Articles From November 2016



Chaya Aviva Katz

Who was my mother?

We honestly had no idea until a few short weeks ago. We did know that she was part of the chevra kaddisha, a teacher, friend, counselor, Bnos advisor, and primarily, our mother. Growing up in the Kleiner house, it was the norm to have countless people staying over for just a night or sometimes much longer, whether it was for fertility treatments, hospital stays, or dating.

Our house was also command-central for 35 years’ worth of high school girls. As high school Bnos advisor, my mother stayed dedicated to keeping them busy – to giving them fun in a good, “kosher” environment. There were chol hamoed trips with boating and biking in Washington on Succos. Chanuka chagiga, Great Adventures on Pesach, ice skating, and renting out the beach on the last day of school. Whether it was Levindale on Shabbos afternoons or shalosh seudos at different girls’ houses, my mother knew how important it was for girls to enjoy themselves and each other in the right ways.

For us, Shabbos was about delivering soup and challa to specific neighbors. We made sheva brachos and supper for others. She would have us do the deliveries or bring us along, telling us how lucky we were to be a part of the mitzva. There was no fanfare – we did it because this was all just part of how we grew up. In our younger years, breakfast time was story time. There were stories of gedolim as we ate, and each day when we left for school she would say perek 19 of Tehillim with us.


Baltimore Simcha Initiative: Making Local Weddings Affordable


Traditionally, weddings are made in the hometown of the bride. Lately, some families have chosen to make their weddings in other communities such as Lakewood or New York because they feel the event will cost less money that way. Because these venues have a greater volume of simchas, among other factors, they are able to keep their prices down.

Some Baltimore askanim are determined to change this. They want families to be able to make their simchas here. These askanim feel that there is no reason why we can’t work together to create opportunities for the same discount packages, with even greater value, right here at home!

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“Thank You for Coming”

place cards

No, really…thank you for coming. Because I’ve been that woman in the minivan with the cracker crumbs and the car seats and the fighting. Before DVDs in the car and after DVDs in the car. And I’ve been that woman who got up at 4:30 a.m. to catch the only Spirit flight of the day. I’ve been that woman who wanted nothing more on a Shabbos morning than to roll over and go back to sleep. And I’ve even been that woman who, for whatever reason, found it painful to be your simcha, but came anyway. Because I couldn’t imagine you celebrating a milestone and not being there to share it with you.

And now here you are doing the same for me. Leaving your home, your family (or bringing them with you – I’m not sure which is harder!), your comfortable bed and routine to be there for me at my simcha. I understand the sacrifice, big or small, and I truly appreciate it. And I want you to know just how much.

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Sheva Brachos Menu

fancy meal

Mazel tov! You’ve agreed to host a sheva brachos. As always, let me just remind you that everyone coming just wants to have a good time, so whatever you do, they’ll enjoy it and be so grateful to you for hosting. Here are some different and fun recipes to showcase your fun and frisky side as you wish the happy new couple years of simchas.

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Always Maalin B’Kodesh Greta Schlossberg, a”h


November 7, 2016, Baltimore, Maryland

This Shabbos Breishis, we lost our Mom, Gella bas Ze’ev, Greta Schlossberg, a”h.

Mom was not well and has been out of the public eye for many years, but old-time Baltimoreans will remember well her beautiful smile, happy disposition, kindness, and, of course, her music. For over 20 years, she led Bais Yaakov school choirs and played the piano accompaniment at Bais Yaakov and TA events and graduations. She also taught music to thousands of children in the Beth Jacob Sunday school. She wrote plays and cantatas as well as poetry and songs. Many readers will also remember her amazing garden. In everything she did, Mom was maalin bekodesh, using her talents and energy to rise ever higher on the ladder of holiness.

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Life is Not Our Classroom , Homeschooling 2016


In the most recent issue of the Where What When, Devora Schor wrote an article about homeschooling entitled “Life is our Classroom.” The piece concludes with the statement, “When you homeschool, life is your classroom.” I appreciated the article about homeschooling and enjoyed reading about the different homeschooled children within our community. That said, I was bothered by both the title and the conclusion. “Life is our classroom” is a beautiful idea for anyone, student or otherwise, but to think that it succinctly sums up homeschooling is simply inaccurate. Once beyond elementary age, the child who is being schooled by “life” will be uneducated. What are the chances that a child will encounter calculus, physics, and numerous other academic disciplines through “life”? Even high school-aged homeschoolers who are following what is termed the “unschooling” learning philosophy would question whether “life is our classroom.” For high school students, homeschooled or otherwise, you need much more.”

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“Life Is Our Classroom”


Home schooling has always fascinated me. When my children were growing up and had various difficulties in school, I often thought that I should just keep them at home. But, it never went further than a thought. I was too timid to buck the trend and do something so unusual. I also could not imagine having my children home all day. I liked the comfort and structure of having them in school. Besides, it was scary to have the full responsibility of bringing up my children by myself! Home schooling was too radical to even consider.

But home schooling has become a part of my life, now, because two of my granddaughters, ages five and eight, are being home schooled. I decided to find out more about it from the perspective of the home schooler – and the home schooled.

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Dreams Come True: Journey to Bnei Brak: The Aliyah of the Friedman Family

bnei barak

In this time of terrorism, hatred, and incitement against Jewry worldwide, a sense of security is very much lacking in a majority of people’s lives. Where can one turn and receive reassurance? A corner of security however, can be found in the city of Bnei Brak. Known as “a city of Torah,” its great number of giants in Torah grant protection to the city’s inhabitants. As the Chazon Ish promised a few generations ago, “A missile won’t fall in Bnei Brak.”

Located on Israel’s central Mediterranean coastal plain, Bnei Brak has seen much change from its agricultural start in 1924. Over the years, an urban shape took form, and today, there is even a large Coca-Cola bottling factory at its entrance. Bnei Brak also contains a frum hospital, Memayanai Hayeshua.

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Peregrine’s Landing at Tudor Heights: Where Homey Assisted Living and Tradition Meet

tudor heights

By the time I got to Peregrine’s Landing at Tudor Heights, shortly before 10 a.m. on Friday, preparations for Shabbos were already in full swing. Several pairs of Shabbos candlesticks were set up on a beautiful granite-topped chest of drawers in the synagogue (doubles as an events room), where residents were watching a Shabbat Tunes video. In the adjoining lobby, the spunky director of activities, Goldie Milner, was dancing to the music with a sweet resident named Anita. Permeating the air was the aroma of succulent roasted chicken and a hearty, meaty cholent – kosher, of course – prepared by former King David Hotel executive chef, Menashe Shabtai who is now the facility’s director of dining services and head Star-K Kosher Certification mashgiach.

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Fair Share and Welfare


 There has been a lot of talk the past eight years about “income inequality,” a term which means that some people in our society have excessive amounts of money while others struggle to meet their needs. While that may be true, instead of thinking about creative ways to attack this complicated problem, the liberal left, Robin Hood-like, zeroes in on something called “income redistribution.” In other words, the solution is higher taxes on big earners and corporations in order to transfer that money to low income people via expanded welfare.

Many Americans receive such welfare in the form of food stamps, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing. Given this reality, the question I want to discuss here is, does it really pay to work for a living and shell out for taxes, or is it better to just live on the dole?

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