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Baltimore, MD - May 5, 2021 - Testing Motzaei Shavuos, May 18, will take place from 10:00PM-10:30PM @ STAR-K. Click here to view the complete schedule.
Baltimore, MD – May 16,  2021 - It is with regret that BaltimoreJewishLife.com informs the community of the petira of Josh Skurnick, Yehoshua Aryeh Leib Ben Shalom, z’l, brother of Rabbi Daniel Skurnick. Details forthcoming after Yom Tov Bila HaMaves LaNetzach…
Baltimore, MD – May 16, 2021 - BJL wishes a hearty Mazel Tov to Moishy Lerner and Nicola Bortz on their engagement. Mazel Tov Dr. & Mrs. Shaya Lerner   יה"ר שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל. אמן
Baltimore, MD – May 16, 2021 - BJL wishes a hearty Mazel Tov to Dr. and Mrs. Mordechai Leybovitch on the birth of a son. יה"ר שיזכו לגדל בנם לתורה, לחופה, ולמעשים טובים. אמן!
Baltimore, MD - May 16, 2021 - Light Up for Kids got started when I was sitting at home one day during this 'unplanned vacation' and I decided to write a newsletter for my family. I sat down, gathered some world news, and some family happenings, and put it together in about a half hour. The next day, I found out that my cousin Sari Zolty from Toronto, had also put together a magazine for our family. I thought it would be fun for all of us to work together, and we can make something nice and meaningful. And here we are. I do a lot more work than I thought I would be doing, since I have taken over as the editor- but I enjoy the responsibility. To subscribe please email lightupforkids@gmail.com. Click on the graphic below for a larger, printab...
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Baltimore, MD - May 7, 2021  - Important safety tips to keep in mind when coming and going from your car or home and walking outside:When pulling onto your block, call a family member or neighbor to have them keep an eye out and pay careful attention to your surroundings. Do not talk on your phone or text while walking in and out. Again, be aware of your surroundings. When arriving at your house, DO NOT sit in your car playing on or chatting on your phone. Have your keys to your house in your hand and go directly inside.If you notice anything suspicious at all, call 911 & Shomrim at 410-358-9999The Vaad HaRabbonim of Baltimore paskened that "if you are the victim of a crime and there is a concern that the criminals involved pose a potential danger to others it is imperative that y...
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Homicide Detectives needs your help identifying these two persons of interest in connection with the murder of Ephraim Gordon, Z'L, H'yd. Anyone with information is urged to contact detectives at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1866-7-LockUp
It all began on this day, atop a mountain of fire and smoke. For 2500 years, humanity failed to grasp a "One G-d" responsible for all reality. For too long, humanity was adrift in moral anarchy and societal dysfunction. On this epic day, G-d descended from Heaven and delivered His will and His Torah to a human audience which had been chosen to showcase religious life for the rest of humanity. This seminal day is the source of everything to a Jew. Yet, for some strange reason, the actual date of this event is omitted. Based upon various other coordinates, we are able to puzzle together the timeline and "decipher" the day upon which Torah was delivered. However, the absence of an explicit date for the most important event in Jewish history is astonishing. Why doesn’t the Torah announc...
Parsha Hashavua
Shavuot: Corona Diary #30- Landing on Earth, But Emerging from Heaven

It all began on this day, atop a mountain of fire and smoke. For 2500 years, humanity failed to grasp a "One G-d" responsible for all reality. For too long, humanity was adrift in moral anarchy and societal dysfunction. On this epic day, G-d descended from Heaven and delivered His will and His Torah to a human audience which had been chosen to showcase religious life for the rest of humanity. This seminal day is the source of everything to a Jew.


Yet, for some strange reason, the actual date of this event is omitted. Based upon various other coordinates, we are able to puzzle together the timeline and "decipher" the day upon which Torah was delivered. However, the absence of an explicit date for the most important event in Jewish history is astonishing. Why doesn’t the Torah announce this al-important date- in the same manner that it supplies dates for other important historical events?


In truth, Matan Torah doesn’t actually possess a date because it isn’t part of the human realm or the human calendar. Torah is cosmic and, as the Talmud describes, predates Time and the creation of our universe. On the 6th of Sivan the eternal wisdom of Torah was condensed and delivered to a human community, but Torah itself is more sweeping than this specific moment. Torah is otherworldly and transcends both human experience and the reality we inhabit. It exists outside of time and therefore isn’t "chained" to a particular date.


There is a second and seemingly incongruous quality to Torah. Even though this Heavenly work is unrelated to human experience, it also deeply shapes and influences human experience. Torah provides a blueprint for moral behavior and for the construction of a utopian society. A religious life inspired by Torah constitutes an ideal lifestyle of meaning, mission and immortality. Additionally, Torah's wisdom and its values help us better understand our world and better respond to events which shape human history and affect our personal lives. Even though Torah stems from a place beyond time and beyond human experience, it "lands" in the world of human beings and shapes our behavior and experience.


These two "modes" of Torah aren’t contradictory. Ideally, by adhering to Torah, we partake of something "higher" and more Heavenly which advances our lives and refines our experiences. By thrusting ourselves into a different realm we also perfect and enrich our human lives. Torah lies "beyond" and enriches us, precisely because it allows us to stretch beyond ourselves and beyond the horizons of mortal experience.  It is an ideal lifestyle precisely because it is otherworldly. It is our bridge to G-d.


However, not all “moments” in history allow us to reconcile these two modes of Torah. The past year, the Corona epidemic heightened the differences between "cosmic Torah" and practical "human Torah". The trying conditions of the pandemic and the strict health-guidelines forced us to flex our halachik observance. The preservation of life is a built-in halachik value, and almost every mitzvah is suspended for piku'ach nefesh. The doctrine of piku'ach nefesh is based upon viewing Torah as an agent for human prosperity. If Torah is meant to enable a better life and inspirit that life with purpose, it certainly must preserve life when life is threatened. Torah braces and perfects life; when life is threatened, halachik regulations are temporarily set aside to preserve the life which Torah is meant to perfect. Our religious adjustments in the face of Covid-19 restrictions affirmed Torah as a "refiner" of human experience. Torah is relevant to the human condition, enhances human experience and is adjusted when human life is endangered.


There were some Jewish communities who adopted a more "cosmic view" of Torah as they navigated the epidemic very differently. They believed that if Torah study lies "beyond this world", it isn’t subject to the natural order of this world. During various stages of the epidemic, they refused to suspend or alter Torah study for medical concerns. The gemara in Nedarim implies that if Torah study were to cease, the natural order would collapse. Without Torah the spiritual bedrock of our universe would become unsteady, and the world would “fold in” on itself. If there were ever a period which desperately demanded sustained Torah study, it is a global pandemic. For some communities the primacy and "otherworldliness" of Torah dictated that it not be suspended for health considerations.


It is not my intention in this article to judge this response to the epidemic. There are many additional layers responsible for this controversial communal response. It was not exclusively based upon the supernatural primacy of Torah study. I assume that most readers of this article, as myself, did not agree with these policies and did adapt their religious life to health concerns. However, policies aside, this overriding view of "cosmic Torah" is incumbent upon everyone – even those who did pivot for public health concerns: Torah lies beyond this world and, inherently, isn’t subject to the rules and conditions of this world. By studying Torah, we draw G-d into this world. Human prosperity is advanced in a world in which G-d's presence is augmented. Preserving the otherworldliness of Torah retains its majesty; anchoring it too tightly to human concerns shrinks its enormity and sullies its grandeur.


Shavuot isn’t just a time to celebrate a 'static' historical event, but also a moment to re-assess our attitudes toward Torah. Do we appreciate both the relevancy of Torah to life, as well as its transcendence? On the one hand each generation faces a renewed challenge of uncovering the relevancy of Torah. Each generation provides new technologies, new cultural voices and new human ventures. Torah addresses every evolution and every revolution- every shift in culture can be understood through the prism of Torah. The Torah encodes answers for whatever questions Man may pose and provides guidelines for whatever turns culture may take. Each generation searches for the wisdom to locate "cultural guidance" through Torah. We have all tried to navigate the crisis of 2020-21 through the hidden wisdoms of Torah.


But on Shavuot we also underscore the transcendence of Torah. Ironically, over the past 50 years, our widespread attempts to better anchor Torah to the human realm may have eroded the sense of otherworldliness of Torah. Has Torah become so human that its heavenly tone has been muted? The Rambam assiduously traced reasons for every mitzvah; he mapped every mitzvah to some human benefit. Part of the opposition to his program was the fear that he was humanizing a Torah which was meant to remain Heavenly. Have we all been guilty of this same humanization? By fastening Torah to human experience have we grounded it on Earth? By casting it as a preserver and enhancer of life have we emptied it of its cosmic meaning? By demanding that Torah be relevant to every age and every stage have we ignored its timelessness?


The past year showcased two very polarized views of Torah. Most "subjected" Torah to the life-threatening conditions, while some endeavored to sustain the timelessness of Torah. Whatever your belief about the proper policy, Shavuot is an important time to reinforce these two enduring features of Torah. Long after the current crises fades, Torah will retain these dual features.

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During a pre-Yom Tov tisch, bleachers collapsed In the Stolin Beis Medrashl In Givat Zev as hundreds had gathered for an event celebrating the opening of the new facilityTwo Chassidim were killed and dozens of others injured Shortly after the commencement of the tish, the bleachers towards the back of the bais medrash gave way, sending dozens of Chassidim falling through the air in frightening fashion.Join BJL on WhatsApp Status: Click here to Join BJL status for engagements, births, deals, levayos, events & more Join BJL on WhatsApp Groups: Click here to Join an official BJL WhatsApp group for breaking news as it happens Paramedics referred to the hospitals 54 injured, including: 5 seriously, 4 moderately, and 45 lightly.  To Shaare Zedek Hospital were evacuated 20 wounded, 2 s...
“I stand against apartheid because I believe that all people deserve to live under equal rights, regardless of ethnicity or religion,” said Phara Souffrant Forrest. BROOKLYN (JNS) — Claiming that she was misunderstood, a New York state assemblywoman deleted a controversial tweet that replaced a map of Israel with Palestine and adorned with flowers. “I deleted a previous tweet that led to misunderstandings about my position,” said Phara Souffrant Forrest, 32, who’s also a nurse. “My position has always been about peace and justice. I stand against apartheid because I believe that all people deserve to live under equal rights, regardless of ethnicity or religion.” The map, however, was just one of several anti-Israel tweets by Souffrant Forr...
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JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Israel’s embattled image in the world has often taken a battering in times of war, with foreign media and Arab sources portraying Israel as an aggressor causing numerous innocent casualties in its responses to Hamas attacks, which themselves are indiscriminate attacks on Israel. The following dramatic video, tweeted by Yosef Haddad, one of Israel’s Arab-Israeli most talented PR personnel, demonstrates how careful the IDF is to prevent civilian casualties.Join BJL on WhatsApp Status: Click here to Join BJL status for engagements, births, deals, levayos, events & more Join BJL on WhatsApp Groups: Click here to Join an official BJL WhatsApp group for breaking news as it happens
The idf says it has bombed the home of the political leader of the Palestinian Hamas terror group Hamas in a wave of air strikes on the Gaza Strip. It released video of an exploding bomb which it said had hit the home of Yahya Sinwar, the group’s overall leader in the territory. Terrorists fired rockets at Israel, with a new barrage on Sunday afternoon.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s refusal to follow federal advice by easing indoor mask mandates has sparked confusion — and conflict — among New Yorkers who are hazy on which advice to follow, business owners griped, the NY Post reports. “Today my second client walked in without a mask. She said she thought it was allowed because the president and the CDC said it was OK for vaccinated people,” David Plasse, a personal trainer who runs Plasse Strength & Fitness in Queens told The Post. “I explained to her, actually we’re waiting for Cuomo to make an announcement. I got her to wear the mask but she was pretty pissed.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the green light Thursday for fully vaccinated A...
Israel’s army said Sunday about 3,000 rockets had been fired by Islamist terrorists from the Gaza Strip towards the Jewish state since conflict escalated seven days ago, the highest rate ever recorded. About 450 failed launches fell in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system had intercepted over 1,000 rockets. Join BJL on WhatsApp Status: Click here to Join BJL status for engagements, births, deals, levayos, events & more Join BJL on WhatsApp Groups: Click here to Join an official BJL WhatsApp group for breaking news as it happens “Hamas has been carrying out a very intense attack in terms of rate of fire,” Israeli General Ori Gordin told reporters as Israeli strikes have kept hitting targets in the enclave. The heaviest fighting since 2014...
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Stew Leonard’s CEO Stew Leonard Jr. explains how the Colonial Pipeline cyber attack disrupted the grocery supply chain.
Baltimore, MD - May 16, 2021  - Walk into Seven Mile Market today and you will see myriad cheesecake selections. Those who are doing last minute Yom Tov shopping will be lucky enough to see something in the largest kosher supermarket in the USA that has not been seen in over one year: smiles.  It has been over one year since the mask mandate took place covering the faces of all shoppers nationwide in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. The spectacle of people's reactions within the store when noticing maskless shoppers was notable, inspiring, and humorous. Many shoppers only whipped off their masks after walking in the store and recognizing faces they have not seen in a year. Comments such as: "Now I'm going to have to start brushing my teeth" , "I came here with a mas...
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Here's an explanation for what is so special about the Shavuot festival before us: it's an opportunity to unite and celebrate for a purely positive reason.   When it comes to terror or war, we excel in solidarity. Even a health crisis like the corona pandemic struck all of us together. It is of course important and inspiring to unite against a murderous attack of Hamas, but our standing together at Mount Sinai ushered in a revolution. It raised us to a new level of unity. Join BJL on WhatsApp Status: Click here to Join BJL status for engagements, births, deals, levayos, events & more Join BJL on WhatsApp Groups: Click here to Join an official BJL WhatsApp group for breaking news as it happensFor the first time, we did not unite because of an external threat, but ...
The Brood X cicadas have started appearing in Maryland above ground for the first time in 17 years. The 17-year cicadas are on the move in Maryland. Signs of the creatures have cropped up everywhere from yards to trees. "THEY'RE HEEEERE!" the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported Sunday, advising residents they may notice unusual sights and sounds over the next couple of months.
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