The Jewish Community Center of Baltimore, a complex which exists in two locations - Baltimore City and Owings Mills - recently considered the possibility of
opening the Owings Mills location for exercise and recreational activities on Saturday afternoon - Shabbat, Shabbos, The Holy Sabbath.
In response, the (Orthodox) Rabbinical Council of Greater Baltimore,
the Vaad HaRabonim, hastily called for a rally in support of
Baltimore's current policy, which is to close all Jewish communal buildings
on the Sabbath. Despite the short notice, over 3500 people
attended according to news media estimates, with an overflow crowd watching
on video screens in rooms adjacent to the main auditorium.
The Associated Jewish Charities rejected the proposal, at least in part
in deference to the strong feelings of those at the rally, and in
part due to the same concerns.
Why is the Shabbos so special? Why would people care if others wanted to open the JCC on the Sabbath?
We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to see, hear and experience....
Please Note: The attendees at this gathering were
almost entirely comprised of Orthodox Jews residing in Baltimore, MD, who
tend to have an advanced Jewish education. Occasionally one or more speakers
slipped into Hebrew or Yiddish expressions (and the Psalms were recited
entirely in Hebrew), but we are confident that enough remains for all
to hear and benefit from this presentation. We would appreciate your
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Although these were the last words of the event, the conclusion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand's presentation best explains the purpose and the attitude of the attendees at this rally.
- Shabbos - a video presentation featuring Baltimore Rabbis & residents.
- If you like the video, get a copy here!
- Psalm 92, "A Song for the Sabbath Day," led by Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Vice President of the Rabbinical Council.
- Psalm 122, led by Rabbi Mendel Feldman, Rabbi of Congregation Ahavas Yisroel Tzemach Tzedek.
We are delighted to add that the board of the Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore voted to keep the current policy - the
JCC will remain closed on Shabbos. This was in good part an effort to maintain the extraordinary level of Jewish unity in Baltimore,
and at least in part a response to the same concerns as those expressed at the rally.
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