Remembering those we’ve lost, Baltimore community meetings and more

Sima Ruth Blue

Sima Ruth Blue “could really read people,” says former Trillium co-worker Paula LeBow. “She was a rare breed.”
(photo from Facebook)

Remembering Sima Ruth Blue of Trillium

For almost 27 years, Sima Ruth Blue helped to outfit many of Baltimore’s most fashionable women. The owner of Trillium LTD, a high-end women’s boutique in Green Spring Station that closed last December, Blue, a Pikesville resident, died of liver cancer on Feb. 3. She would have turned 77 on Feb. 5. Blue’s funeral, conducted by Chizuk Amuno Congregation’s Senior Rabbi Joshua Z. Gruenberg and Chazzan Emanuel C. Perlman, was held at Sol Levinson & Bros. on Feb. 4. A Baltimore native and Chizuk Amuno congregant, Blue, whose maiden name was Rosenthal, attended Forest Park High School and earned a master’s degree in liberal arts from Johns Hopkins University. She started her career as a social worker and addictions counselor at the Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund (now known as The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore). In 1986, Blue left the federation to start the men’s personal shopping department at Macy’s department store locations around the state. By 1992, Blue was ready for a career move. She purchased Trillium in 1992 when she was 50. (The store was founded in 1979).

Read more: Sima Ruth Blue, Former Owner of Trillium, Dies at 76

Former Baltimore Hebrew University president dies

Rela Mintz Geffen, a sociologist who undertook pioneering studies about the expanding roles of women in Jewish life and ritual, and the often unacknowledged complexity of the modern Jewish family, has died. She was 75. Geffen died Feb. 3 in Philadelphia. The cause was multiple organ failure, according to family members. She was the sixth president of Baltimore Hebrew University, from 2000 to 2007, and was a professor emerita of sociology. Geffen taught sociology at Gratz College in Philadelphia for many years, coordinated its program in Jewish communal service and served five years as dean for academic affairs. Her major fields of interest were sociology of religion, the family and gender roles, and often focused on the Conservative movement. At the time of her death, she was working on a qualitative study of Jewish grandparenting.

Read more: Rela Mintz Geffen, Former Baltimore Hebrew University President, Dies at 75

Commissioner-Designate Harrison to hold community meetings this month

According to Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Police Commissioner-Designate Michael S. Harrison will participate in nine community meetings — one in every police district — starting on Feb. 11, weeks before the city council is scheduled to consider his candidacy, Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office announced Feb. 4. Harrison will become acting commissioner on Feb. 11, the date of the first meeting, which will be held at Forest Park High School from 7-9 p.m.

The rest of the schedule is:

  • Dorothy I. Height Elementary School on Feb. 12 from 7-9 p.m.
  • Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School on Feb. 13 from 7-9 p.m.
  • Fort Worthington Elementary/Middle School on Feb. 14 from 7-9 p.m.
  • Frederick Douglass High School on Feb. 15 from 7-9 p.m.
  • Wildwood Elementary/Middle School on Feb. 19 from 7-9 p.m.
  • Patterson Park Public Charter School on Feb. 20 from 7-9 p.m.
  • Poly-Western High School on Feb. 21 from 7-9 p.m.
  • Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School on Feb. 22 from 7-9 p.m.

Spanish interpreters will be present at the meetings at Forest Park High School, Patterson Park Public Charter School and Poly-Western High School.

Read more: Commissioner-Designate Harrison will have community meetings in every police district this month

Also see: Michael Harrison’s proposed $275K salary would be a big bump from his pay in New Orleans

Israel begins construction of 40-mile-long steel barrier to surround Gaza

Israel has begun construction on a 40-mile-long steel barrier that will surround the Gaza Strip in an effort to prevent terrorist infiltration. The construction of the 20-foot-high barrier was announced Feb. 3 by the Defense Ministry. The barrier is slated to be finished by the end of this year. It will connect to the new sea barrier being built by the Israeli army. The barrier will have sensors to provide a warning if an infiltrator attempts to breach it. It sits atop a wall reaching several yards underground and is meant to prevent terror tunnels from being dug from Gaza into Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Feb. 3 called the barriers necessary to “prevent the infiltration of terrorists into our territory.”–JTA

Bratwurst Museum coming to Buchenwald

A city in Germany has approved plans for a sausage museum to be built on the grounds of a former concentration camp. The national Bratwurst Museum would be built in an area that used to belong to the “Martha II” camp – an extension of the infamous Buchenwald, whose American liberators described as “hell on Earth,” the MDR news site reported. The Muhlhausen City Council backed the plan on Jan. 31, spurring protests from the Jewish community and several liberal lawmakers in Thuringia, the state where Muhlhausen is located. “A place where barracks stood isn’t suitable for frying bratwurst,” said Reinhard Schramm, chairman of the Jewish Community of Thuringia. In January 1945, the German Nazis began to evacuate Auschwitz and other camps in Eastern Europe, bringing tens of thousands of Jewish prisoners to Buchenwald and its extensions, including hundreds of children.–JTA

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg in Hollywood, Calif., Nov. 18, 2018. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Spielberg family restaurant to reopen

Steven Spielberg’s family will reopen a Los Angeles kosher restaurant two years after the death of the famed director’s mother, who had run the place for 40 years. The Milky Way will relaunch Feb. 18, according to Eater. The restaurant had closed in early 2017 following the passing of Leah Adler, who had operated the establishment with her husband. Adler had “an unstoppable energy and a fiery confidence that was reflected in the halls of The Milky Way,” the family said in a statement. Bookshelves and family photos will line the walls of the reopened restaurant, which has the look of a living room. One hallway features the framed movie poster of “Schindler’s List,” Spielberg’s iconic and Academy Award-winning 1993 Holocaust film.—JTA


Hank Greenberg bat

A Hank Greenberg bat from 1937 is up for auction. (Leland’s)

Hank Greenberg bat sells for $25K

A bat used by Jewish Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg sold at auction for more than $25,000. The closed auction on the website of Lelands-Sports Memorabilia and Card Auctions did not say who is taking home the Detroit Tiger star’s wood bat, which was signed by 34 teammates from the 1937 club, for $25,063.20. Bidding started at $5,000. The lot description says “there is a deep ball mark near the crack at the top of the handle” and rates the bat’s use as “moderate.” Greenberg signed right above his name on the barrel of the bat. Greenberg, a first baseman and outfielder for the Tigers for 12 seasons in the 1930s and ’40s, hit 331 home runs in his career. Known as “Hammerin’ Hank” and the “Hebrew Hammer,” he had 1,276 runs batted in and a .313 lifetime batting average. Though he was not religiously observant, Greenberg sat out a game in 1934 during Yom Kippur at the height of the American League pennant race. He finished his baseball career in the 1947 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His playing days were interrupted by more than four years serving in the Army Air Corps, including during World War II. Greenberg died in 1986 at age 75.–JTA

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