Community Articles

Baltimore’s Warmth Shines Through on Khal Chassidim’s Kollel L’Horo’ah


Mrs. Chava Temeral Ostreicher was already impressed with our community when I spoke to her, only five days after her move from Monsey, New York. She and her husband, a native of Williamsburg (in Brooklyn), are just one of the 21 pioneering chasidishe couples who will be living in town by Cheshvan, coming here to join Baltimore’s newest kollel: Khal Chassidim’s Kollel L’Horo’ah.

“I’m so amazed,” shared Mrs. Ostreicher, a mother of two, who was able to keep the school curriculum job she had in Monsey and work from home. “It’s such a nice community, and people here are so nice and so accepting. I love the way everyone lives for themselves, not because their neighbor or their friend does it. Everything they do is with purpose, not like some other places. You don’t feel peer pressure here. There are such special people. Everyone is so helpful, so kind, and so accepting. It is such a warm community and that’s what makes the adjustment much easier.”

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All about Shrek


Did you ever wonder about the meaning of the word “shrek”? European Yidden used it yeder Muntog und Dawnershtig! (every Monday and Thursday, i.e., often). Being constantly harassed by their “neighbors,” Yidden were in a state of shrek most of the time. Many books have been written regarding the terrible shrek experienced by Yidden during World War II because of the German chayess (animals) and their collaborators, which was beyond description.

By now, you have surely fathomed that the word shrek means fright, or fear. The former U.S. President F.D. Roosevelt put it this way: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” In Yiddish, the saying is similar but more expressive, as the word shrek is much more colorful than “fear.” It goes like this: Ess iz gornisht mit voss zich tsu shreken – oyser shrek.” Nu, you might disagree with his statement, especially after you take a hike in East Baltimore!

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Togetherness through Yachad


“Are you RiRi’s mom!?” asked my tablemate excitedly at Shabbos lunch this past January. I was in Florida with my daughter, Arianna (RiRi) Sharfman, my husband, Dr. William Sharfman, and hundreds of other Yachad runners and supporters at the 2015 Team Yachad Miami Marathon Shabbaton. What prompted this woman’s question was my casual comment that my daughter, Arianna, a senior at Beth Tfiloh High School, had participated in Yad b’Yad last summer. Yad b’Yad is a Yachad (NCSY) inclusion program that brings teens and young adults with special needs to Israel along with typical high school kids.

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The Landscape of Life


When Toby Friedman called to ask me to become a Torah mentor for Partners in Torah, my first reaction was one of uncertainty. Essentially, my attitude was encapsulated in the two simple words: Who, me? What did I have to offer that someone else couldn’t do better? Though I’d been blessed with a solid Bais Yaakov education, I was no wise, all-knowing rebbetzin with every answer at my fingertips. I was just a very human being with my share of flaws and inadequacies. Who, me? But there was an even stronger feeling that finally compelled me to accept the challenge

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Nursing Home Realities

nursing home


As adults, we all hope to age in place and exit the world as gracefully and painlessly as possible. As children, we all vow to care for our parents lovingly in our own homes as they weaken and lose their independence. Unfortunately, these beautiful scenarios are not always possible. Medical realities, insurance considerations, and family dynamics often preclude being able to fulfill these dreams. Indeed, the current norm is that about one in ten older people will spend their ebbing time in a nursing home.  



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I’m thinking of opening up a hotdog stand in the parking lot during carpool pickup. This is not for the benefit of the students but, rather, for the parents. You see, I’m not quite sure when this happened, but as the year progressed, carpool became a contact sport, for which I have season tickets. Two or three times a week, depending on how lucky I am, I get to drive carpool. (Believe it or not, there’s no sarcasm intended in that statement.) During this time, my van essentially turns into an end zone. The ringing of the school bell, which signals the culmination of another wonderful day of learning, has now become synonymous with the quarterback’s cry of “hut” as he snaps the ball. As each “team” comes racing across the field, carpool drivers brace themselves. Luckily, most afternoons the classes are dismissed at different times. However, on that rare occasion when they are not, all of the boys are trying to score at the same time. What is the goal? It is a seat. Which seat? A front row seat. How important is this? Very.

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