What If?

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Imagine being upset as you left for work or an appointment five minutes late, only to drive past a serious accident that occurred only moments before? Or being angry because unexpected home repairs forced you to cancel your vacation to Florida, only to be shocked a week later as you watch on TV as a hurricane devastates the resort where you would have been.

This week’s cover article by JT reporter Susan Ingram tells the incredible story of Holocaust survivor Olga Grilli and the extraordinary coincidences, chance encounters and courageous decisions that allowed her to survive, meet her future husband and arrive safely in the United States.


Olga, 90, died last year but her family, including her son and daughter-in-law Richard and Susan Grilli of Lutherville, returned to the Czech village of Chotebor where Olga was born, and then traveled to Croston, England to honor the Cardwells, a Christian English couple who took her in after Olga travelled on the last Czech Kingertransport train out of Prague in 1939.

“It was very noble of [the Cardwells] to take [Olga] in. And they wanted a Jewish family. They had it in their moral compass that this was the right thing to do,” Susan Grilli said. “And they may not have been the most warm and fuzzy people, but they did what was important.”


“People are always called upon to do things,” she added. “You can look at Baltimore, you hear stories all the time of so many foster children and not enough host families. So this is to emphasize what went into it, what was sacrificed, what was given up, what was put aside, to take in a child.”

JT reporter Victoria Brown covered “how leadership teams from the JCC of Greater Baltimore and the Y in Central Maryland met on May 14 at Union Craft Collective for a day of discussion, learning and volunteering to increase diversity and inclusion at both of their institutions.

“The idea for the event was conceived by Barak Hermann, CEO of the JCC and John Hoey, president and CEO of the Y, who discussed the concept of joining their organizations for a day of service and learning.

“We started out as strangers,” said Reeut Singerman, associate marketing director at the JCC. “We didn’t know our counterparts at the Y. We met … we worked together really well. We all became friends from this experience. It was a really fun collaborative effort for everybody.”

Read about how an unusual “gap year” program is grooming a new group of European Jewish leaders. Also, be sure to check out the photos from last Sunday’s JCC Block Party

Shabbat Shalom.

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