Category Archives: Women

Sexual Assault Victims Afraid to Come Forward

chana banner

As almost 20 women across the country have come forward to accuse an iconic entertainer of sexual assault and many other express outrage, hundreds of people give him a standing ovation at a comedy performance in Florida. And this is not unusual. People who speak about being sexually assaulted or abused often find that the general public seem to feel entitled to pass judgment on their motivation, their character and even the truthfulness of their claim without the benefit of any knowledge of the facts in the matter. All the while the accused perpetrator is lauded and in many cases defended.

Knowing that complete strangers, who may only have a hint of information, find it acceptable to discuss these personal, intimate matters, while voicing strong, and not necessarily positive opinions about the victims, can be part of what prevents those assaulted from coming forward. Unfortunately, there are many obstacles standing between those who experienced abuse and justice.

Victims quite often blame themselves about what they could have done differently, or how they should have known the assault was going to happen. There is often fear of the perpetrator. Whether real or exaggerated, victims often are afraid of what other harm could come to them or to their loved ones.

There is also a great deal of shame for those who have had their bodies violated. When we are shamed, there is a huge urge to avoid any situation or interaction that will bring attention to what happened. So the idea of being asked intimate details and then having those answers scrutinized is just too much for many people.  When the perpetrator is famous, there is even more negative attention.

What can also be particularly discouraging for those who have not felt comfortable speaking up, is hearing friends and family criticize other victims. Many of us do not realize that 20 percent – or two out of every 10 individuals – are sexually abused. That means that when we share these comments in a group — wondering out loud why a victim didn’t speak up sooner or commenting about a victim’s clothing or choice in companions — we may be contributing to a victim’s reluctance to come forward for fear of being hurt again, Yet telling someone is the only way to start the healing process.

The Baltimore Jewish community provides a channel for victims to tell and that is CHANA.

CHANA provides crisis intervention, education, trauma therapy and consultation for victims and their families while advocating for community awareness, safety and healing.

While it is the job of the staff at CHANA to directly respond to these courageous victims, it is everyone’s responsibility to be mindful of their words and actions in the face of stories about abuse.  Let us not allow our thoughtless comments create any additional barriers for the silent victims in our presence to come forward to find help, hope and healing.

Learn more about CHANA.



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Filed under Families, Social Services, Uncategorized, Women

5 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.

Christopher O’Riley – Out Of My Hands
Saturday, December 6, 8:00 p.m.
Gordon Center for Performing Arts

Imagine hearing the famous rock tunes of REM, Nirvana and Pink Floyd transformed into contemporary classical masterpieces. Christopher O’Riley, recognized as one of the leading American pianists of his generation and host of the popular NPR music program, From the Top, introduces Baltimore audiences to the next generation of classical music stars. Enjoy his renditions of the music of Radiohead, Portishead, Cocteau Twins, The Smiths, Tears for Fears and Elliott Smith. Sponsored by the Peggy and Yale Gordon Trust, tickets are $28 in advance; $32 at the door. For information, go to

Priceless Dress Exchange
Sunday, December 7, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Mitchell David Teen Center
A large selection of ‘brand new, with tags’ special occasion dresses from a well-known boutique has been received and we are GIVING THEM AWAY to teen girls who are looking to save some money this B’nai Mitzvah season. Event is held in conjunction with CHANA.
For information, go to

A Family Chanukah with Joanie Leeds
Sunday, December 7, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Jewish Museum of Maryland at the Herbert Bearman Campus

It’s Downtown Dollar Day and families can get into the Chanukah mood with a rocking family Chanukah concert featuring Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights! Your family will sing and dance to the music of this gifted children’s musician, whose albums include City Kid, Parent’s choice award-winner, and I’m a Rock Star. Then create a handmade Chanukah-themed craft.
For information, go to

Community Screening of Beneath the Helmet
Monday, December 8, 7:00 p.m.
Beth Tfiloh Rosen Arts Center
Take yourself inside the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for the Baltimore premier of Beneath the Helmut, a documentary film that explores the intimate journey of young Israelis as they prepare to defend their country at any cost. Following the film, Lt. (res.) Aviv Regev, featured in Beneath the Helmet, will join former IDF soldiers who served in elite combat units, for a panel discussion.
Tickets are $5 for adults and free for students with ID. Reservations are required as seating is limited. Event is held in conjunction with Beth Tfiloh and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

5 People Skills Every Child Needs to Learn
Monday, December 8, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Edward A. Myerberg Center

Is your child painfully shy or a tad rambunctious? Does he or she have trouble making friends? Do you need tools to teach them how to resolve an argument with a best friend?
If so, this program is for you. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, psychologist and writer, whose articles have appeared in Parents magazine and the Huffington Post, will share “5 People Skills Every Child Needs to Learn.”
Program is presented by SHEMESH. A $5 donation is suggested. Go to for more information.


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Meet Ellen Jarrett

Chai Ground breaking

Twenty-three years ago, Ellen Jarrett, arrived at CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, to help the organization develop affordable senior housing. The organization had recently commissioned a study which determined a need for 1,500 units in Northwest Baltimore.

Ellen, who had recently received her Masters in Real Estate Development from Johns Hopkins University, and had some background working at HUD, brought knowledge on the development process to make this dream a reality. The first project she worked on for CHAI was Weinberg House, which opened 20 years ago.

From the beginning, it was a huge success. “I’ll never forget opening our first senior living community. I remember we had 1,000 applications for only 116 units. The northwest community hadn’t seen anything like this project. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

Since then, Ellen has been involved with the development of CHAI’s 16 affordable senior housing projects.  We talked to Ellen about her role at CHAI and how senior housing has evolved in the past two decades.

Tell me about Weinberg House.
We wanted to provide state-of-the-art senior housing in the Jewish community. The first project we built was Weinberg House, 116 units for seniors, located near the Giant in Pikesville. We wanted to include technology so that individuals could live there as long as possible.

CHAI decided to offer a number of amenities to enable “aging in place” including implementing a congregate meal program and hiring staff to link residents to outside services. In the design of the building we decided to build public spaces so residents could socialize, and we put in showers even though that was not the trend in senior housing at the time. But we understood that having showers would make it easier for these individuals to age in place and be safe.
We also used BG&E incentives to make the project energy efficient, even before green was popular.

What else made Weinberg House special?
This was an apartment building for low-income seniors that didn’t look low income. They felt as if they were living in a market rate apartment building.

After Weinberg House, what were your next projects?
CHAI began to build senior living facilities every two years. We built Weinberg Terrace, Weinberg Woods and Weinberg Gardens. We knew, overall, we needed 1,600 units, but one of our primary sources of funding – funding from the HUD 202 program – was decreasing, which resulted in us having to build smaller projects, with fewer units. We were fortunate. CHAI developed a partnership with the Weinberg Foundation, , and we were able to secure funding from them as well as from the State of Maryland, Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

Weinberg Village in Owings Mills?
We built five apartment buildings on the Owings Mills campus and we tweaked the design from some of our previous projects. We realized that it would be more appealing if we opened up the kitchen and living/dining area. We added green technologies and gave seniors pendants to wear to keep them safe. As technology became more efficient, we were able to add such things as video entrance systems.

I see CHAI was involved with a project outside its core market.
Yes. Last winter, in a partnership with Park Heights Renaissance, we opened Jean Yarborough Renaissance Gardens, a 60-unit independent living apartment complex for limited income seniors. It was the area’s first new construction project in over 10 years. Although not in our core neighborhood, we believe it’s important to focus on the neighborhoods around us. If they are strong, we are strong.

What’s next?
Weinberg Manor South, a 90-unit facility for low-income seniors, located in Upper Park Heights, opens this winter. We’re also beginning to develop small-scale housing for people with disabilities, buying existing homes and renovating them for- three people. And, CHAI is continuing to investigate ways to create affordable family housing in the area. We recently purchased a small complex of 13 units which we intend to renovate and preserve as affordable housing for families in our core service area.

What have you learned?
You never stop learning in this industry. Change continues with government funding and regulations.   We’ve learned how to look for other sources of funding and partnerships as federal government money dried up.
In addition, we learned to look at each project separately to determine what would make them most effective for seniors. Some, like Weinberg House, have a grocery store nearby, so we didn’t have to worry about transportation. When we built others, like Weinberg Village, we realized we needed to build a transportation program.
Learn more about Weinberg Senior Living.

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A Great Way to Help on #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday Phoneathon

By Anna and Daniel Klein
Co-chairs, #GivingTuesday Community Phone-a-thon

It’s safe to say that giving isn’t new to any of us. From helping at our children’s schools to helping in the larger community, all of us want to make the world a better place, even if that that place is a small corner, especially if that place is Baltimore. So it was with great excitement that we agreed to chair The Associated’s #GivingTuesday phone-a-thon for our community. We wanted to help.

Like the act of giving, an Associated phone-a-thon isn’t new. It’s a time-honored and effective way to reach out to donors, inviting all to help ensure the strength of our community with their gift. As chairs of the #GivingTuesday phone-a-thon, we are excited about leading a group of dedicated volunteers who will call longtime and new donors to ask for a gift to the 2015 Annual Campaign. We’re calling all day, Tuesday, December 2, during three shifts: 10 a.m. to noon, noon to 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Our goal is to raise more than $1 million to help The Associated care for people in need.

We cannot think of a better day than #GivingTuesday to raise these funds. Part of a massive, now-global day of giving, #GivingTuesday exists as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now in its third year, #GivingTuesday has become a day devoted to collective giving … inspiring everyone, everywhere to give to favorite organizations and causes.

Our ask to Jewish Baltimore? Become involved on #GivingTuesday. Here are three ways:

  • Phone-a-thon: Whether you’ve made calls before or are a newbie, help raise funds for our community. We’ll show you how.
  • Book Donation: Bring new or gently-used books for pre-K to eighth graders at Cross Country Elementary Middle School, where the Jewish Volunteer Connection and CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., engage volunteers in the Bookworms reading program and in tutoring opportunities. Drop off your books at either the Weinberg Park Heights JCC or Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC lobbies.
  • Give: Strengthen, nurture and care for others with a gift to The Associated. Your gift – of any amount – matters. Plus, every gift increase and every new gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar through the #100DayChallenge.

Learn more:

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Eating Seasonally: The Farm-To-Table Movement


Delicata Squash Dream Boat
(courtesy of Pearlstone Farm)

Cut two medium sized delicata squash lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and dispose. Put squash upside down on rimmed cookie sheet; add 1 cup of water to the sheet. Bake at 350 for half an hour.

Turn squash boats over and put a pat of butter and 1 tablespoon of real maple syrup in each cavity. Roast at 450 for an additional 10-15 minutes or until browned and soft. Remember that the delicata’s skin is tender and not bitter so eat whole!

It’s no secret that the farm-to-table movement is growing all over the country. From proliferating farmers’ markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, to specialty restaurants like Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen, people are taking a new interest in where their food comes from and how it is produced. The Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD is leading the charge on the farm-to-table movement in Baltimore’s Jewish community.

The farm to table movement is just what it says—a movement to bring food directly from the farm to your table. Restaurants that hold themselves out as being a part of the farm-to-table movement are ones who source their food from a farm, usually one close enough to visit.  And if you can visit the farm, speak with the farmer, see the animals grazing or the crops growing — there is a good chance the farmer has nothing to hide.

Farm-to-table restaurants are putting in the extra effort to source ingredients that might cost a little more because it is more expensive to produce crops when the workers are paid reasonable wages and animals are treated ethically. But the increased costs may be partially offset by lower delivery costs due to local sourcing.

The Pearlstone Center is proud of its growing farm-to-table program. Pearlstone’s perennial crops include divers fruit orchards, brambles, perennial herbs, asparagus and gourmet mushrooms on just over two acres of land. For the past four years, Pearlstone’s onsite farm has been gradually supplying more and more of its own kitchen’s seasonal produce. This year was also the first year Pearlstone began working with other small, local farmers to source more ingredients from nearby for its own kitchen.

Pearlstone also supports local restaurants in their efforts to join the farm-to-table movement.  Pearlstone’s farm supplies specialty items such as culinary herbs and log-grown shiitake mushrooms to some of Baltimore’s top restaurants. Pearlstone’s farm also makes weekly donations of fresh produce to a local homeless shelter during the growing season.

In 2014, Pearlstone’s educational programming included opportunities for guests to participate in the preparation of a farm-to-table meal, and then to enjoy a meal comprised of ingredients harvested from our farm that same day.  By all accounts, the meals were superb.

Also in 2014, Pearlstone started creating in-house jams, jellies and preserves to support year-round local offerings. During the shmitah year, when Pearlstone plans to take a step back from production farming, we hope to vastly increase our purchasing of other area small farmers’ produce. Putting dollars in the pockets of small local farmers is one of the best things we can do to support the local food industry.

Stay tuned for more exciting farm-to-table developments at Pearlstone, such as seasonal outdoor farm feasts, sustainable simcha offerings, and a line of home-made locally sourced products for sale in our gift shop.

Enjoy this winter side dish:
collard greens

Steamed Collard Greens
Wash one bunch collards and cut into one inch strips – you can trim the base of the leaves but keep the thick ribs intact.
Place in large covered pot with one inch water in bottom.
Steam  covered for 20-25 minutes or until center ribs are tender.
Drain liquid and add butter, lemon, maple syrup (optional) and salt and pepper to taste.


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5 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.

Saturday, November 15
Pre-show: 7:00 p.m.; Performance: 8:00 p.m.
Hot Rize – America’s Bluegrass Band Rides Again
Gordon Center for Performing Arts

Grammy-nominated bluegrass band Hot Rize comes to the Gordon to debut their first album in 24 years. Enjoy their unique contemporary approach to traditional bluegrass music. Event is co-presented with Charm City Folk and Bluegrass Festival. Pre-show features live music with Letitia VanSant and beer tastings with Baltimore’s own Union Craft BrewingTickets are $35 in advance and $39 at the door. Learn more.

Sunday, November 16
11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
JCC’s Annual College Fair
Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC

High school students and parents can meet with representatives from more than 40 colleges and universities nationwide. Attend free workshops to learn about the admission process, hear about financing a college education, discover Israeli programs after high school and understand how to choose the right college to meet your needs. Go to College Center to learn more.

Sunday, November 16
1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Family Farm Days
Pearlstone Center
pearlstone nov

Join us for our monthly Family Farm Days, where you will explore a different Jewish environmental theme. This month, help make the farm ready for winter, learn how to identify and plant trees, discover native plants, visit the animals in the pasture and explore the farm’s bounty! Program is $15 per family. Learn more.

Sunday, November 16
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble
Gordon Center for Performing Arts
feets dance

INCREDIBLE FEETS entertains with a music and dance performance that celebrates percussive dances from around the world. Enjoy percussive dance and music from Ireland, England, South Africa, Canada and the American South. Show includes audience participation and lots of foot-tapping fun. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Program is sponsored by BGE with support from the Maryland State Arts Council. Learn more.

Tuesday, November 18
6:30 p.m.
Meet Your Elected Officials
The Associated Krieger Building

Join the Baltimore Jewish Council for a special session to meet and greet local legislators. Learn about their priorities in the upcoming year. Learn more


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Filed under Families, Teens, Volunteering & Advocacy, Women, Young Adults

Igniting My Passion for “Something Good”

karen singer

By Karen Singer

Anticipating turning 50 and dropping my youngest at college, all in the same week, got my head swirling about 16 months in advance of the actual reality. All I could think about was this–what was this almost 49-year-old woman to do?

I did what I know how to do best—I talked about my mixed emotions with friends and decided that I needed some help to plan the next phase of my life. A close friend reminded me not to ask, “How am I going to achieve this challenge?” rather “who can help me achieve this challenge?”

Those who know me might share that I am passionate about most everything; I truly utter “awesome” and “fantastic” about most everything. I share life with a loving husband, and we are so proud of our two children. I have a rewarding professional career and have always coupled my professional commitments with civic involvement, serving on a variety of wonderful Boards and typically, focusing on their fundraising efforts. However, it still seemed time for a change.

Through my networking, it became obvious that I was not alone in this challenge. To answer “who can help?,” I learned that The Associated developed “Chapter Two,” a nine-month program intended to help women ignite their next passion (whether due to becoming empty-nesters, retiring or just wanting to make a change). In September 2013, a year before my anticipated milestone events, I attended my first Chapter Two meeting. While the 24 women’s backgrounds varied, we shared a common goal:  a desire to ignite our next passion.

Then, in the blustery cold of February 2014, I found my next passion. With fellow Chapter Two participant, Susan Manekin, we organized a “Princess Party” in collaboration with Giving Hearts, a teen program coordinated through the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC), the hands-on volunteer branch of The Associated. The “princesses” were invited from the Jewish Caring Network and The Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics at Sinai Hospital.

On the surface, the party resulted in painted faces, cereal necklaces, lots of frilly pink dresses and hugs for all.  Yet, beneath the surface, there was some magic –- one grandmother battling a terminal disease thanked us effusively as the party enabled her to create lasting happy memories with her granddaughter. We would not have known of her dire circumstances from the smiles on their faces.  As I reflected on how much pleasure I had planning the event with the teens and rolling around on the floor playing with the limb-lengthening patient and her siblings, I knew that I could fill my anticipated void with more hands-on volunteer activities.

In a blink of an eye, I graduated from Chapter Two and was honored to join the Board of JVC, whose mission is to foster a culture of service and engage volunteers to meet vital community needs. What a great next step in my journey!  I was then invited to co-chair JVC’s Adult Volunteer Engagement Committee with Susan Manekin, with the goal of creating easy, accessible and recurring volunteer opportunities for adults, whether for two hours per month or twice a week.

As my personal journey was taking shape, my anticipated milestone birthday and college-drop off were also approaching quickly.  As someone who loves to plan a good party, I needed to listen to the voices in my head which were telling me to continue the passion that had been ignited. During a JVC planning meeting, I mentioned to Erica Bloom, assistant director at JVC, that I could use her help to plan a hands-on volunteer birthday party to celebrate with my friends. An hour later, as I hurried out of our meeting to get to work, Erica asked me what activities I like doing most, as my passion would be contagious.

My 40 minute drive to work was all it took to conceive of “Something Good” – a weekend hands-on volunteer initiative was born. I love combining friends from different aspects of my life; l love organizing details; I love learning about organizations which could use a little extra help. PLUS, my schedule had some weekend openings!

I called Erica to share my idea and she translated my energy into JVC parlance. By launching “Something Good,” I was creating a “Volun-team,” a group of committed individuals to do “something good” on a monthly basis. I would be the leader, with the participants becoming the team!

My milestone birthday arrived, college drop-off came and my focus on launching “Something Good” filled that special spot. In September, nearly 40 friends gathered at a Girl Scouts’ camp in Howard County to mulch, remove debris from a building to be demolished and weed an area for native plants species. On October 16, “Something Good” participants gathered for “Blankets and Bagels” at my home to create 28 polar fleece blankets to comfort the patients of Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Upcoming “Something Good” activities include preparing food and serving the homeless, making a community mosaic and assisting the elderly in getting their homes ready for the spring!  JVC is my “go to” resource for additional volunteer ideas, and I thank them for supporting “Something Good.”

When you find yourself on a similar journey, remember to ask “who can help?” and know that a simple call to JVC can match you with an opportunity to enrich your life while enriching the lives of others. If you would like to join the “Something Good” Volun-team, please email me at


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