The organized Jewish community gets hip to city living

“Communities come into being when and where a critical mass of people choose to live, for whatever reason. Communal institutions sometimes materialize in anticipation of people’s arrival, and sometimes they follow or catch up to them.” — Gilbert Sandler, “Jewish Baltimore: A Family Album” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000)

One could say that Sandler, a longtime Baltimore City resident and community observer, was prescient on this matter, particularly concerning Jewish communal institutions catching up to their constituents in downtown Baltimore.

While young Jews have been steadily streaming into such city neighborhoods as Canton, Fells Point, Federal Hill, Charles Village and Mount Vernon for about 20 years, it’s only within the past decade that agencies and programs of the organized Jewish community have been gaining footholds in the downtown area.

Of course, this would exclude the Jewish Museum of Maryland compound, which features the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue and B’nai Israel Congregation, as well as the headquarters of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

But with the 2010 Baltimore Jewish Community Study commissioned by The Associated, various communal institutions recognized the need to set up shop downtown and, to paraphrase the old adage, meet young Jews where they live.

Jmore offers four examples of this growing trend: a pair of Jewish groups determined to whet the appetites of young Jewish urban dwellers in search of fellowship and social action, and a synagogue preschool and an outpost of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore reaching out to young Jewish families in need of services and a sense of community.

Read the package:

In The House! — The Moishe House offers informal Jewish programming to millennials living in pockets of the city.

Playtime in the City — The Downtown Baltimore JCC brings a sense of Jewish community to Federal Hill.

Repair and Relevance — Repair the World: Baltimore taps into millennials’ desire to find meaningful community service opportunities.

Urban Learnin’ Beth El @ Federal Hill offers convenience, individualized care and a warm and welcoming environment.

Editor’s note: Planting Seeds in the City 

Publisher’s note: Choosing to Live in the City

Top photo: Samantha Sperber paints at a Repair the World activity. (Photo by Evan Cohen)

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