November 4, 2008
Stop on by, why don't ya?
September 17, 2008
WBAL (and several Presence sources) report that Baltimore's Tov Pizza was damaged by a fire early this morning around 5 AM. No one was injured in the fire; the cause is under investigation.
The damage does not look to be extensive, and is localized towards the back of the building; the exterior and eating area towards the front of the restaurant looked fine, although there was some glass being replaced (which may indicate a break-in/arson). The restaurant is closed as of now, no word on when it will be re-opening.
June 25, 2008
June 18, 2008
The 2008 Baltimore Kosher Community Survey is now up and available from the Kosher Community Surveys website.
You can also view the results of last year's survey, as well as completed surveys for other communities around the US, such as Cleveland, Boston and Philadelphia.
Incidentally, last year, in one of the towns surveyed, there was some controversy as to the appropriateness of these surveys; some rabbonim went so far as to decry them as lashon hara. My personal opinion is that not only are these surveys l'toeles, making them permissible (perhaps even compulsory), but in addition, using data generated in a statistical manner, from a large group of people, is the best way (other than, of course, divine revelation, which is, sadly, in short supply these days) for an uninformed person to form as valid an opinion as possible without direct experience. The statistical process ensures that even if a single individual answers irresponsibly, their results don't skew the overall outcome. Contrast this to the real world, where anyone with the necessary means and free time can shout their opinion from the rooftops and influence people in a less than valid way. A rabbi agrees with me.
June 13, 2008
The Star-K has released their list of kosher Slurpee flavors, updated for Summer 2008.
June 5, 2008
The Yeshiva World recently posted letters from prominent Israeli and American rabbis against the use of "Sabbath Mode" ovens. The letters made reference to an individual opinion that they believed to be erroneous. That opinion, although not explicitly attributed to him, was that of R. Moshe Heinemann of Baltimore's Star-K.
Today, the Star-K sent out an email stating that R. Heinemann stands by his ruling:
June 5, 2008
Regarding Star-K certified Sabbath Mode ovens
Rav Heinemann, shlita, stands by his Psak that it is permissible to raise and lower temperatures on Yom Tov on ovens equipped with that particular Sabbath Mode feature. Please see Star-K website at http://www.star-k.org/consumer.htm , or call our office for details about your particular model. Star-K will, in the next few days, post an audio presentation from Rav Heinemann explaining his views.
For those who wish to refrain from placing their ovens in Sabbath Mode and still use their oven on Yom Tov, please be aware of the possible serious "Michshol" on many models. Opening the oven door will immediately shut off the heating elements, an act clearly forbidden on Yom Tov. Thus, even if you don't raise or lower the temperature, it is still important to keep the oven in Sabbath Mode.
Below is R. Heinemann's original teshuva on Sabbath Mode ovens, which can also be found on the Star-K's website, along with additional information regarding Sabbath Mode appliances:
Yeshivat Rambam has just announced their new Executive Directory, Rabbi Ari Lerner, formerly of Bais Yaakov. The Lerners will be switching a number of his children to Yeshivat Rambam.
From the YR email list:
Yeshivat Rambam is pleased to welcome Rabbi Ari Lerner as our new Executive Director. Rabbi Lerner brings with him a wealth of experience as a highly talented financial administrator with a penchant toward innovative and growth-oriented fundraising. His excitement and vision for the future of Yeshivat Rambam is a perfect fit for our school. Rabbi Lerner, his wife Shoshana and 7 children (Be'H), are members of Suburban Orthodox Congregation. B'ruchim HaBa'im.
May 28, 2008
It's been sixty days since Yeshivat Rambam announced their big changes. Tonight there is the followup meeting, one for ECC/ES, one for MS/MS.
At the meeting:
- details of the changes include the formation of the Executive Management Team, hiring a Rosh Yeshiva and an Executive Director.
- Executive Director will be responsible for finances, business, fund raising, marketing, building. Position not yet filled.
- Rosh Yeshiva also not yet filled.
- Executive Management Team includes Dr. Shloush, R. Lubetski, R. Wagner, the Rosh Yeshiva, Executive Director. Focus will be on consistency of message from the school, creating a warm, caring atmosphere and be proactive in responding to problems/questions.
- Hired a school nurse. Nurse will be on site four days a week and on call, available to BHU campus as well.
- Student First - this is the name for the focus on the "whole child." Focus on three areas: social/emotional, religious and academic.
- The school is pursuing professional and qualified rabbeim to fill out the limudei kodesh staff for all grades.
- Homework clinic, along with after school activities in science, art, dancing, exercise, adventure sports.
- Elementary school will be split into two floors: General studies will be upstairs, Judaic studies downstairs. Boys will have one in the morning (same everyday, not switching as it is now), girls will have the opposite, so they will be on different floors all day.
- Curriculum will stay the same, Tal Am will be further implemented. Teachers will receive training in separate gender education (something to do with Goucher College).
- Each grade will have a Mechnech and Mechanechet, a religious role model, available for questions, discussion (sounds like a guidance counselor/rebbe/mashgiach).
- The faculty-to-student ratio will remain low. Splitting the campuses actually allowed for teachers to teach more periods of the same class, which reduces their daily prep time, giving them more time to focus on a single lesson. This also allows the school to offer more academic choices to the students. As a example, the 11th/12th grade will have six science subjects to choose from next year, where as this year, they had only four.
- By all accounts, the plan is working so far. Enrollment is up for next year.
May 12, 2008
The Krispy Kreme in Owings Mills, which heretofore had been listed as kosher by the Star-K, but possibly certified kosher by the someone else, is now closed. When asked why they were closing, a person who answered their phone said, "We weren't making enough money." Hat tip to IG.
Krispy Kreme (KKD) was trading up nine cents on the news.
April 17, 2008
Q. Did Hillel really make a sandwich in the times of the Beit ha-Mikdash?
A. No. Otherwise a ‘sandwich’ would be called a ‘hillel’ since he predated the famed Earl by over a millennium. Seriously, though, Hillel had it right. He wrapped (‘korech’) his matza around some marror and some korban Pesach. Clearly, his matza was soft and flexible. The Mishna’s marror was lettuce. Thus, he basically took a lafa and put on some lettuce and roast lamb, wrapped it up, and chowed down. We commemorate this by eating horseradish on a cracker and saying “This is what Hillel did”, on the very night that we ostensibly preserve and transmit our collective memory.
From AddeRabbi’s Pesach FAQ.
For those of you who missed part one of R. Gottlieb's Shabbos HaGadol drasha, check out R. Alfred Cohen's article from the RJJ Journal entitled Erev Pesach On Shabbat.
April 8, 2008
Baltimore's Hatzalah made the news yesterday responding to an accident near Fallstaff and Reisterstown Rds. A woman was trapped between her minivan and another car, and was later rescued by fire firefighters. Hatzalah was first on the scene and provided support. The woman suffered minor injuries, everyone else is ok. WJZ has a story on the incident, including brief video footage; the Baltimore Sun has an article as well.
April 7, 2008
Baltimore's Kosher Subway is open today. A private preview gathering was held last Thursday night, Peninah and I were fortunate enough to attend along with mostly Star-K employees and friends of the owners, and I got a chance to sample some of Subway's sandwiches. I was very impressed, especially by the breads and the selection of toppings.
Many people have remarked to me that they think Subway will have a tough time competing with other local delis like Accents and The Knish Shop. While I agree that they will face competition, from what I've seen Subway does have some unique aspects to it that set it apart:
- parve cheeze
- a wide assortment of breads and toppings (the garlic bread is amazing)
- the Subway name (which doesn't matter much to frum Jews, but will bring non-frum business)
- a very nice and spacious location, with free wifi
- items not available at other locations, such as the meatball sub with cheeze
As such, I think there's plenty of room for a kosher Subway in the local market.
In the interests of full disclosure, I'd like to make it clear that I've received no compensation from Subway (other than the free samples I got last night). I like the food and I like the fact that mainstream American franchises are going kosher. I had kosher Cinnabon and Subway this week; I think it's a signal of where things are going, and I hope it continues.
April 4, 2008
Steffi's Place is a new kosher Bed and Breakfast located in Ocean City, MD. The B&B is owned and operated by Stephanie and Andy Becker of Baltimore, and is located one block from the Chabad of Ocean City, and is open year round. Service includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, certified by R. Y. Zvi Weiss of Baltimore. The menu looks quite diverse, and there is mention of scotch on Shabbos, which is always a plus.
A one-day stay at Steffi's Place is $109 per person; they also have a Thursday-Sunday Shabbos package which is $325 per person (keep in mind this includes all meals). For reservations, visit their website.
April 2, 2008
The following letter was sent out to the Yeshivat Rambam parent body today. It contains a more complete outline of the evalution process and the work of the visioning committee, along with a summary of the conclusions and decisions. It's a very clear and concise summary of what was presented at the meeting; it does not address any of the questions that have been raised since the meeting, but does lay out the process and rationale behind the decision that abrogates some of those questions.