CHAI’s new CEO, Baltimore Co. police chief retiring and the return of ‘Mrs. Maisel’

Lisa Budlow

Lisa K. Budlow of CHAI: “Our main strengths are our professional team and our community connections.” (Photo Provided)

CHAI has new CEO

Lisa K. Budlow was recently named the chief executive officer of CHAI. An agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, CHAI operates with the mission of strengthening neighborhoods “with a significant Jewish presence by developing and enhancing housing, affecting community development, and supporting aging-in-community,” according to its website. A Randallstown High School graduate, Budlow previously served as CHAI’s interim CEO and chief operating officer. Prior to coming to CHAI two-and-a-half years ago, Budlow served as chief program officer at the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies and worked in the community services division of Catholic Charities of Baltimore. After graduating in 1993 from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, she worked as a mergers and acquisitions attorney at the Miles & Stockbridge law firm.

Read the interview: CHAI’s New CEO Plans to Help Neighborhoods Grow Meaningfully

Baltimore Co. police chief to retire

After more than 13 combined years at the helm of the Baltimore County Police Department, Chief Terrence Sheridan plans to retire in the middle of next year, newly installed County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. announced Dec. 5. Sheridan, who stepped in after Chief James Johnson retired with about a month’s notice in early 2017, will stay on the job for six more months. In the meantime, the county executive’s office said it will conduct a national search for his replacement, according to Baltimore Fishbowl. Sheridan worked for the Maryland State Police for more than 30 years, rising to leadership positions with special operations and drug enforcement, before he was appointed chief of BCPD in 1996. He held the position until 2007, when he was appointed superintendent of the Maryland State Police. In 2011, he stepped away from that job to become a law enforcement adviser for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Intelligence and Analysis Section, but returned last January after Johnson stepped down.

Read more: Baltimore Co. police chief to retire, national search for his replacement underway

Torah scrolls burn in Cape Town synagogue fire
A massive fire gutted a synagogue in Cape Town, South Africa, burning seven Torah scrolls. No one was injured in the blaze Dec. 4 at Beit Midrash Morasha, also known as Arthur’s Road Shul, in Sea Point. The cause has yet to be determined. While some speculated that the fire was sparked by Chanukah candles, the fire team told synagogue officials that it started in the roof. Investigators told the South Africa Jewish Board of Deputies that they have not found any signs of foul play. Four fire engines, 22 firefighters, an aerial vehicle and rescue personnel responded to the fire, according to local news reports.

Read more: Fire guts a Cape Town synagogue, burning 7 Torah scrolls

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, circa 1946. (Central Press/Getty Images)

Einstein’s ‘God Letter’ sells at auction for nearly $3 million

A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein on religion, his Jewish identity and his search for meaning in life was sold at auction for nearly $3 million — more than seven times the amount from a decade ago. Einstein wrote what was dubbed “The God Letter” to philosopher Eric Gutkind, in 1954. It sold Dec. 4 at Christie’s for $2,892,500, nearly doubling the estimated sale price. “The word God is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends,” Einstein wrote. “For me the unadulterated Jewish religion is, like all other religions, an incarnation of primitive superstition,” the letter also said. “And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong, and in whose mentality I feel profoundly anchored, still for me does not have any different kind of dignity from all other peoples. In 2008, the letter was sold at auction to a private collector for $404,000. –JTA

‘Mrs. Maisel’ returns

The second season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” a show about a young Jewish housewife turned aspiring comedian that won eight Emmy Awards in the fall, premiered Dec. 5 on Amazon Prime. Early reviews, which point to how the show continues to explore sexism and female empowerment, have been pretty marvelous, too. Rachel Brosnahan stars as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, who lives on New York City’s very Jewish Upper West Side in the 1950s. Created by “Gilmore Girls” showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino, and inspired by her Jewish comedian father, the show features jokes about brisket, dreidels and mezuzahs. The second season, which starts with the show’s stars on a detour in Paris, opens with a Barbra Streisand tune. It also features a Yom Kippur service and a visit to the Borscht Belt Catskills, among other delightfully Jewish moments. You can watch the entire first and second season on Amazon Prime. —JTA. 

Don’t miss the best of Jmore each week. Go to to sign up for our weekly Jmore Newsletter and This Week in Baltimore Eating newsletter.