A Life of Music


This week, we pay tribute to a powerhouse in the Baltimore Jewish community and cantorial world at large: Hazzan Manny Perlman of Chizuk Amuno Congregation, who’s had an illustrious career that includes 21 years at Chizuk Amuno. Now, at 65, Perlman is retiring to focus on Destination Peace, the nonprofit he started last year.

As you’ll read in Susan C. Ingram’s cover story, music is Perlman’s life, which makes sense as he comes from a profoundly musical family. His father, Ivan, was a renowned cantor, and three of his brothers are cantors as well. His earliest memory is of singing the Kiddush at age 3.

In his own vaunted tenure at Chizuk, Perlman taught generations of children and served as pastoral counselor as well. Now, in his post-Chizuk life, he’ll bring his passion for music together with his mission-driven orientation for his new nonprofit. The organization brings people of different cultures together to build bridges through a new universal musical language — a language that Perlman invented himself.

The ambitious endeavor won’t surprise the people in the community who admire Perlman, many of whom Susan spoke with for this article. To honor Perlman, Chizuk Amuno will host a retirement concert for him on June 3 featuring, among other guests, Peter Yarrow (in person) and Noel Paul Stookey (via video) of Peter, Paul and Mary.

In other personnel-related news, Susan reports on the retirement of another beloved community member: Beth Tfiloh’s 79-year-old Paul Bolenbaugh, who had a long teaching career in Pikesville before moving on to Beth Tfiloh for 15 years. Like Perlman, Bolenbaugh clearly loved his job, and his devotion was appreciated. An event on June 4 will pay tribute to him.

Also in this issue we cover a disturbing incident that happened in Howard County last week. Employees at Glenelg High School discovered racist and anti-Semitic graffiti, including a swastika, spray-painted on the school’s campus. While it sent a shockwave through the community, both the school administration and law enforcement responded swiftly and deliberately, and the four 18-year-old students responsible for the actions were arrested and charged.

The local Jewish community responded quickly as well, organizing a press conference with Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, Beth Shalom Congregation Rabbi Susan Grossman and Jewish Federation of Howard County interim executive director Ralph Grunewald. As you’ll read here, the unity of the community was on full display, a heartening response to a challenging moment.

Happy reading!

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