Articles From January 2016

Crime Reduction in Baltimore


The start of 2016 is a good opportunity to speculate about where our city is heading, particularly by evaluating the past calendar year.  Too little attention has been given to Baltimore’s ranking: in August, it was announced that we went from fifth murder capital of the U.S. to second place.

This ranking should be of concern to entire fifth district, despite generally not seeing homicides in its neighborhoods. It means police and law enforcement are so tied up with murders elsewhere in the city that they cannot pay proper attention to the break-ins, car thefts, muggings, and other lower level criminal activity in our neighborhoods. And crime usually spills over, so the violence doesn’t remain contained in any specific areas, as we saw with the recent murder of a young adult on Pinkney Road.

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New Middos-Transformation Chabura Forming


The Baltimore community is fortunate to have benefited from Mrs. Esther Badian’s Torah wisdom for decades, through her teaching in Bais Yaakov High School, in Maalot, and in Women’s Institute of Torah (WIT). Now our community can learn how to practically transform Torah principles into perfected middos (character traits), as she utilizes her teaching and pastoral counseling skills to facilitate her middos-transformation chaburas (groups).

As Rebbetzin Lea Feldman told WWW, “Esther Badian is a thinking person who is very much aware of the neshama of a human being and what we were created for – to improve ourselves. There is no human being who doesn’t have to perfect his middos – no matter how good you are, no matter how wonderful your middos are, there is always something that one can work on and improve on. Mrs. Badian has a feel for this. She can size up people and help people... I recommend her very highly.”

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Leveraging Food Psychology – and Avoiding Mindless Eating


Do you have a hard time getting your family members to eat leftover cholent on Sunday night? What if simply calling it something else could increase their interest in this leftover fare? How about “Tasty Bean Stew” or “Classic Old-World Goulash”?

Dr. Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab and a well-known expert in consumer behavior relating to food and nutrition, calls this strategy “menu magic.” He has documented how descriptive words with sensory appeal – such as “succulent” or “herb encrusted” – can influence our appetite and our desire to eat certain foods.

We’ve all seen how restaurants and food merchandisers take full advantage of this principle, and similar ones, to stoke consumers’ appetites. But some of these same ideas, distilled from the work of Wansink and others, can also help to decrease mindless eating. They can help you naturally self-regulate the amount of food you consume and arrive at the balance that is just right for you. In other words, you can remove or mitigate some of the environmental cues that lead you to overeat.

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Reaching Out in Times of Illness: An Overview of Baltimore Chesed Organizations

sick child

We hope and pray that we should never need it, but as a community, we are grateful to know that the resources are in place if someone is, chas v’shalom, facing serious illness. How do the services offered help in such a devastating situation?

The Matthew family of Detroit can answer these questions all too well, as their daughter, Shifra Tzirel, known as Shiff, was diagnosed with a serious illness. Baruch Hashem, Shiff is in remission now. I asked her mother, Soro Leah, who grew up in Baltimore, how she felt about all the help she and her family received from the Detroit community .

“There is no way I could have managed without it,” Soro Leah says. “The community arranged for my family to get suppers every single night for the entire year. At first, I was reluctant to take it because I thought that maybe some nights I wouldn’t need it, but the woman , who was arranging everything, convinced me that if I got supper one night and I didn’t actually need it, I could relax a little, and that was also okay. She also told me that she never had to call people to make meals, people just approached her.”

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