With the High Holidays approaching, it is a time to reflect on the past year and renew ourselves for the year ahead. For the six community leaders we interviewed, what the next year will look like varies greatly.
JT reporters Jesse Bernstein, Connor Graham and Susan C. Ingram spoke to artist and activist Bari Hochwald, Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, Beth Shalom Congregation’s Rabbi Susan Grossman, Krieger Schechter Day School’s head of school Rabbi Moshe Schwartz, philanthropist Frank Storch and Repair the World associates Diana Goldsmith and Josh Sherman to hear their ideas for a better Jewish year in 5779.
As expected, they got a great variety of answers that covered targeted investment in Israel, more community partnerships, investment in Baltimore City, repairing rifts in the community, focusing on community safety, and empathy for others. While the interviewees spoke sometimes of their particular communities — changes that are being made at the school and congregational levels — the ideas behind their desires are universal.
I encourage each of you to get as inspired as we were by these community figures, and spend some time reflecting on what will make the year ahead meaningful for you, your family and your community.
In addition to the cover story, we have plenty of other Rosh Hashanah coverage for you. Susan interviewed Rabbi Sholly Cohen of the Chabad Jewish Center of Carroll County to talk about how he goes about turning a vacant storefront into a sacred space for the High Holidays. She also spoke with Sephardic Baltimoreans about how their High Holiday traditions differ from those of their Ashkenazi neighbors. Jesse spoke to a number of rabbis about whether and how they handle talking about politics on the pulpit in such polarized times, and Connor reports on free High Holiday services in the area.
In other news, we bring you the latest on Temple Oheb Shalom, whose board unanimously decided to terminate Rabbi Steven Fink last month after he was suspended by the Central Conference of American Rabbis on Aug. 17. According to a letter sent to the congregation by its president, Mina Wender, “We are confident that we will emerge with a new beginning and a new vision with the help of all of our members, and with the wisdom and guidance of [Interim] Rabbi [Marc] Disick, Rabbi [Sarah] Marion, and the rest of our professional team.”
We will have more on this developing story as it unfolds.
Happy reading, and shana tova!