Baltimore’s urban farm initiative, Pittsburgh shooting survivor, L.A. hate crime and more

Arts-focused urban farm initiative coming to Baltimore

A new state initiative will bring an urban farm to a vacant lot in West Baltimore, but instead of growing fruits and vegetables to eat, the focus will be on plants that can be turned into natural dyes for artists, Gov. Larry Hogan’s office announced Nov. 28. The inspiration comes from the governor’s trade mission to Asia in 2015, and a 2017 visit by first lady Yumi Hogan to her native South Korea, where she toured the Natural Dyeing Cultural Center in Naju, according to Baltimore Fishbowl. A delegation from the center came to the area earlier this year to demonstrate natural dyeing for potential partners in the farm. Indigo, beets, onions, marigolds and the state flower, the Black-eyed Susan, are among the crops that will be grown on the plot of land at 731 Ashburton St., which is currently owned by Coppin State University.

Read more: An arts-focused urban farm initiative is coming to Baltimore

Janet Kurland

Janet Kurland believes that attitude is key to healthy aging and healthy caregiving.
(Photo provided by Jewish Community Services)

JCS’ Janet Kurland retires

In local Jewish communal circles, Janet B. Kurland is considered a true icon and a paragon of commitment and compassion among her colleagues and associates. For the past 42 years, the spunky, sprightly Kurland has been a fixture at Jewish Community Services, having long ago established herself as the “go-to person” for all matters pertaining to the care and well-being of older adults. But on Nov. 29, Kurland, 88, a Pikesville resident, will retire from JCS. “For me it’s been a remarkable journey, both with my [own] family and with my professional family, because they’re both an integral part of my life experience,” she said. “The 42 years I’ve been working in gerontology, I’ve seen it change. We are living longer, and we’re really living healthier, but we’re also needing different kinds of help along the way to keep living as independently as possible.” In addition to her work as a senior care specialist at JCS, Kurland has taught at the Odyssey Certificate Aging Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Continuing Education for two decades, as well as at Towson University and the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

Read more: Janet Kurland to Retire from Jewish Community Services

Also see: Community Thoughts and Wishes for Janet Kurland

Driver charged with hate crime in attempt to run down Jews outside L.A. synagogue

A 32-year-old Seattle man was charged with a hate crime for allegedly attempting to run over two people outside of a Los Angeles synagogue. Mohamed Mohamed Abdi, 32, a Somalia native who reportedly is a U.S. citizen, was charged Nov. 27 with two felony counts and a hate crime. He pleaded not guilty and is being held on $55,000 bail. Abdi reportedly had been in the Los Angeles area for just a few days before the Nov. 23 attack. It is believed that he acted alone and was not connected to a terror group. A security camera video shows Mohamed trying to run down the two men, ages 37 and 57, leaving the Bais Yehuda Shul, and then reversing and trying to hit them again. The victims wore clothing typically worn by Orthodox Jews on Shabbat. The driver also reportedly shouted anti-Semitic epithets at them. He was stopped when his car ran a stop sign and slammed into another vehicle. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said the fact that the two men realized that the driver was deliberately accelerating while driving in their direction saved their lives, CNN reported. If convicted, Mohamed faces a maximum sentence of eight years and eight months in state prison.–JTA

Tree Of Life synagogue

A Jewish emergency crew and police officers at the site of the mass shooting at the Tree Of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Oct. 28, 2018. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh shooting victim released from hospital

A 70-year-old worshipper who was critically injured in the shooting attack last month at the Tree of Life synagogue building was released from a Pittsburgh hospital. Daniel Leger went from the hospital to its rehabilitation facility, from where he was discharged on Nov. 26, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. His discharge came on the day of the shloshim for the victims, marking 30 days since their deaths. Leger, a retired nurse and chaplain at the hospital that treated him, was shot in the chest. He is a member of Dor Hadash, one of the three Jewish congregations that was holding services in the building at the time of the Oct. 27 attack by a lone gunman, and lives in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood where the complex is located. Pittsburgh police and SWAT operator Timothy Matson, 40, remains hospitalized, from several gunshot wounds and is listed in stable condition. Three other police officers were injured in the shooting. Andrea Wedner, 61, who was shot in the arm, was released from the hospital earlier this month. Her mother, Rose Mallinger, 97, was killed in the attack. —JTA

Also see: Coverage of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting & Other Recent Mass Shootings

72 Jewish groups call on Congress to pass bills to combat anti-Semitism

Jewish groups can at least unite on the effort to stop anti-Semitism. Seventy-two of them, including from all the major religious streams, have urged Congress to pass two bills with that goal. The organizations sent a letter Nov. 27 to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in their push for the measures. The Anti-Defamation League organized the letter, which was signed by organizations representing the Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative and Orthodox streams as well as the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federations of North America.

Read more: 72 Jewish groups call on Congress to pass bills to combat anti-Semitism

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