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    5:30am - 10:00pm
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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: 8:18pm

JCC Blog

Tag: Holidays

May15
by admin

Shalom, Shalom, Shavuot

By Rabbi Jessy Dressin 

In many ways we are coming to the end of the year…the end of a period of time in which we learned together, celebrated together and shared lots of great times and experiences as a community.

There is a famous Israeli song with the words that read: “Shalom Shalom, Shalom Shalom. It means hello and welcome home. And when you want to say goodbye, we use the words Shalom as well.” How great that the same word we use to say goodbye is also the word we use to say hello! It’s like one big circle! Or spiral!

The Jewish calendar also moves according to cycles. We celebrate the same set of holidays year in and year out and yet each year we are in a little bit of a different place than we were the last...

Feb23
Purim Festivities

Purim Holiday Greetings from Rabbi Jessy Gross

As many of you know, we will soon celebrate Purim - it is a holiday of excess, of silliness, of pride and revolution and brings with it a theme of flipping things as we know it on their head. Many understand Purim as a time for outlandish consideration and musings as a necessary step to preparations for the more narrow and strict observances that come with Passover/Pesach.

This week, we celebrated the beginning of the month of Adar...we understand that Adar is our happiest month on the Jewish calendar and when it is a leap year, we add an EXTRA month of Adar because we like to extend our happiness whenever possible. Jewish tradition teaches that just entering into the month of Adar, joy increases in...

Feb15
Hamentashens
by admin

Get into the Purim Spirit

Can you tell the Purim Story? 

Purim is the story of a young Jewish woman, Esther, who rises to be Queen of Persia with the help of her guardian Mordecai. Haman, the grand adviser of the king, plots the Jews’ destruction. Although Esther has hidden her Jewish identity, Mordecai tells her to risk her life by revealing her heritage to the king and denouncing Haman’s plot.

Therefore, the Jews are able turn the tables on their enemies. The Hebrew date of Purim is the 14th of Adar.

How will you, your family & friends celebrate Purim?

Jewish tradition teaches there are 4 mitzvot (commandments) that must be fulfilled on Purim:

  1. Hear the Megillat Esther, the story of Purim.
  2. Give matanot levyonim, gifts to the poor.
  3. Give mishloach manot, gifts to friends and family.
  4. Eat a festive...
Nov14
Thanksgiving Dinner
by admin

A Healthy Thanksgiving…is it possible?

From Amy Schwartz, Senior Director, Fitness and Wellness 

A cup of common sense, a few calorie-cutting tactics, and a newfound emphasis on family rather than food can add up to a healthy Thanksgiving.

Healthy Thanksgiving Meal Tips

1. Chicken Broth. Use it to moisten stuffing, baste the turkey, and braise pearl onions. Make your own or choose low-sodium canned broth.

2. Trim the fat from recipes and side dishes. Make simple switches…
- Roast the turkey on a rack so that the fat will drain off.
- Buy French baguettes for stuffing. They are made without fat or sugar.
- Roast, don’t boil, sweet potatoes to bring out their natural sweetness.
- Replace mashed potatoes with low-calorie squash.
- Flavor food with spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

3. Just Say...

Oct04
Sukkot
by admin

On Sukkot, Celebrating Unity in a Diverse Community

by Rabbi Dena Shaffer

It has been referred to as a “marathon,” this High Holy Day season.  And indeed the flood of holidays that accompanies the transition from summer to fall can often leave us with the same exhilarated feeling that I would imagine 26.2 miles of pounding the pavement might illicit; that unique combination of sheer exhaustion and total fulfillment.  After two days of Rosh HaShanah and a day of fasting and pouring out our souls before the Holy One on Yom Kippur, we might feel spiritually depleted, wanting nothing more than to take a long nap and recharge our religious batteries. 

And yet, at precisely that time, the Jewish calendar provides us with a spectacular array of festivals –...

Sep18
Shofar

Tapping into the Rhythm

Immersive Jewish Experiences at the J 

“One of the best ways to get into a groove of Jewish rhythm,” says Rabbi Jessy Gross, “is to tap into the rhythm of the Jewish calendar and, therefore, holiday cycles.”

“For those who observe the holidays and already have a strong foundation of their meanings, it is an opportunity to experience holidays in just one more location. For those who are less familiar or observant, our new large-scale Jewish holiday celebrations can be a great place to come together with other members of the community looking to do the same."

According to JCC of Greater Baltimore Board Chair Maury Garten, in 2015, the JCC Board of Directors determined the J had a unique opportunity to enhance the quality of immersive Jewish experiences it was providing to JCC members and the larger Jewish community.

Maury recalls, “The Board elected to move...

May17
Wheat Field
by admin

Stepping into Shavuot

by Rabbi Jessy Gross

Judaism is a song and our holiday cycle provides the rhythm to help us truly internalize the beat of that song.  There are a few times of year that the rhythm becomes undeniable. If we zoom in on what is happening on our Jewish calendar we can hear the music emerge from the time we keep. The High Holidays and the month that leads up to them are one example. The summer days leading up to Tisha b’Av are another example. In my opinion, the time between Pesach leading up to Shavuot are the best example...if you know how to tap in.

Another reason we can sense a rhythm out of our tradition is because of our connection to numbers.  From the second day of Pesach until we celebrate...

Apr28
Israeli Flags
by admin

Celebrate Israel’s Memorial and Independence Days

A Somber Day followed by a Day of Excitement
By Rabbi Jessy Gross

Jessy GrossWith the exception of Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur, this week in Israel is perhaps one of the most powerful in Israeli culture and society. With Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 24, 2017) just a handful of days before Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Captives, May 1), leading directly into Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day, May 2), the Jewish people globally, the country as a whole and all the individual citizens of Israel move through a full range of emotions, reflections and vision for what Israel still desires to be – a light unto...

Apr05
Passover
by admin

Why ask why?

By Rabbi Dena Shaffer
Executive Director, 4Front Teen Engagement Initiative

Just a few weeks ago we read the awesome narrative of the Israelites’ encounter with God at Mount Sinai. While many people relate to this account of revelation as the pinnacle of the ancient Jewish experience, I am actually far more intrigued with the story that follows immediately afterward. For all the drama of Sinai, the only reaction from the people is that of fear. They cannot, it seems, internalize anything they have heard because its source is so incredibly terrifying. But in the following portion, when more laws and rules and values are transmitted through Moses, we finally get a reaction from the people.  “And they said, kol asher diber...

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...