Suspicious packages at area synagogues, new development at Old Hilltop and the Word of the Year

Suspicious packages at area synagogues

Beth El Synagogue received an all-clear after Baltimore County Fire Department officials announced that Hazardous Materials teams and emergency medical service personnel were dispatched to the Pikesville congregation at 8101 Park Heights Ave. on Dec. 17, at approximately 12:45 p.m. The Hazmat teams and other emergency crews were reportedly called in after several people at one of Beth El’s administrative offices became mildly ill after a “suspicious package” was opened. Fire officials reported that the symptoms included dizziness and nausea, but the adults’ conditions were improving. In addition to Beth El, Baltimore County police officers were reportedly called shortly after 4 p.m. to Owings Mills’ Har Sinai Congregation for a suspicious envelope. Police said the temple, at 2900 block of Walnut Ave., received the letter a week ago and reported it to police today after receiving information of the incident at Beth El. According to WJZ-13, Beth Isaac Adath Israel Congregation in the 4300 block of Crest Heights also reported receiving a suspicious package.

Read more: Beth El Receives All-Clear After Receiving ‘Suspicious Package’

Pimlico Raceway

Pimlico Race Course (Photo by Joel Nadler)

A new Pimlico Race Course

Michael Olesker writes that plans for Old Hilltop include a four-level clubhouse for social and civic events, after-school and summer programs and meetings, plus a plaza area, a new track and infield – and facilities for year-round public concerts, performing arts, festivals and open-air markets. The Maryland Stadium Authority says it would cost $424 million to make the track suitable for continuous hosting of the Preakness Stakes. But first they’d have to spend about $100 million for new water lines, sewer pipes – and Old Hilltop’s demolition.

Read more: Saving Old Hilltop

Also see: What a new Pimlico Race Course could look like

Yael Stone

Actress Yael Stone attends a special screening of “The Dressmaker” in New York City on Sept. 16, 2016. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for London Fog)

Yael Stone accuses Geoffrey Rush of inappropriate sexual behavior

Australian Jewish actress Yael Stone, a star of the Netflix prison show “Orange is the New Black,” has accused actor Geoffrey Rush of inappropriate sexual behavior. Stone made the accusations in an interview with the Australian national broadcaster, as well as in an interview with New York Times columnist Bari Weiss published on the newspaper’s website on Dec. 16. Stone said that during the Belvoir St. Theatre’s 2010-11 production of “The Diary of A Madman” in Sydney, Rush danced naked in front of her in their dressing room, used a mirror to watch her while she showered and sent her erotic text messages.

Read more: Actress Yael Stone Accuses Geoffrey Rush of Inappropriate Sexual Behavior


Rare Jamaican ketubah to be sold at auction

A Jewish marriage contract from the year 1884 for a couple married in Kingston, Jamaica will be auctioned as part of a sale of “Important Judaica.” The Sotheby’s catalogue calls the item “An Exceedingly Rare Ketubah from Kingston, Jamaica, 1884.”  It is estimated to sell for $8,000 to $12,000 in the Dec. 19 auction. It is the first time that Sotheby’s has offered a ketubah from Jamaica. The ketubah marks the marriage of David ben Abraham Nunes Henriques and Amy bat Alfred Delgado in Kingston on Wednesday night, 23 Menahem Av 5644 (August 14, 1884). The bride’s grandfather, Moses Delgado, was a major figure in the history of Jewish Jamaica. President of the Kaal Kadosh Shahar Ashamaim, the Sephardic synagogue of Kingston, he was responsible for the successful campaign in 1831 granting full civil rights for Jews. By the close of the 18th century, Kingston was an important center of commerce with two functioning synagogues.  Kingston was mostly destroyed in an earthquake in 1907, making the document “a rare and historically valuable relic of nineteenth-century Caribbean Jewish life,” according to the auction catalog. Other ketubahs being auctioned are from places in Italy and Bayonne, France. The auction also includes Torah shields and crowns, seder plates, mezzuzot and menorahs, as well as rare Jewish books. —JTA 

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year

The publishing company has named “justice” as its Word of the Year for 2018 after it saw a 74 percent spike in look-ups compared to last year, according to CNN. “The concept of justice was at the center of many of our national debates in the past year: racial justice, social justice, criminal justice, economic justice,” the company said when explaining its choice. The move follows Oxford Dictionaries’ decision to crown “toxic” its word of the year, and’s selection of “misinformation” as its winner.

Read more: Why ‘justice’ prevailed in 2018, according to Merriam-Webster

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