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BJCC Events 2023

 

BJCC Christmas Day Potluck Dinner and Movie, December 25

The BJCC will hold our annual Christmas Day pot luck dinner. Given the decades-old tradition of having Chinese food on Christmas, everyone is encouraged to bring a Chinese dish to share. This is not essential and all appetizers, entrees, side dishes, desserts and drinks are welcome.

 

Around 6:00PM, we will dim the lights and show An American Pickle, starring Seth Rogen (playing two parts), Sarah Snook, and Molly Evenson.

BJCC Chanukah Celebration, December 10

Potato latkes. Zucchini latkes. All you can eat. That’s the way the BJCC will be celebrating Chanukah this year. We will provide the latkes, sour cream, and applesauce. Along with your appetites, please bring other food to share, including side dishes, desserts, and drinks. DO NOT BRING SOUR CREAM OR APPLESAUCE. Please bring ONLY dairy or vegetarian dishes. In addition, remember to bring your menorahs and candles for a group candle-lighting on the fourth night.

Hebrew Braille Talk, October 29

Rabbi Lenny Sarko is the spiritual leader of the Reform Congregation Emanu-El Israel in Greensburg, PA. He received smicha (rabbinical ordination) from the Rabbinical Seminary International in New York City. After losing some of his vision in 2016, Rabbi Sarko and a dedicated group of his CEI congregants embarked on an ambitious mission to create and run a Hebrew braille program that today ranges from producing/lending braille Sifrei Torah (Torah scrolls) and Hebrew/English braille siddurim (prayer books) to providing virtual/in-person Hebrew braille tutoring for Jews with low vision/blindness across the US and internationally.

BJCC member Robyn Hughes was interviewed by the Baltimore Jewish Times about this upcoming talk on Jewish braille. The article is available through this link: https://www.jewishtimes.com/baltimore-jewish-cultural-chavurah-to-explore-hebrew-braille-at-upcoming-lecture/

Jewish Humor & Culture in MAD Magazine, October 13

The BJCC will screen the video “Jewish Humor & Culture in MAD Magazine,” a talk by Rabbi Kenny Weiss. Weiss is the rabbi and executive director for Houston Hillel. Kenny is also a lecturer in religious studies at the University of Houston. Prior to arriving at Houston Hillel in 2001, Kenny served as a congregational rabbi in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and D.C.

 

From 1952 - 2019 MAD magazine was an influential source of satire on American culture and

a real cornerstone in the lives of many Baby Boomers. Most of MAD’s founders and many of its writers and artists were Jewish.  Rabbi Weiss will illustrate (so to speak) the ways in which Jewish culture appeared in MAD and how that reflected the question of American Jewish identity the second half of the 20th century.

BJCC Pot Luck Dinner, September 22

We will gather for an informal, High Holidays-themed pot luck dinner. Everyone is encouraged to bring food containing apples and/or honey or other dishes you associate with the High Holidays. We will hold our regular, brief Friday night rituals, but please note that this will not be a High Holidays service.

High Holidays with Machar

Our sister organization, Machar Congregation of Greater Washington, has invited the BJCC to join them for High Holiday celebrations both in-person and online.

 

Their schedule is as follows:

 

Rosh Hashanah service - 10:30AM on September 16

Kol Nidre service - 7:30PM on September 24

Yom Kippur service - 10:30AM on September 25

 

These services will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Drive, Rockville, MD 20850. They will also be live-streamed (links not yet available).

 

The discounted cost for paid up BJCC members to attend Machar’s in-person services will be $50 per service. Whether or not there will be a cost for the live-streamed services has not been decided. See https://machar.org/holidays/ for registration details.

 

Other SHJ affiliates are also offering High Holidays programming that will be open to BJCC members and friends. For example, the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism of Fairfield County (Connecticut) will be doing a High Holidays program over their youtube channel. For details, see their website (https://humanisticjews.org/). Per Art Starr, who has seen their programming in the past, this program should be well-organized, meaningful, and feature wonderful music.

 

Orioles Game, August 27

Come join our friends from Chevrei Tzedek Congregation to cheer for the Orioles as they take on the Colorado Rockies. The game will be on Sunday, August 27 at 1:35 PM. The tickets are $20 each. The seats are in the upper deck, section 340 behind home plate, rows 22, 23, and 24. They are high up so they will be in the shade for most of the game. Deadline to order tickets is July 26.

 

BJCC Picnic/BBQ, June 25

BJCC invites both members and non-members to our annual picnic on Sunday, June 25 at 5:00PM.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers and beverages will be provided. Attendees should bring side-dishes or desserts to share. This event is free.

 

Antisemitism 2023: Alternative Views, May 19

On May 19, Fred Pincus will discuss alternative approaches to understanding antisemitism.

 

Is there a “new” antisemitism that is different from the more classic form? Is antizionism necessarily antisemitic?  Fred will compare the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism with the Jerusalem Definition.

The talk will be on Zoom and will begin at  7:30PM.

 

To view the documents go to https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/resources/working-definitions-charters/working-definition-antisemitism for the IHRA definition and  https://jerusalemdeclaration.org/ for the Jerusalem Declaration definition. 

Fred Pincus is an emeritus professor of sociology at UMBC where he taught about racial conflict and diversity for 44 years. He is the author of 5 books and numerous articles about prejudice and racism and is a founding member of the BJCC.

 

“Material/Inheritance: Contemporary Work by  NewJewish Culture Fellows”, May 17

A docent-guided tour of the exhibit “Material/Inheritance: Contemporary Work” will take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd St., Baltimore 21202) starting at 10:30 AM (participants should arrive at 10:15 AM). This is a new exhibition featuring 30 artists whose work has been supported by the New Jewish Culture Fellowship (NJCF), a national arts fellowship that advances the work of groundbreaking Jewish artists.

Featured Artists of the exhibit include: Hadar AhuviaJett AllenZoë AquaLiat BerdugoDanielle DurchslagJay Eddy, Laura ElkeslassyJulia ElsasDan Fishback, Fancy FeastBen GassmanAriel GoldbergShterna GoldbloomJake Goldwasser,  Adam GolferTom Haviv Adah HetkoRosza Daniel, Lang/LevitskyEllie LobovitsMichael McCanneTyler RaiNora RodriguezNaomi Safran-HonArielle SteinNat SufrinTatyana TenenbaumIra Khonen TempleKatz TepperDaniel Terna, Mariya Zilberman.

 

B’more Community Food, April 30

J.C. Faulk, the founder of B'more Community Food, a program of An End to Ignorance, Inc., will speak on Sunday, April 30, at 10:30AM via Zoom. B'more Community Food is one of our two tzedakah recipients this year. Faulk founded BCF during the pandemic and began by distributing food out of his car. The organization gathers food from restaurants, farms, and individual donors, distributing more than 1.7 million pounds of food in 2021. BCF is described as "one of the largest food rescue organizations exclusively serving our city." J.C. Faulk is a documentary producer and a diversity and inclusion consultant. An End to Ignorance "addresses racism, other isms and phobias". 

In-person Secular Passover Seder, April 9

We will be holding a secular humanistic seder on Sunday, April 9, 5:30 PM at the Summit Chase Clubhouse, 

Admission is free (donation accepted). Everyone attending is asked to bring a dish to share.  We will provide the entrée of Peruvian chicken and also beverages. If your dish needs heating, please bring a warming device.

Harvey Milk: Secular Humanist Role Model 2022-2023, March 26

The Society for Humanistic Judaism, the umbrella organization of the BJCC, has chosen Harvey Milk as its Secular Humanist Role Model for 2022-2023. Arlene Ogurick will discuss Milk’s life as a gay activist and member of San Francisco city council before his untimely assassination.

 

“The Founding Fathers Views of Religion: The Letter from George Washington to the Jews of Newport”, February 17

In honor of Presidents' Day weekend, on Friday, February 17, BJCC member David Saltzberg will present on "The Founding Fathers’ Views of Religion: The Letter from George Washington to the Jews of Newport".  He will discuss the status of the American Jewish community at the time of the American Revolution and how the community was impacted by the Founders' views of religion. We will read the foundational letter from Washington establishing religious and civil equality for religious minorities.

Presentation by Nneka N’namdi, founder of Stop Oppressive Seizures, a tzedakah recipient for 2022–2023, January 22

Nneka N’namdi will address the BJCC on Stop Oppressive Seizures (SOS), a subsidiary of Fight Blight Bmore, of which she both founded. In Baltimore City, people can lose their homes over unpaid bills or taxes as low as hundreds of dollars. SOS organizes against this situation. SOS is one of our two tzedakah recipients for the current fiscal year.

Martin Luther King Day Film and Discussion, January 15

Join the Baltimore Jewish Cultural Chavurah and other congregations and organizations in the Baltimore area for our 6th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. event of a movie screening, panel, and talkback on Sunday, January 15 at 1:00PM. The event will be held at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, 7401 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore 21208.

 

This year's event will feature the film "On These Grounds," an award-winning documentary that explores the school-to-prison pipeline by focusing on an explosive video of a white school resource officer in South Carolina throwing a Black teenager from her school desk. The movie explores what role race played in the incident, examining the disparate media coverage of the incident and the origins of criminalizing children's behavior in school. Our panel discussion will include speakers from the Office of the Public Defender, Baltimore Algebra Project, and Youth as Resources. 

Presentation on “Jewish Life Under Muslim Rule,” by Rabbi Judith Seid, January 6

Rabbi Judith Seid will speak on "The History of Jewish Life Under Muslim Rule" on Friday, January 6 at 7:30PM via Zoom. Judith is a secular rabbi, founder of the Baltimore Jewish Cultural Chavurah 24 years ago and now the founder/leader of a similar community in the Bay Area.

 

BJCC Events 2022

Christmas Day Pot Luck Dinner, December 25

The BJCC will resume our annual Christmas Day pot luck dinner at the home of Elise and David Saltzberg. Dinner will begin at 6:00PM. Given the decades-old tradition of having Chinese food on Christmas, everyone is encouraged to bring a Chinese dish to share. This is not essential and all appetizers, entrees, side dishes, desserts and drinks are welcome. Since it will be the last night of Chanukah, also bring menorahs and candles. ALL ATTENDEES MUST BE VACCINATED AND FULLY BOOSTED.

Chanukah Pot Luck Latke Party, December 18

Potato latkes. zucchini latkes. All you can eat (probably). That’s the way the BJCC will be celebrating Chanukah on Sunday, December 18 at 6:00PM at the home of Bob and Judy Jacobson. We will provide the latkes, sour cream, and applesauce. Along with your appetites, please bring other food to share, including main dishes, side dishes or desserts. DO NOT BRING SOUR CREAM OR APPLESAUCE. These will be provided. Also, remember to bring your menorahs and candles for our group candle-lighting on the first night. ALL ATTENDEES MUST BE VACCINATED AND BOOSTED.

 

Jews and Socialism, Part 2: The U.S. Experience,” Sunday, December 4, 10:30 AM

Although the United States has never produced a socialist movement comparable to the mass movements of Europe, socialism has held an appeal, in greater or lesser measures, for Jews across time. This talk surveys the engagement of Jews with socialism (broadly understood) from the 19th century to the present. Dr. Tony Michels will discuss these and other issues.

Jews and Socialism, Part 1: An Historical Overview, Sunday, November 13

Why were there so many Jews who were sympathetic to socialism in the latter portions of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century?  How and why do contemporary Jewish political attitudes differ from those of earlier generations?  The relationship of Jews to the left was a historically important phenomenon but this relationship was of limited duration. Dr. Jack Jacobs will discuss these and other issues.

Dr. Jacobs is chair of the doctoral program in political science at the City University of New York's Graduate Center, and Professor of Political Science at both John Jay College, CUNY, and the Graduate Center. He is the author of On Socialists and “the Jewish Question” after Marx (1992), Bundist Counterculture in Interwar Poland (2009), and The Frankfurt School, Jewish Lives, and Antisemitism (2015). He is also the editor of Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe: The Bund at 100 (2001) and of Jews and Leftist Politics (2017).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jews and Chocolate”, Friday. October 14, 7:30 PM

Arlene Ogurick, retired librarian and BJCC member will present details about the history of chocolate, its "Jewish connections", fascinating bits of chocolate trivia, and much more. Our main resource for this adventure will be On The Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao written by Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz. What roles did Jews play in bringing chocolate from New Spain and Africa? 

High Holidays program, Sunday, October 2, 6:30 pm

The BJCC will hold our High Holidays observance on Sunday, October 2 at 6:30PM. We will explore the themes of the High Holidays through readings and exercises, with opportunities for self-reflection and optional group sharing. Apples & honey will be provided. 

Pikesville Fall Festival at Quarry Lake, Sunday, September 18, 10:00 AM to 3 PM

The BJCC will have a table at the Pikesville Fall Festival at Quarry Lake. Look for us if you plan to attend.

“Ethics of the Father” by Bob Jacobson, Friday, September 9, 7:30 PM

Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot) is one of the oldest, shortest, and most popular texts in Judaism. BJCC member Bob Jacobson will summarize the book and talk about some of its guidelines for positive living that we can still learn from today.

“Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare”, Sunday, August 14, 10:30 AM

Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare, originally curated by the Jewish Museum Milwaukee and revised by JMM to accommodate social distancing and limited-contact interactives, is a multi-sensory exhibit that explores the intersection of politics, art, economics, and social dynamics that impacted our First Amendment rights of speech, religion, and assembly during Hollywood’s “red scare.” Through personal narratives of those who were blacklisted, members of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and film executives of the period, Blacklist examines the shifting definition of what it meant and means to be a patriotic American.

Blacklist takes on new relevance today. As free speech, journalism, and freedom of assembly resurface as rights in need of protection, Blacklist provides a look back at an era in which art, artistic expression, and speech were threatened.

We will take a virtual tour, via Zoom, of the exhibit. BJCC members will receive the link a few days before the event. Non-members should contact baltimoresecularjews@gmail.com to request the link.

Outdoor picnic and short hike in Patapsco State Park, Hilton Area, Sunday, July 10, 5:00 - 7:00 PM 

We will resume our annual outdoor picnic tradition at the Hilton Area of Patapsco Valley State Park in Catonsville. Those who wish to participate in a short hike guided by Robyn Hughes should meet at the All Sensory Trailhead, across from the Nature Center, at 5:00PM. The All Sensory Trailhead is clearly identified by a braille/print sign. The trail is semi-rugged and wooded with loose rocks and tree roots. Non-hikers should meet at Pavilion #201 at 5:30PM. Bring and eat your own food and drinks.

Field Trip to Aberdeen IronBirds Baseball on Jewish Heritage Day, Sunday, June 26

Come join your BJCC friends and members of other Jewish organizations aroundcentral Maryland for Jewish Heritage Day at Ripken Stadium for the Aberdeen IronBirds baseball game at 2:05PM.

Tickets are $22 each and can be ordered by contacting baltimoresecularjews@gmail.com

Deadline to order tickets is Monday, June 13, 2022.

If you missed the deadline to request tickets through the BJCC, The Baltimore Jewish Times is promoting Jewish Heritage Night that will take place at the Leidos Field in Ripken Stadium. Please see the article with information to purchase tickets: https://www.jewishtimes.com/get-ready-for-a-home-run-at-the-aberdeen-ironbirds-jewish-heritage-night-event/?fbclid=IwAR17oLsp16Q_9UAe_RTR7UcUXK_S4USTfFZ2r5BNw1r-ouF6juHx280TLbw

"The End of Roe v. Wade: A Jewish Perspective on Reproductive Rights." Tuesday, June 21, 7-9PM

Event at Chizuk Amuno Congregation, 8100 Stevenson Road in Pikesville and online.

The details of the program can be viewed by visiting: https://scontent-iad3-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t39.30808-6/287711969_10161886207359418_4998870157116026633_n.jpg?_nc_cat=101&ccb=1-7&_nc_sid=5cd70e&_nc_ohc=osb6y5s_VC0AX-a7IRC&_nc_ht=scontent-iad3-2.xx&oh=00_AT8slXE_-4uS8CZ0dlvbyWEE-qFcrLEDDHj_Bc4ul7YgLA&oe=62AA9E88

Please visit https://www.chizukamuno.org/event/the-end-of-roe-v.-wade-a-jewish-perspective-on-reproductive-rights-and-what-this-could-mean-for-our-country.html for more information and to register for the event.

Secular Judaism in Israel, a talk by Sivan Malkin Maas, Sunday, June 12, 10:30 AM

Rabbi Sivan Malkin Maas will be updating us on the realities of the Secular Humanistic Jewish Movement in Israel. 


Rabbi Maas is the director of Timura-IISH [International Institute for the Secular Humanistic Judaism] in Israel. In 2003, she was the first Israeli to be ordained as a rabbi in Humanistic Judaism. Her thesis was "How to build and develop a Secular Humanistic Jewish community in Israel."


She is the daughter of Yaakov Malkin, the Secular Humanistic Jewish role model for 2021/5782.

 

Maas founded the Institute for Training Secular Humanistic Rabbis and Jewish Leadership in Israel, which ordained its first group of secular rabbis in Israel in 2006 (five men and two women). She views a rabbi as "an educator, a counselor, an expert in Jewish culture . . . and an initiator and organizer of community events and a person involved in people's life-cycle events."

Jewish Public Opinion: A Review of Two Surveys, Friday, May 27, 7:30 PM

BJCC members Fred Pincus, Arlene Ogurick, and David Korn will discuss the results of two national opinion surveys that were recently released: “National Survey of Jewish Voters” (Jewish Electorate Institute) and “Jewish Practices and Customs (Pew Research Center).

 

Fred is a retired sociologist, Arlene is a retired librarian, and David is a federal government employee.

 

An Annual Update on Israeli Politics: Rabbi Jeremy Kridel, Friday, May 13, 7:30 PM

Rabbi Jeremy Kridel will share his thoughts about political developments in Israel via Zoom. A close observer of Israel, Jeremy is the Rabbi of Machar, our sister SHJ organization in Bethesda.

 

​In-person Secular Passover Seder, Sunday, April 24, 5:00 PM

We will be holding a secular humanistic seder on Sunday, April 24, 5 PM at the Summit Chase Clubhouse, 2405 Green Summit Rd. in Pikesville (see below for directions).

 

IMPORTANT:  Only people who have received anti-Covid vaccines and booster shots will be admitted.  People will be expected to wear masks when not eating or drinking.  If you have already RSVP’d you do not need to again.  If you have not already RSVP’d, please do so by April 21 to baltimoresecularjews@gmail.com.

 

Admission is free (donation accepted). Everyone attending is asked to bring a dish to share.  We will provide the entrée of Peruvian chicken and also beverages. If your dish needs heating, please bring a warming device.

 

Directions: 

From the north:  Take the Beltway or Old Court Rd. SOUTH to Greenspring Av., toward the City.  Pass Quarry Lake on right.  Take a left at the 2nd light onto Green Summit Rd.

Pass Chasemount, Stablemere, fields and swimming pool on the right, then right into the parking lot next to a one-level building. If you come to Diana Rd. you’ve gone a bit too far.

 

From the south:  Take Greenspring Av. NORTH toward the Beltway.  Just past Lighfoot, right onto Green Summit Rd., then follow directions above (lines 3 – 4).

“The Weaponization of Critical Race Theory,” co-sponsored with the Baltimore Ethical Society, by Fred Pincus, Sunday, April 3, 10:30 AM

Judy Jacobson will speak on several Torah portions, Friday, March 25, 7:30 PM

“Jews of the Land” by Rabbi Judith Seid, Friday, March 11, 7:30PM

When you think of Jewish farmers, you might think of the early pioneers and kibbutzniks in Israel. Or you might think of the chicken farmers in California or New Jersey. But did you know there was a Jewish agricultural settlement in Baltimore County?  Not to mention dozens of other places throughout the world. Come take a peek at the world of Jewish farmers through the centuries and help figure out why we aren’t farmers any more. The program begins at 7:30PM.

 

Judith is a secular rabbi and the founder of the BJCC who now leads a similar community in northern California.

The Expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal: What Happened Next?, Friday, February 25, 7:30PM

Presentation by Bob Jacobson on “The Expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal: What Happened Next?”  

The Secular Humanistic Jewish Role Model, Friday, February 11, 7:30 PM

Arlene Ogurick will lead a program on Yaakov Malkin, the Secular Humanistic Jewish Role Model for this year. 

“Examining the Fetus in Jewish Texts: Implications for the American Abortion Debate,” presented by Rabbi Rory Katz, Friday, January 28, 7:30 PM

According to the American Journal of Public Health, one in four women have had an abortion by the time they are 45. Abortion is a safe, essential component of health care and a basic human right. Sadly, we are living in a time where this right is being severely threatened. As we listen to the debate about abortion on the national stage, we are often given language that hampers discourse and that dehumanizes people who have abortions. In this session, Conservative Rabbi Rory Katz will guide us through a variety of Jewish texts which will provide us with a richer vocabulary for talking about abortion with greater nuance, sensitivity, and compassion.

 

Rabbi Katz is the spiritual leader of Baltimore’s Chevrei Tzedek Congregation. She was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2019

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