The Associated Contributors

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The Associated Contributors are writers from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

Building a Thriving Baltimore Community By Promoting Understanding

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The Associated - Baltimore Community

James Myers is committed to building a better community. A resident of Fallstaff in Northwest Baltimore City, he enjoys living in a multi-cultural environment with Jewish, African-American and Latinx neighbors.

Myers believes that the more each neighbor understands the “other,” the closer and more sustainable the community will be. That’s why this African-American gentleman participates in a Roundtable every other month, organized by CHAI, CASA of Maryland and the Fallstaff Improvement Association, bringing Latinx, African-American and Jewish neighbors together to increase cultural awareness among one another.

Towson Local Finds Meaning Through Jewish Connections

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The Associated - Towson

When I moved to Baltimore ten years ago for graduate school, I never imagined that I would stay and raise my family here. But I met my husband, found a great professional community, and we started to build our life. Four and a half years ago, we moved to Towson from Baltimore City and quickly realized how difficult it was to find a Jewish community in Towson.

Empowering Our Daughers

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The Associated DaughtersBy Susan Kurlander, M.Ed.
Health Educator for Jewish Community Services’ Prevention Education

My friend, the parent of a first grader, knew what to expect when she attended an IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting at her daughter’s school. A team of school staff would discuss her daughter’s progress and update her on any additional plans.

What she wasn’t expecting was for the speech therapist to say she planned to work with her daughter on how to advocate for herself. The therapist added that it is important, especially for a girl, to be able to articulate her needs and to expect action would be taken to meet them, if possible.

With a Single Step: The Shanghai Jewish Story

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A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu*, c. 550 BCE

Every exhibit at Jewish Museum of Maryland (JMM) is a journey. Many, like last year’s Just Married!, are journeys through time, set in our own backyard here in Maryland. A few, like our current exhibit, Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini, is an example of an exhibit that travels across the globe as well. But no matter how deep or how far the journey, they all, following the Taoist proverb, begin with a single step.

The single step that initiated our next project happened halfway around the world. While touring China, two JMM Board members (Duke Zimmerman and Abe Kronsberg stepped into the former Ohel Moshe synagogue in Shanghai, which has been converted into the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, and started a conversation with the Museum’s director James Yang. Their meeting let to an email and that email led to an agreement and 14 months later, the JMM will host the Maryland premiere of Jewish Refugees and Shanghai, a panel exhibition of photos and facsimiles with bilingual text in English and Mandarin.

My personal interest in the Shanghai story began years ago when I read Rabbi Marvin Tokayer’s Fugu Plan, the story of the Lithuanian refugees saved by Consul Sugihara and their difficult passage across Russia to Kobe, Japan and eventually to Shanghai. I knew that they were a small part of a much larger refugee community in Shanghai during the Holocaust, but I frankly lacked an appreciation for just how much larger (more than 20,000 Jewish residents), and how much longer (1937 to 1948), this refugee community survived.

Shanghai, today by far the largest city in the world, was a relatively small town into the early 1800s. The Treaty of Nanking (1842) imposed by the British at the end of the First Opium War had the effect of making Shanghai an open port – a place where East met West. It also encouraged the first Jewish settlers here, Baghdadi merchant families, like the Sassoons and the Kadoories, who made the city a base for their East Asian operations.

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Jewish and African-American Teens Work on Social Justice Issues Impacting Baltimore

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When Bella Saunders first started her junior year in high school, she didn’t realize there were urban areas where it was difficult to buy afforable, nutritious food, commonly known as a feed desert.

It wasn’t until she became a Social Justice Teen Fellow, a joint program between the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC) and the Elijah Cummings Youth Program (ECYP), that she became more versed on the topic and determined to showcase to others how difficult it is for many city residents to eat well.

This March, Bella, a Jewish student at Atholton High School, is working with a small group of predominantly African-American and Jewish teens to develop a “food desert” simulation for an upcoming Teen Summit for the Fellowship program. They plan to encourage participants to make a food list of what their families commonly purchase; then take these lists to areas throughout the room. Each area will represent foods available at corner stores, mini-marts and liquor stores and will help the participants understand the far-reaching effects of food injustice.

The Teen Summit, keynoted by Congressman Elijah Cummings (D), is the capstone to a nine-month program that brings together 26 Jewish and African-American high school students to build greater understanding across racial and religious backgrounds. Through programming and dialogue, the hope is that it will better prepare them to talk about issues of racism, anti-Semitism and social justice with their peers.

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Seven Things to Add to Your Calendar This Spring

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With Spring right around the corner, it’s time to get out and do something! Whether you’re a foodie, moviegoer or both, we’ve got something for you.

Check out these seven Spring events you won’t want to miss.

Live with Purpose: Casserole Challenge (Runs until March 31) If you’re a foodie who loves to volunteer, then you will love JVC’s March Live with Purpose program, Casserole Challenge. Last year, nearly 400 casseroles were donated to support families and individuals in need.

Charm City Tribe: Night Shtetl (March 14) Join Charm City Tribe and exeprience Purim through the lens of food, drink, learning, music and theater. Featuring a performance from the Hinenu House Klezmer band.

DBJCC Purim Party (March 15) Join us for some young family fun with a Purim theme – songs, books, crafts and snacks!

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Taking the Stage: How JCC Helped My Child Discover Herself

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Taking the Stage with JCC

“I’m going to perform at the talent show this year.” “You are? With friends?” “Nope, by myself.” “What are you going to do?” “I’m going to dance.” 

That is essentially how the conversation with my 9-year-old daughter, Molly, went earlier this fall. For the first time, she wanted to be part of the annual K-8 talent show at The Mount Washington School.

Giving Back with Matthew Klatsky

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Matthew Klatsky

Giving back to the community is important for Matthew Klatsky and his wife, Lindsay. The couple has been heavily involved in Jewish Baltimore since settling in Baltimore 10 years ago. Recently, Matthew has been bringing his passion and focus to The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore to help guide families on charitable funding.

Seven Ways to Make an Impact on #GivingTuesday

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Giving Tuesday#GivingTuesday. The global day of giving, which occurs annually the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a wonderful opportunity to help those in need. As this day of giving has grown in popularity, so are the number of ways you can show your support. We’re here to give you seven ideas on how you can make an impact on November 27.

Connecting with the World through Social Media

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Social Media Saving Lives

Married with children or seeking a long- term relationship, established in a career or considering a career change, enjoying where you live or thinking about a geographic change – young people in their late 20s and 30s often find themselves faced with so many life-changing decisions. No matter where they are, social media, most likely, plays an important role in how they connect with their immediate world as well as the world at large.

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