Breaking Down Barriers and Learning About Neighbors


Tikvah Womack was preparing for a Shabbaton at her synagogue when Rina Goloskov reached out to her with an idea she wanted to discuss about making their community stronger.

Both women live in Northwest Baltimore, in diverse neighborhoods of African American, Jewish and Latinx families. Both are Orthodox Jews, while Womack is also a Woman of Color.

Rina, said Womack, was concerned about the fact that many of the community members had little relationship with neighbors who were not similar to them.

“We both felt that we wanted to build bridges and create understanding. Yet we knew we had to begin by breaking down the barriers,” recalls Womack.

Together, with the support of CHAI, The Associated agency that focuses on strengthening Northwest Baltimore neighborhoods, they created a four-part dialogue series that engaged Orthodox and African American women living in CHAI’s five city neighborhoods.

Explore Maryland Film Fest, Virtually – June 12 – 21


The Maryland Film Festival rises from the ashes in an all-new virtual format for 2020 from June 12 – 21! Get ready for TEN DAYS of film fest extravaganza: the best of emerging, independent cinema in the world today at your fingertips with the brand new SNF Parkway Virtual Theatre. This Maryland Film Festival is going to be a little different – and a whole lotta fun. Tickets are on sale NOW!

These won’t be just any regular old online screenings. The SNF Parkway Virtual Theatre will be giving you the full Maryland Film Fest experience with:

– North American & World Premiere Films
– Exclusive Filmmaker Interactives
– Hosted Virtual Events & Afterparties
– Signature Short Film Programs
– And More!

Book Suggestions That Help You Talk to Your Children about Race and Multi-culturalism


This has been quite a month! As the weather turns nicer, time outside can be just what we need to lift our spirits.

And yet, in the past few days, as we turn on the news, scroll through social media, or even just look out our doors, we are filled with images of illness, racism and injustice.

You may be wondering how to talk about this with your children. It can be challenging for parents, grandparents and teachers when we do not have all the answers. We may stumble over our words; we may feel we do not have the right language. This is ok! But our children need us to be role models, to talk with them in age appropriate ways, and to help them see their neighbors of all races and ethnicities as friends. It is our job to make sure that our children embrace difference and reject racism.

Our goal at PJ Library remains the same as it always has- to help families raise thoughtful, caring and engaged Jewish children. This month PJ Library subscribers will receive books relating to kindness, mitzvot and making the world a better place.

DC Comics moves on from Cockeysville-based Diamond Comic Distributors

Diamond Comic Distribtors’ offices in Cockeysville. Image via Google Street View.

DC Comics, home to Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and other classic titles, has cut ties with Cockeysville-based company Diamond Comic Distributors, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar set to open June 14 with restrictions


The Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar will open for the season on June 14, albeit with fewer vendors and restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts announced today.

Future ‘Hairspray’ productions can’t have all-white casts, creators say

Image via the Hippodrome’s Facebook page.

Since it was first produced as a Broadway musical in 2002, the stage adaptation of John Waters’ “Hairspray” has been performed all over the world, with casts of many nationalities. In some cases, pivotal roles intended for black actors and actresses were played by white actors, or Asians. But no more.

The team behind Hairspray announced this week that all future productions must be cast to reflect its characters “as written,” or the show won’t go on.

Exploring History Through Jewish Museum of Maryland’s Online Database


The coronavirus pandemic has caused us to reevaluate our options for entertainment, work and social interactions. As we continue to cope in different ways, many of us have seized the opportunity to relive family moments by sharing old photographs and retelling personal stories, leaving us thinking about our past, present and future.

And for those left wanting more, the Jewish Museum of Maryland (JMM) is guaranteed to pique one’s interest in the history of Maryland and the Jewish people. Storytellers at heart, JMM curates 12,000 objects, more than 68,000 photographs, 850 oral histories, two historic synagogues and three exhibit galleries. They find new stories all the time — stories that will make you question, make you laugh, make you think and feel deeply—no matter who you are. From poignant to whimsical, comfortably familiar to downright bizarre, they are able to find, tell and protect the stories of Maryland’s Jewish communities.

It’s easy to search and find any story, photo or object using JMM’s online collections database. Typing in keywords, such as a year (1960), a historical period (the civil war) or a place (Lombard Street) generates photos and information on any given subject.

This can provide a deeper dive into our shared history as well as expand one’s knowledge base. Below you can see the full range of abilities the online collections database offers as Tracie Guy-Decker, the Deputy Director of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, walks you through its features.

“If you just want to see something fun you can always click on ‘random images.’  Then you get a whole bunch of images from our collections [and] some things you might never expect.”

John Waters unveils his own line of face masks and other merchandise

Filmmaker and writer John Waters models a face mask with his likeness outside Atomic Books. Credit: Rachel Whang.

Filmmaker and writer John Waters is making a splash in the public health arena with a line of face masks to wear during the COVID-19 pandemic, including one with his signature pencil moustache.

Waters recently joined a California-based company to offer officially licensed John Waters themed-merchandise, including washable cotton masks displaying an image of the lower half of his face.

Pratt Library to start offering sidewalk service at eight locations on June 15

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Eight locations of the Enoch Pratt Free Library will start offering a contact-free pickup service for books and other items starting June 15, the library system announced.

The Central Library and Brooklyn, Northwood, Orleans Street, Roland Park, Southeast Anchor, Walbrook and Waverly branches will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday to fulfill orders.

Maryland Film Festival to be held virtually from June 12-21

The Parkway Theatre hosts the Maryland Film Festival. Image via Facebook.

While the Parkway Theatre remains closed, the Maryland Film Festival will screen many of its selections virtually from June 12-21, organizers announced Thursday.

Over those 10 days, 15 feature films and 150 short films that were previously picked for the festival will be screened online. Each feature film will have a live interactive event with the filmmaker.