Jewish Book Awards, Michael Phelps, Billy Joel, Rod Rosenstein and more

Dr. Deborah R. Weiner

Dr. Deborah R. Weiner  (Handout)

Baltimore Jewish History Book named award finalist

Jewish Book Council announced the winners of the 2018 National Jewish Book Awards on Jan. 9. The winners include the Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year recipients Beate and Serge Klarsfeld for their work “Hunting the Truth.” The Jewish Book Council noted that the Klarsfelds were hesitant at first to work on an autobiography, saying they lacked “talent for storytelling,” but were pleased with the final product. The winner in the American Jewish Studies category was “The New American Judaism: How Jews Practice Their Religion Today,” by Jack Wertheimer. Among the finalists in that category was “On Middle Ground: A History of the Jews in Baltimore,” by Eric L. Goldstein and Deborah R. Weiner.  “On Middle Ground” is the first academic study of the history of Jewish Baltimore since Isaac M. Fein’s “The Making of an American Jewish Community: The History of Baltimore Jewry from 1773 to 1920,” which was published by the Jewish Publication Society of America in 1971.

See the complete list of winners and finalists

Also see: Baltimore Jewish History Book Launched at Jewish Museum of Md. Event

And: Gilbert Sandler’s Introduction to ‘On Middle Ground: A History of Jews in Baltimore’

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps (Photo by Dustin Furman, PressBox)

Michael Phelps receives honor

Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer in Olympics history, will receive the Morton E. Ruderman Award for Inclusion of People with Disabilities. The Ruderman Family Foundation will honor Phelps in recognition of his advocacy for people with disabilities and the sharing of his own journey with mental health, the foundation said in a statement. Since he retired from swimming in August 2016, Phelps has dedicated his time and energy to promote the importance of water safety and normalizing the conversation surrounding mental health through the Michael Phelps Foundation. “In sharing his personal story with the world, Phelps has demonstrated the importance of taking care of oneself and accessing help when needed.  In a world in which shame and stigma are pervasive, Phelps’ leadership in advocacy, raising awareness and destigmatizing mental health is critical,” the statement said. Phelps has won 28 Olympic medals, including a record-setting 23 gold medals, over the course of his career.—JTA

Baltimore Colts

The Baltimore Colts were expected to demolish the New York Jets in the Super Bowl of 1969.

A dubious anniversary

Jan. 12 marks 50 years since the Baltimore Colts lost Super Bowl III 16 to 7 to the New York Jets. Michael Olesker asks:  Do we need a recount of the embarrassment felt by every Baltimorean – already preconditioned to feel inferior any time runty Bawlmer was compared with mighty New Yawk – when our powerhouse Baltimore Colts were knocked down by the upstart New York Jets in front of the whole disbelieving world? Do we need a reminder that this was the same year that our powerful Orioles would be upset by the previously awful New York Mets in the World Series? Do we need a reminder that in that same year our Baltimore Bullets – the fabulous Bullets of Earl Monroe and Wes Unseld and Gus Johnson – lost in the NBA playoffs to the New York Knicks? It still hurts, doesn’t it?

Read more: Recalling the Pain of Baltimore Sports Fans in ’69

Billy Joel

Billy Joel wearing a yellow Star of David during the encore of a show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Aug. 21, 2017. (Myrna M. Suarez/Getty Images)

Billy Joel to perform at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

According to a press release on, the musician will perform at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 26. Tickets go on sale Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. The press release stated that: The Orioles Charitable Foundation will donate a portion of the proceeds from the concert to support music and arts education programs for kids in Maryland and across the Orioles’ regional territory. “As an entertainment company bringing world class sports, music, and other diverse events to the live venues we manage and to our multimedia television, digital, and radio platforms, there is no greater opportunity than to bring a true music legend in Billy Joel to the ballpark and into our community,” said John Angelos, Orioles Executive Vice President. “Billy Joel and Oriole Park at Camden Yards are leaders across the entertainment world in selling tickets, driving tourism, and creating one-of-a-kind memories, and the Orioles are thrilled to make Camden Yards home to an iconic artist who generations of Americans have grown up with and who is still setting records today.”

The Orioles also made the announcement on Twitter:


Mike Miller’s health

Senate President Mike Miller showed up to work on Jan. 9, the first day of the General Assembly’s annual session, with a cane, and he hinted at additional ailments, according to WYPR. Miller, 76, said he needs the cane because of problems with his hip and knee. When a reporter asked whether he has other health concerns, he promised to disclose more information about his health on Jan, 10. “I plan to be president of the Senate for quite some time, and my health is very challenged, but we’re going to work through it,” he said.

Read more: Miller To Make Health Announcement

Oldest synagogue in D.C. moves for third time in 50 years

The oldest synagogue in Washington, D.C., is on the move again — the third time in 50 years after spending nearly a century in its original home. The building inaugurated in 1876 was moved to a site where it will be a part of the Capital Jewish Museum. Workers used dollies to move the structure on Jan. 9 a block and a half to the corner of 3rd and F streets in Washington’s Northwest quadrant. The move took two hours and was attended by city officials and rabbis, who delivered the traveling prayer before movers set the building on its way.

Read more: DC’s oldest synagogue moved for the third time in 50 years

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein  (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Rod Rosenstein Plans to Leave Position

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein expects to leave his position if a new attorney general is confirmed, he reportedly has told close associates. There are no concrete plans nor a timeline for his resignation, however, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The Post quoted its source as saying that Rosenstein is not being forced out and always saw the deputy attorney general job as one that would likely last two years. He also noted that Barr would want to hire his own team. Nominee William Barr served as U.S. attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under George Bush. His Senate confirmation hearing is set for next week and he could assume office by next month. Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections. President Donald Trump has been critical of the investigation. Barr also has been critical of the investigation including writing an Op-Ed defending Trump and in memo to Rosenstein criticizing Mueller’s “fatally misconceived” approach to investigating the president for possible obstruction of justice.–JTA

Government shutdown

Protesters in Philadelphia gather to urge an end to the government shutdown, Jan. 8, 2019. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Some assistance available for Jewish federal workers

The Hebrew Free Loan Association of Greater Washington approved an emergency program last week to provide loans of up to $2,000 per household to affected Jews living in the Washington, D.C., area. Several people have applied and two have been approved, the organization’s president, David Farber, told JTA on Jan. 9. The association has allocated some $30,000 to the program, and it’s reaching out to local synagogues and Jewish organizations to help in case the demand extends beyond that threshold. Some 800,000 federal employees are not being paid due to the government shutdown that started on Dec. 22 after President Donald Trump and the Democrats failed to reach a deal on whether to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In an effort to aid the struggling workers, the organization has expedited the approval process and relaxed some of its requirements for those seeking loans. Workers will have to pay back the loans when the shutdown ends; they are expected to receive their back pay.

Read more: Jewish Employees Affected by Shutdown are Getting Some Help

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