apples and Honey

Along the spiritual journey

Making the High Holidays meaningful year after year

In education, there is a concept called 'spiral curriculum.'  The idea is that students return to ideas they have previously encountered, creating opportunities to build on their prior knowledge in order to gain deeper, or more nuanced, knowledge with each revisiting of a concept. 

While some may feel like they are going in circles, they are in fact coming back to familiar ideas, but with a new vantage point based on their own growth as students and the familiarity of previous engagement with a topic.

I've always felt that the Jewish calendar is the perfect example of such a curriculum.  Each year, sometime as summer fades into fall, we are confronted...

Jun17
by admin

Focusing on our mission in the wake of tragedy

These weeks reminds us how critical it is to stay committed to our core J values of  integrity, community, diversity and respect. 

By Barak Hermann, CEO/President, JCC of Greater Baltimore and Annette Saxon, Chair of the Board

It has been a horrific two weeks for our country and Israel as we all are saddened by the horrendous tragedies that have occurred at the Pulse night club in Orlando and the week before at a popular restaurant in Tel Aviv. It is clear that there is deeply-rooted hate in the world towards many groups of people...

Jun08

Receiving the Torah

Celebrating Shavuot through Creative and Pro-Active Night Time Learning 

By Rabbi Jessy Gross

A rabbi is a teacher. I always wanted to be a teacher — my entire life. Some of the most popular tales from my family’s vault are the ones in which I instructed my sister and her best friend to be students — so I could play teacher.  

My senior year of high school, I returned from a weekend with my Jewish youth group where we had spent a weekend in Washington D.C. learning about Jewish values and activism and even the opportunity to lobby on Capitol Hill. I asked my high school cultural studies teacher why we didn’t do similar activities. Surely, growing up outside of D.C. we had had our fair share of visits to downtown Washington...

Apr14
Matzah

How do you like your Matzah?

Contrary to popular belief, Passover does not have to be a food desert. Check out these delectable entrees and sweet treats. Remember to eat lots of fruits and vegetables to balance out all that matzah.

Fruity

Pear, Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese Matzah Pizza

Pear, Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese Matzah Pizza

1 pear, sliced very thin 
4 sheets matzah 
Freshly ground black pepper 
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled 
Extra virgin olive oil 
1 package of cherry tomatoes 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and lay out 4 sheets of matzah. Layer slices of pears over matzo, then tomatoes, then goat cheese crumbles. Bake for 4 minutes. Using a pizza...