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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: 7:31pm

JCC Blog

Tag: Jewish Life

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...

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...

Aug04

The Power of J Day Camp

Creating Mensches with Shabbabah 

There is a story of a beloved teacher, Rabbi Zusya, who had become old and taken ill.  His students came to visit him and Rabbi Zusya began to weep.  The students ask the great teacher, “Reb Zusya, why do you weep? Surely, if anyone is slotted for a good life in the world to come, it must be you!” 

Reb Zusya responded, “My dear ones, if when I pass into the next world I am asked ‘Why were you not an Abraham?’ I will have no hesitation to answer, ‘Because, I was not born an Abraham.’ So too, if I am to be asked, ‘And, why were you not a Moses?’ I will still confidently respond ‘Nor was I born a Moses.’ My children, I weep because there is only one question I fear to be asked, ‘Why were you not Zusya?’”  

This story is foundation upon which we seek to grow our community at J Camps...

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...

Apr14
Mount Sinai

The Liberation Equation: Modern Day Meaning in Passover

Rabbi Jessy connects the past of Passover with the present.

Rabbi Jessy Gross

Each year at the seder table, we are supposed to see ourselves, “every person as if he/she came out of Egypt.” I’ve always found this difficult to imagine since I have been largely blessed to grow up in pretty comfortable spaces. I remember the first time I attended a seder led by my peer group, where the few parents who were in attendance were the minority. It was the first time I was in a space in which my peers took over the space to lead and orchestrate the rites and rituals commanded by Jewish tradition in every generation. My friend, Ari, began the seder with the following cavanah (...

Apr04
by admin

Friday Nights, Beautiful Lights

Have you got Shabbat? We’ve Got Shabbat! 

On a festive Friday evening in early February, Jon Cardin, a lawyer and former legislator for the Greater Baltimore community, attended, along with his wife Megan and their two daughters, Dorothy and Micah, a “Got Shabbat” event, at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation (co-hosted with the Jewish Museum of Maryland). Got Shabbat is an enriching family-friendly Shabbat celebration held at a different synagogue each month.

“We are members of Beth Tfiloh but we also enjoy Beth El, Beth Am, and Baltimore Hebrew,” Cardin said. “We’...

Mar18
Hamantaschens

Pouches, pockets, and tri-cornered hats.

Sweet & Savory Treats for a Sweet Future! 

Did you know that in Israel and in many other countries they don’t call hamantaschen “hamantaschen”?

Rather, they refer to the sweets as “Haman’s ears,” or oznei Haman, symbolizing victory against the villain who attempted to kill the Jews of ancient Persia.

There are multiple other interpretations of Hamantaschen  —  Haman’s deep pockets, Haman’s tri-cornered hat.

In German, “Taschen” means “pocket” or “pouch.”

In medieval Europe, eaters enjoyed a poppy filled baked good called Mohntaschen. “Mohn” was German for poppy or poppy seed. Some now think that Purim’s sweet treats were adopted as part of the celebration simply because “mohn” and “Haman” sounded similar — the symbolism, they say, came later.

Regardless of the origin, meaning, or filling of...