Parking, Pool and Gym access at Owings Mills J:  The Indoor Pool will be closed Friday, Feb. 3 due to an unexpected mechanical issue. Parking on the right side of the building (by Gordon Center) will be limited Friday, Feb. 3-Sunday, Feb. 5. ALSO, the Glazer "wood" gym will be closed Sunday, Feb. 5 from 12:00-7:00pm.  Please plan ahead.

Shabbat candle lighting: 5:11pm

A Letter from Rabbi Ariel: Tu B’Av

By Rabbi Ariel Platt, Director of J Life

Hello JCC Community!

I hope you all had an amazing week! Here is something to make it even better. Did you know that today is Tu B’Av (the 15th of Av), the Jewish holiday of Love? As the Beatles so famously sing, “All you need is love. Love is all you need.” 

During the 2nd Temple period (70 C.E.) Tu B’Av was a day of matchmaking. Now, it is a day to celebrate love and life. Love/ahava is a core Jewish value. In Judaism love is about family, friends, community, other people, God, learning, the earth, and making the world a better place. The truth is Love is for everyone, and Love is a part of everything. It is a value that transcends all labels because everything on earth needs love both to give and — people, animals, nature, and even material things. 

As you get to know me, you will learn that I love (no pun intended) to collect inspirational quotes. Through my many years of collecting them, I discovered that the vast majority of the world’s greatest leaders and visionaries of the past and present, all have said that love is essential to making the world a stronger and better place. As an example, I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes about love from Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” The power of love unites, lifts up, inspires, and so much more. In essence that is what we all need.

So in honor of Tu B'Av, take the time today to celebrate love and life in whatever way is meaningful to you. Tell the people you love that you love them, even surprise them with something. Spoil yourself a little or a lot. Smile at a stranger you pass in the hallway. Cuddle with your pet if you have one. Do something that will make the earth and world a little brighter. This is a great day to spread some love.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Ariel