Things To Do This Week in Baltimore

Check out these great events for the whole family sponsored by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore or Associated agencies.

Sunday, September 14
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Super Sunday

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Join us at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC (5700 Park Heights Avenue) for the 2015 Super Sunday Community Phone-a-thon in support of The Associated’s Annual Campaign. Volunteers are invited to work together to help raise $1 million to care for the vulnerable, strengthen Jewish community and advocate on behalf of Israel. This year’s Super Sunday will feature the launch of The Associated’s #100DayChallenge, an initiative encouraging the community to make their pledges by December 31. A matching grant has been secured for all new and increased pledges during this time period.
There will also be a children’s area, where youngsters can color cards for Israeli soldiers and listen to PJ Library books.

Sunday, September 14
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Public Opening: The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen

mendes cohen exhibit
Explore the story of Baltimore’s Mendes Cohen – part Forrest Gump, part Indiana Jones and probably the most remarkable Baltimorean about whom you’ve never heard. Travel through an interactive maze on his life, enjoy interactive activities like recording an argument on a modern day issue and see how Mendes fit into the historical events of the 19th century. This exhibit at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street) will run through June 14.

Sunday, September 14
1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Family Farm Day

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Stop by the Pearlstone Center (5425 Mt. Gilead Avenue) and learn about where your Rosh Hashanah honey comes from. Make beeswax candles to take home, learn about bees and their hives and hear a PJ Library story.

Sunday, September 14
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Rise Above Bullying:  A Program for Children & Their Parents
Join Jewish Community Services at their Owings Mills location in this workshop about bullying aimed at both children and parents. In age appropriate groups, children, six to 13, will discuss bullying, practice CSA-inspired confidence building exercises and learn useful techniques for helping themselves and others.  In a separate group, parents will discuss who, what, when, where and why of bullying and learn how to help children whether they are the victim, a bystander or the bully.

This free program, held at the Owings Mills JCC (3506 Gwynnbrook Avenue) will feature presenters Susan Kurlander, M. Ed., Health Educator, JCS and Jen Lake, Director, Comprehensive Survival Arts (CSA)

Monday, September 15
7:00 p.m.
Israel After Gaza – Media Implosion: Failures in Gaza News Coverage Eric Rozenman, Washington Director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), will discuss the media and its role during this past summer’s Gaza news coverage. Held at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation (7401 Park Heights Avenue), the event is sponsored by Baltimore Israel Coalition.

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Filed under Families, Israel & Overseas, Jewish Learning, Philanthropy, Women

Empowering Women to Embrace Healthy Relationships

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By Nancy Aiken
Director, CHANA

Even as women have increased their presence in the workplace with meaningful occupations in the past few generations, we have not abandoned our concerns with relationships and caring for our families. It has not been an “either/or” for most women but rather a “how many balls can I juggle at one time?”  We just keep adding to the intricate collection flying in front of our eyes.

The past few generations of women have built the foundation for those who follow us to be empowered to expect equality and to speak up when what they receive falls short. We have taught this message to our daughters, with an unprecedented number of dating violence programs and websites changing the manner in which we view what once was thought of as a harmless rite of passage for our youth.

Many of us reach the point in our individual lives of what may seem like a plateau when the stress of finding a healthy relationship and then putting our children on the path to finding their own seems to abate and we can take a breath. Of all the things to worry about, abuse, seems to finally be low on the list.

But as the old saying teaches us, “a woman’s work is never done.”

Our community of engaged women, intent on everyone we care about being safe and happy is now confronted with the increasing concern of Elder Abuse.

Our defense mechanisms want us to believe that all we have to worry about is the nursing home worker or the home health care assistant, and yet for an elderly person to be treated with respect we must again look at trusted individuals. It is an alarming situation in our country when we know that if a person over 60 is murdered, that 24 percent of the time the perpetrator is a child and 42 percent of the time it is a spouse.

As the children of this growing senior population, it is imperative that we recognize the warning signs that our parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents are being mistreated. It is important to remember that this is not just about physical harm, but also neglect and abandonment. Is a neighbor taking advantage of an older person’s generosity? Is a family member pushing to have legal documents rewritten and signed? What are those bruises? Why does grandma look so scared?

CHANA, in partnership with Jewish Community Services and Levindale Geriatric Center, offers a new program, SAFE: Stop Abuse of Elders. SAFE offers prevention and educational workshops for survivors, seniors and their caretakers, advisors and family members. In addition, SAFE offers crisis intervention, emergency shelter and counseling.

This new role of CHANA will prove to be challenging at times. Many of us may even be reluctant to speak up out of respect to our parents and older family members. But, we must step forward together and take a stand for our loved ones. Our work may never be done but the safer, healthier world we leave behind for our children and grandchild will be our legacy.

The individual and collective efforts of women, long before Ray Rice was a household name, have made tangible improvement to domestic violence laws and availability of resources.

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Clara and Michael Klein on The Power of Super Sunday

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Bigger, bolder and better than ever – that’s the driving force behind this year’s Super Sunday, Jewish Baltimore’s largest, single-day fundraiser. With a goal of raising $1 million dollars for the 2015 Annual Campaign on Sunday, September 14, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC. Super Sunday co-chairs Clara and Michael Klein stand ready to lead the way.

Here’s what the Kleins had to say about that special day, giving and Jewish Baltimore:

175 Michael and Clara color

Why is Super Sunday important?
Clara: Super Sunday is one sure way to guarantee that our community comes together to support The Associated’s Annual Campaign.  On September 14, we kick off 2015 Annual Campaign – providing a tangible starting point for a huge effort. Funds raised support the many needs in our community as well as in Israel and overseas.  Whether one is a caller or a donor that day, it’s an honor to be part of this essential community-wide effort that touches so many lives.
Michael: The Associated is a highly efficient approach to fundraising. Instead of receiving countless calls from many Jewish organizations, our community benefits by having one central organization to support essential programs and agencies.  Every one of us has the responsibility to answer the call on Super Sunday and respond to our community’s needs. When we give on Super Sunday, we show that we care about each individual and each family.

Why must we care about and support our Jewish community?
Clara: I feel strongly that our community’s strength impacts the world’s Jewry and its survival. As we build and care locally, we also work to ensure the safety of Jews around the world. Just as we did generations ago, it is our responsibility to care for people who are struggling. While the years have passed, the needs continue at home, in Israel, and around the Jewish world as all of us contend with growing Anti-Semitism.
Michael: None of us can lose sight of the fact that our families came here with hardly anything. Only through the generosity of those who came before were we able to thrive. Today, it’s essential that we continue that legacy. Baltimore may be a small city, but its issues are large. Many of us are struggling with job loss and caring for aging parents, as well as other social and economic pressures.

When did you make your first gift to The Associated?
Clara: After my freshman year in college, I went on a mission to Israel and Eastern Europe. The experience of seeing Jews in need around the world changed my perspective and impressed upon me the importance of giving. I made my first gift when I returned.
Michael: I grew up near Bel Air, Md., spending most of my life in Harford County. Because of Clara, I learned about The Associated. We made our first gift because we saw the need to help Jews in our hometown. One of my first goals was to connect counseling services through The Associated to Jews living in Harford County.

Why answer the call?
Clara:  Our Annual Campaign depends on the continued generosity of every donor, as well as outreach to new donors. Becoming engaged and involved in our community is our obligation and responsibility. Every gift matters and is important. We encourage the younger generation to become involved and support The Associated.
Michael: Together, we share in responsibility for ensuring the health and vitality of our community. The breadth of work performed by The Associated and its volunteers transforms, enhances and supports lives throughout Baltimore, Israel and overseas. It is our obligation to recognize the foundation – our roots – established by our community’s founders generations ago and build upon that foundation.

More Impact: This year, the day packs even more power with the #100DayChallenge, an exciting dollar-for-dollar match for all new and increased gifts through December 31. Double the impact of your gift with an increase or a new gift!
Learn More: associated.org/supersunday.

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Filed under Families, Philanthropy, Professionals, Women, Young Adults

A Volunteer’s Message

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By Jennifer Grossman
Chair, Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC)

I remember vividly the day I was asked to chair Community Mitzvah Day, and my reply was ‘what is Mitzvah Day?’ Not only was it the beginning of my JVC involvement but it reminded me of how we as a community need to be more informed about the good things that happen, things that we at JVC make happen.

Since then I have seen first hand all the amazing things JVC does. I have witnessed how connecting people to meaningful volunteer opportunities becomes the gateway to helping them become lifelong volunteers, helping people to believe that the power of their time is a critical resource!

As I begin my two-year term as chair of JVC, I have several goals. First and foremost is to continue to meet vital community needs. Those needs constantly change, and so will JVC with them!

My hope is that together with the JVC staff, we will continue the growth and expansion of VolunTeams to help meet those needs. VolunTeams are making volunteering possible for everyone, regardless of much or how little time one has to volunteer. They have made hands on volunteering accessible and attainable for anybody, whether they are young adults, young families, baby boomers or seniors. With a VolunTeam, we can meet community needs without burning out our community members!

As a family we are part of the JVC board VolunTeam. My kids have been volunteering all their lives. Together as a family we have been involved in countless JVC and other volunteer experiences, so when it was our Sunday to go to a CHAI senior’s house to weatherize a home we all piled in ready to seal windows, fix showers and rake leaves!

But our experience went so much deeper than that. At one point, I came upstairs to get some more tape and I saw the homeowner sitting with my kids, offering them a snack and telling her story of what it was like when she was a kid.  She talked about how much brighter her house was with young children in it and with crumbs on the floor! How she loved the sound of the giggling and the finger prints they left everywhere.

At that moment,  I realized that this VolunTeam was as much about a people to people connection as it was a legitimate weatherizaiton project. We later crossed paths with the homeowners and both my kids and the homeowners stopped and reminisced about the morning, without a word about the windows, showers or leaves!

As you read this, if you asked yourself “what is that” or “how can I do that” even once, I challenge you to ask! Had I not asked what Mitzvah Day was that day, I would have missed out on eight incredible years of volunteer opportunities.  Too many people in our community can’t even begin to understand the incredible work JVC does both in and out of the Jewish community.

Together, let’s change that!

 

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Camp Counselors on Birthright

camp birthright

By Emily Allen
Two of my favorite places are camp and Israel, so when Capital Camps and Camps Airy and Louise decided to offer a camp staff Birthright trip, I couldn’t imagine a trip more fitting for me.

Four other Capital Camp staff members and I, along with 10 Airy and Louise staff members, were able to travel to Israel together through Israel Experience. I found that despite not knowing everyone prior to the trip, camp connected us in so many ways.

With the collaboration between Birthright Israel and The Associated we were able to participate in a service project in Baltimore’s sister city, Ashkelon. After a tour of the city, our group went to an educational farm where students from the area spend a portion of their school day learning and working. The goal of the farm is to teach kids that food doesn’t just show up in the grocery store, but is instead cultivated and grown by people in the community. At the farm, they follow a specific process: planting, watering and harvesting.

When we arrived at the fame, we danced with the kindergartners, and despite the language barrier, we connected and had fun together. Next we moved to the fields where we met and worked with some of the middle school children, picking potatoes they had planted themselves.

I personally connected this experience to camp because of the school’s inclusion of special needs children in the projects on the farm. The special needs kids were able to participate in projects with the other children and it was clear to see how much joy this brought them. Meeting children in Baltimore’s sister city created a deeper connection for me with Ashkelon that I did not have previous to Birthright.

As for the trip in general, traveling with 14 other camp counselors from this area truly meant that there was never a dull moment. At any given moment you could expect a sing-a-long on the bus or a typical camp game of “sheep” or “wah” in a park. One night we had a talent show, and in typical camp-fashion, a Camp Airy staff member wrote a song about our Birthright experience to the tune of “Let It Go” and printed out copies for everyone to sing along.

Our trip was full of amazing friendships and lifelong memories. Thanks to Birthright Israel and The Associated for their collaboration creating a trip specific to our interests as camp staff members.

Learn more about Jewish campaing at The Associated’s Center for Jewish Camping.

Emily is a Baltimore native who grew up at Capital Camps, and is celebrating her 11th summer at camp, second on staff.

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Preparing for A New School Year

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By Rachel Turniansky
Coordinator of Special Needs Programming
Macks Center for Jewish Education

For some parents the end of the summer is the most wonderful time of the year. For others it’s a bittersweet time where the low-key routine of sleeping in a bit and unplanned fun slips away into the hustle and bustle of the routine of back to school. For families with special needs this time can be one of anxiety for parents as well as children.

The start of the school year coincides with the start of the new Jewish year. Many similar themes can be expressed as we get ready to start another year of learning. The start of the Jewish year is a time of reflecting on the past and thinking ahead. The new school year is the chance for a fresh start full of potential. With simple planning and a few tips, the transition can be smoother.

Start with a positive attitude. The new school year is one of possibilities. Even if you know there will be challenges, try to project an air of hopefulness and positive anticipation to your child. Talk about all the great things to look forward to.

Take care of business. Review back-to-school packets. Take care of forms or tasks as early as you can so as to avoid any last-minute scrambling. Buy school supplies early. Checking off items on the list can be a fun way to stir up enthusiasm for the first day of school.

Establish an open line of communication with your child’s school and teachers. Set the stage for working as a team. Arrange a conversation with the teacher(s) to let them know as much about your child as you can. Not only does this give valuable information to the teacher, it lets him/her know that you’re an active, involved parent who is willing to be a strong partner.

Visit the school before classes begin. If you can arrange for your child to meet with the teacher, even for a short time, that would be ideal. If your child is starting a new school or even a new classroom, this will give your child the chance to have a mental image of the physical space. If it’s not possible, set aside time to drive past the building so your child has some frame of reference.

Social stories can be a great way to set the stage for a smooth start to the school year. Social stories are written by parents and/or teachers to describe social situations and help children understand what to expect in unknown situations. For more information about writing and using social stories, see thegraycenter.org/social-stories.  You can also find books about going back to school and include them in your regular summer reading routine.

Arrange play dates with classmates. If your child will be returning to school with old friends, this can be a way to get him/her excited about going back to school. If s/he will be meeting new classmates, and you can meet them before class starts, it can be a great way to support a new friendship.

Ease back into structure if your summer has featured a relaxed daily routine. It’s a good idea to get back into a more structured schedule before the first day of school. Wake up a little earlier and stick to a consistent bedtime routine. Create a visual schedule for the morning routine by using pictures, icons and photographs to show your child what steps s/he needs to get done each morning.

Create a family calendar for all to see with everyone’s events marked: back-to-school night, first day of school, etc. Using this visual aid can cut down on chaos. Take the opportunity to look at a Jewish calendar and talk about how the cycle of holidays works throughout the school calendar. Making a family calendar a useful tool throughout the year can be a lifesaver.

Set up the environment to make things run as smoothly as possible. Select a spot to keep backpacks, lunch boxes, coats and shoes to avoid scrambling around in the morning. Check to make sure school clothes from last year fit. Even if last year’s clothes fit, getting a few new items can give your child something else to look forward to. You and your child can take the opportunity to say the Shechianu blessing, a tradition when wearing new clothes.

The night before the first day, plan ahead. Set the breakfast table as you clear the dinner dishes, and plan what breakfast foods will be served. Have the kids lay out their clothes the night before. Make lunches the night before. Leave plenty of extra time in the morning to start the day off on a calm note and allow for any last minute things that might come up. Keep that first week of school simple, both at home and work, to allow for flexibility and make things more relaxed.

Get involved in your child’s school. Volunteering can be a way to develop a good relationship with the teachers and staff as well as building connections between school and home. It’s another way to show your child that you care about his/her learning environment.

Extracurricular activities can be a great opportunity to have fun, learn new skills and develop social skills in a low stress setting outside of the classroom. Choose one or two worthwhile activities. Shared experiences with friends and classmates can help maintain interest in the activity and build connections that deepen the friendship.

Whether it’s the first day of school or the last, one of the most important keys to success is open communication between home and school, as well as between you and your child. By building a relationship and working together towards the same goal, the year ahead will be sure to be one of not just learning, but real growth.

Learn about CJE’s special needs educational programming.

 

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Hillel’s Role in the College Search

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By Eli Kaufman
The college search process can all be quite overwhelming. Should I pick a big or small school?  Should I choose a school in the city or in a more rural setting? Do they have my major? Can I study abroad?

These are all questions that go through the minds of many students during this stressful time, and I definitely thought about every one of these questions during my search a little over four years ago.  But I also had a few more questions. I wanted to know if there was a strong Jewish community on campus and if I could get involved with the community.

I visited 10 schools in six states and Washington D.C. and as it turns out, I found my dream school:  Goucher College. Goucher, a school with an undergraduate population of roughly 1,500, has a Jewish population that sits above 30 percent.

At every school that I visited, the first question I would ask was about Hillel. ‘Does the school have a Hillel?’ ‘Is it active?’ ‘What are some of the different leadership opportunities available to students in Hillel?’

Every school had their answer, but there was just something about Goucher’s answer that grabbed my attention.

Goucher Hillel is a place where students can learn and grow Jewishly, but it does not stop there. Outside of the Hillel space is where Hillel seems to thrive. There are so many amazing opportunities to get involved in the community, more than I ever could have imagined.

Goucher Hillel has an impact locally. Students take part in CHAI’s Good Neighbor Day where they weatherize homes and do yard work for those who cannot do it themselves. Students volunteer at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center. And students serve food in local soup kitchens.

Goucher Hillel has an impact internationally. As a first year student, I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua with Hillel to build a school at a place that teaches locals how to farm organically and sustainably.

I said before that Goucher Hillel’s Jewish population sits above 30 percent, but that population does anything but sit.  Hillel is one of the most active groups on campus and goes above and beyond anything that I originally thought when Rabbi Josh Snyder told me that it was very active. From handing out apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah to discussing Israel advocacy, Hillel is always in the public eye. If there is ever any conflict on political or social issues on campus, Hillel is at the forefront promoting open and engaging dialogue.

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Hillel also has its fair share of fun/social programming as well. Sushi in the Sukkah, Build-A-Bear donations, and Challah for Hunger are all events that have been huge successes in the past year. Hillel’s balance of programming keeps everyone interested, involved and engaged.

Now, as I begin my senior year, I can firmly say that Hillel has been the reason why Goucher continues to be so special. It has become a home away from home for me. I spend hours doing my homework on the couches. I eat meals there with my friends. And I celebrate holidays with Goucher Hillel.  It has been everything I thought it would be and more.

 

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