In this week’s cover story, JT reporter Victoria Brown followed the weekly journey of three men from Chabad as they visited residents at Weinberg Village. Two of the men from Chabad are rabbinical students at Yeshivas Lubavitch of Baltimore: Meir Lazaroff and Kehos Weiss. The third is Rabbi Nochum Katsenelenbogen, Director of Chabad in Owings Mills, affectionately called Rabbi K.
Lazaroff explained that what drives him to go out and speak to people each week is the teaching of the Lubavitch rebbe, who “taught us that part of loving every person, every Jew, is not just taking care of their physical welfare, but also their spiritual welfare.” Visiting people and ensuring they complete the mitzvot of wearing tefillin and praying helps improve their spiritual welfare, Lazaroff believes.
According to Rabbi K, “They’re here to bring a smile to people’s face[s]…they’re coming to share the love and joy of Judaism.” And from the enthusiastic response of the residents at Weinberg Village, they’ve succeeded.
One of the residents, whose 11-year-old granddaughter is battling cancer, had all but abandoned faith. But after a private talk and heartfelt hug from Rabbi K, the resident said, “You’re one of [God’s] messengers, if He’s above.”
Sometimes spiritual journeys are taken as a group. JT reporter Susan Ingram followed the spiritual journey of Rabbi Marc L. Disick, interim rabbi, as he leads Temple Oheb Shalom in Pikesville out of crisis. Disick came to Oheb last spring following the suspension of longtime spiritual leader Rabbi Steven M. Fink. Disick helps guide congregations through a process of healing and learning for themselves how to move forward. A process, Disick said, that mirrors family therapy.
Just as life’s journey takes us into the spiritual realm, sometimes we can find ourselves plunged into the political realm. The JT sat down with Baltimore County Council Izzy Patoka to review the first four months of his term. As a veteran of city, county and state government jobs as well as well as in health care policy and community relations in the private sector, Patoka said all that experience certainly counts, but being an elected official is new. Running for county council is one thing; governing as a county councilman is another.
Sometimes journeys take us to foreign soil to start a new life. Immigration, refugees and their financial contribution to American society were the themes of the afternoon at an April 7 event organized by the Baltimore Jewish Council called, “Immigrants: An Economic Success Story.” JT reporter Connor Graham was there, as several dozen community members gathered to view “The Starfish,” a short documentary about the life of Holocaust survivor Herb Gildin, made by Herb’s own grandson Tyler Gildin.