It’s no secret that Baltimore’s Jewish community has always had top-notch businesses, summer camps, education programs — you name it. So it should come as no surprise that our coverage celebrating the 2019 Jewish Times Best of Jewish Baltimore winners spilled into a second week.
In Best of Jewish Baltimore, Part 2, JT staff brings readers their chosen winners in the kosher food, camps, education, community rec, home services and retail categories, highlighting one of the winners from each category. From Best Overnight Camp to Best Boutique to Best Kosher Grocery, JT readers will have a chance to learn more about the array of businesses and services in the community.
Best Kosher Grocery: Market Maven
Formerly Seasons, Market Maven took over the Reisterstown Road supermarket in December 2018, becoming the Baltimore kosher community’s one-stop shop for everything from everyday groceries to baby products and cleaning supplies. Market Maven has a wide variety of prepared foods, both meat and dairy, on top of their sushi bar and deli. If the kids are home for summer and you can’t get out to go food shopping, don’t fret, because Market Maven delivers. Simply go to their website, place an order (minimum amount of $75) and have your groceries delivered.
If you are looking for new recipes or planning your Shabbat menu, check out Market Maven’s “shop by recipes” option on their website. Scroll through the large catalog of recipes for everything from condiments, to salads, to soups. They even have several gluten-free options or variations on recipes. Each recipe includes cook time and how many the recipe feeds.
Best Overnight Camp: Camp Louise
Camp Louise in Cascade, Maryland has been a summer destination for campers, counselors and families for generations. Even though summer camps have changed a lot over the years — incorporating technology, computers and science — Camp Louise confidently engages its campers the old-fashioned way.
“Our camp is proudly screen-free which enhances our community. We teach our campers to engage in real face time communication,” said Camp Louise director Alicia Berlin. “We are able to truly be present in each moment and appreciate our time together.”
Camp Louise adds new activities to its programming each year, and Berlin considers Jill’s Place, Camp Louise’s state of the art performance center which opened last year, the camp’s most exciting recent addition. Jill’s Place is named after Jill Bearman, a former camper who passed away from cystic fibrosis at the age of 15 in 1986.
“It’s an incredible facility that is used for dance, music and drama productions, as well as game shows, talent shows, unit activities, and so much more,” Berlin said. “As we grow, it is important to me to keep the integrity of who we are while continuing to expand our program and update our facilities. We are proud of our almost 100 year history while also looking toward the vision of the next 100 years.
Berlin described part of the mission at Camp Louise as “building lifelong friendships.” With its reputation as a leader among the many Jewish youth summer camps, those friendships develop among campers new and old.
“We have fourth generation families alongside campers visiting us for the very first time,” Berlin said. “We are honored to be the top choice in the region and we strive to keep camp new and fresh every single year.”
Best After Care Program: JCC Owings Mills
At the start of the next school year, the Kids Center at the J will be renamed J Kids Afterschool. And with new name comes upgrades in programming. Considering the JCC’s current after school program was voted as the Best After Care Program in Jewish Baltimore, the community will be thrilled to see what’s in store for next year.
“J Kids Afterschool is the JCC’s brand new platform for afterschool and weekend enrichment programs,” said Senior Director of J Kids Baltimore Melissa Seltzer. “J Kids Families can choose to have their children transported from their school to the JCC or drop them off to participate in any one of the enrichment classes.”
For Seltzer, the values of education enrichment are a key component to JCC’s after school learning environment. As such, J Kids Afterschool staff are all professionals and experts in their subject matter, encouraging each child to be the best version of themselves, “on and off the field or stage.”
“Our goal is that your child will not only follow their passions, discover new talents, build new skills, and accomplish new goals, they will learn about sportsmanship and teamwork- lessons that will exceed far beyond their years in their J Kids program,” Seltzer said.
At J Kids Afterschool, families and kids won’t have to choose education and fun. By keeping up with all the trends in afterschool education, the JCC will be the one stop shop for science, math, nature, sports and more.
“We now offer STEM enrichment classes, professional tutoring, outdoor adventures in partnership with the Pearlstone Center and more,” Seltzer said. “We aim to meet trends and the families’ needs of quality and convenience. Now, your child can swim, dance, create and compete all in one place.”
Best Pest Control: Brody Brothers
Brody Brothers is a family owned pest control service started in 1984. They serve several thousand customers in Baltimore City and County and soon will expand their services to Montgomery County.
“I was sort of thrown into the family business at an early age. Unsure if pest control would have been my first choice, but what really got me was the customers. I really enjoyed growing up with my new extended family, that is what my team feels like to me,” said co-owner, Levi Brody. “By nature, I am an inquisitive person, everyone has something to teach you. I very much enjoy seeing and catching up with customers we have had close relationships with over the last 35 years. We have a ton of customers who have been on our Home Protection Plan, over 30 years.”
The technicians are something that makes their company stand out against others with over 1,000 reviews between Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, and more “proving this time and time again!” Brody Brother’s services range from termites to wasps and bees to rodents, but the most popular service is the Home Protection Plan because of the convenience and feeling that the customers home will always be taken care of. They serve both residential and commercial clients.
Best Boutique: P.S. I Shop
Michal Katzir opened the P.S. I Shop boutique almost 5 years ago, but her fashion journey began when she attended Parsons, the New School of Design in New York City, graduating with a degree in Fashion. Previously, she has worked at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Anthropology. where she was a personal shopper for four years. When she was ready to move on in her career. sensing a need for something a little bit different, she took a leap of faith and created her own store.
P.S. I Shop carries “modest unique clothing.” From scarves to skirts to dresses, there is always something to find. What sets Michal’s store apart from every other is the experience she has. Designing is not her passion, but personal shopping is too. Whenever someone comes into the store, they typically are looking for a full outfit and she is able to create full unique outfits. Michal knows what works for every body type and loves to make people feel like “a million bucks.” The prices in the store range from $12 to $128, but she tries to keep it at a low price point.
“My store kind of looks like a modest Anthropology. I sell to all ages, my main focus is 20’s through 40’s. But honestly, everyone who comes here finds something,” Katzir replied. “I have serviced teenagers to grandmothers.”
P.S. I Shop is located in Pikesville, by appointment only.
Best Art Gallery/Museum: Baltimore Museum of Art
Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art has been a staple of Baltimore culture for over a century. The BMA offers a variety of exhibits, educational programs and opportunities, and collaborative efforts. General admission is free, especially if you come in for Free Family Sundays. A variety of innovative programs and special events are held regularly for adults, children, and families throughout the year, as well as special members-only events.
The BMA works to provide a cultural experience for people of all ages and backgrounds. Their mission is simple: to connect art to Baltimore and Baltimore to the world, celebrating artistic excellence and social equity. Chief innovation officer Melanie Martin notes that the heart of the BMA’s work is in their “commit[ment] to collecting and exhibiting excellent and compelling artwork.”
But the art museum isn’t just a place for older adults. The BMA works hard “to be relevant to our audiences, to make sure visitors feel like our work is for them,” according to Martin. She accredits this passion for establishing a connection with the museum’s visitors as to why the BMA is such a long-lasting institution in Baltimore. The BMA’s new program “BMA Stories” is a perfect example of connecting with the community, particularly the art community. “BMA Stories” is a content channel where artists can share their stories about art. Local artists can submit their stories and artwork to [email protected].
LIST OF BEST OF JEWISH BALTIMORE 2019 WINNERS, PART 2
Beth Tfiloh Camps
Special Needs Camp
Chai LifeLine Mid-Atlantic
MD/DC Metro Area
University of Maryland College Park
After Care Program
J Kids Afterschool
Goldsmith Early Childhood Center
Jewish Day School
Beth Tfiloh Dahan
Private Boys School
Private Girls School
Garrison Forest School
Private Coed School
The Park School of Baltimore
Pikesville High School
Beth Tfiloh, Pikesville
Special Needs School
JEWELS Inclusive School
Baltimore Museum of Art
JCC of Greater Baltimore
The Great Big Challah Bake
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
JCC of Greater Baltimore
Jewish Caring Network
Performing Aers Venue/
Edward A. Myerberg Center
Special Needs Programming
Young Adult Programming
Goldberg’s Bagels, Pikesville
7 Mile Market
Milk and Honey Bistro, Baltimore
The Coffe Bean & Tea Leaf
The Knish Shop
Nina Elman Interiors
Brody Brothers Pest Control
Honest Abe Plumbing, Heating & Cooling
Park Heights Roofing
P.S. I Shop
Len Stoler Automotive Group
Optical Center, Pikesville
Price Busters, Discount Furniture
Kaylah Diamonds and Jewelry
J.S. Edwards Ltd.
Musical Instrument Store
Local Shoe Store
National Shoe Store
DSW, Foundry Row, Owings Mills
Towson Town Center