A Piece of Baltimore Heritage


Our ability to move forward depends on understanding our past, and the people, events and places that shaped what we are today.

In this week’s cover story, JT reporter Victoria Brown dives into the rich history and heritage of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation (BHC), as the Brotherhood prepares to celebrate their 100th anniversary in June.

BHC has a 190 year-old history. Originally called Nidche Yisroel, the congregation was chartered in 1830 and built the synagogue on Lloyd Street, renaming themselves Baltimore Hebrew Congregation in 1845. The vacant building was threatened with demolition, so the Jewish Museum of Maryland was created to purchase and care for the historic landmark. The building was restored to its 1864 appearance and now is the home of the Jewish museum.

Thankfully, the The Lloyd Street Synagogue remains as the third-oldest synagogue building in the United States. The building was occupied until the early 1960s.

The BHC brotherhood organizes a number of events annually that contribute to the congregation and the community, said Sid Bravmann, current president of the Brotherhood. One of the main activities is a breakfast lecture series, where guest speakers address timely topics.

“We want to make it as diverse as possible. From sports to music to art to cultural things,” said Bravmann.

In line with our theme of looking to the past, JT reporter Connor Graham reports on our JT 100th Anniversary event that was held at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company on May 22, where guests were treated to a spellbinding and moving production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Looking ahead to 2020, I report on a poll recently conducted on behalf of the Jewish Electorate Institute (JEI) which found that Jewish voters are predominantly concerned with domestic policy issues, particularly health care and immigration, as well anti-Semitism and rising insecurity due to white nationalists threats.

“This poll confirms that the Jewish electorate prioritizes domestic policy issues above all others,” said Ralph Grunewald, chairman of the JEI Board. “It also affirms that the Jewish community feels less secure than before President Trump took office and is deeply concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism in America in the past two years.”

JT reporter Susan Ingram interviewed Rabbi David Katz, who will serve Har Sinai as interim rabbi beginning July 1. The warm, energetic rabbi is just finishing up his current interim position at Temple B’Nai Or, in Morristown, New Jersey, and is looking forward “to leading Har Sinai, helping to lead both congregations into the future with my colleague Rabbi Disick.”

Katz and Rabbi Marc L. Disick, interim rabbi at Temple Oheb Shalom, will work closely together, as they lead the two congregations in their proposed merger.

Shabbat Shalom.


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