Pittsburgh synagogue helps mosque victims, Baltimore sues for Pimlico and more

Tree of Life synagogue raises more than $40K for New Zealand attack victims

The Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh is paying it forward. The congregation has raised more than $40,000 to support the victims and their families of the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. “We feel compelled to come to the aid of those communities, just as our Jewish community was so compassionately supported only a few short months ago by people around the world of many faiths,” the synagogue wrote on its GoFundMe page set up on March 16. “We recall with love the immediate, overwhelming support Tree of Life received from our Muslim brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh.” The funds will be transferred to an organization authorized to provide support to the Christchurch families and community, according to the synagogue. Until then, the money will be held by the Direct Impact Fund. Fifty Muslim worshipers were killed and at least 20 injured following shootings at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques on March 15.

Read more: Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue raises more than $40,000 for families of Christchurch mosque attack victims

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Pikesville basketball
The Pikesville basketball team celebrates after winning the school’s first state championship in basketball on March 16. (Photo by Jeff Seidel)

Pikesville Girls Team Wins 1st State Basketball Championship in School’s History

The Pikesville High School girls team won the first basketball state championship in the school’s 55-year history when defeating Smithsburg High School 61-31 on March 16 in the Class 1A title game at Towson University’s SECU Arena. The team never made the state final four until getting there last year and falling in the Class 1A state semi-final. This time, the Panthers advanced to the state championship game for the first time ever. The Pikesville boys twice reached the state final — in 1999 and 2000 — but lost both times. Two years ago, the Pikesville girls team won just four games. When Coach Michael Dukes took over before the start of the 2017-18 season, they became a stronger team and won 48 of 55 games over the last two seasons. This season, they finished with a 26-4 record, plus the Baltimore County, region and state championships. 

Read more.

Pimlico: Home of the Preakness (Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Delegate says Pimlico lawsuit shows city is serious about keeping Preakness

With persisting uncertainty surrounding the future of Pimlico Race Course in Northwest Baltimore, the city and a handful of Park Heights residents and officials are taking Ontario-based track operator the Stronach Group to court, in hopes of taking over the track and the Preakness Stakes outright, according to Baltimore Fishbowl. Mayor Catherine Pugh, the Baltimore City Council, 41st District Del. Tony Bridges and residents Jimmy Mitchell and Pamela Curtis filed suit in Baltimore City Circuit Court March 19. In their filing, they accuse Stronach of purposefully neglecting the track in recent years while investing in its other properties, primarily Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County. The suit asks the court to condemn the aged race track and the ownership of the Preakness Stakes so that they can be transferred to the city. If the plaintiffs get their wish, the result would effectively make Baltimore City the operator of the second leg of the Triple Crown, at least until it finds someone else to do it. The Stronach Group said in a statement, “These actions are premature and unfounded.”

Read the complete story at Baltimore Fishbowl.

Also see: The Future of Preakness and Pimlico Race Course

Maryland State Flag
Maryland State Flag (handout art)

Md. Senate passes $15 minimum wage bill

The Maryland Senate passed a bill raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 on March 20, sending the measure to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk. Sponsored by Baltimore Sen. Cory McCray, the bill would require companies with more than 15 employees to raise wages by the 2025 deadline, according to Baltimore Fishbowl. Smaller businesses would have an extra year to hit that mark. Activist groups hailed the legislative win as a victory for working families. Progressive Maryland celebrated the bill’s passage, but also cautioned that it left out young employees, agricultural workers and tipped workers. Tipped employees, such as waiters and bartenders, will have their hourly pay stuck at $3.63 per hour, and farm hands and employees under 18 who are in training programs are left out.

Read the complete story at Baltimore Fishbowl.

Tel Aviv installs ‘zombie lights’ to protect cellphone users

Tel Aviv is looking out for pedestrians looking down at their smartphones when they walk — and let’s face it, that’s a lot of us. The municipality has installed “zombie lights” at a major intersection — the special LED lights are deployed on the sidewalk to alert pedestrians when they can and can’t walk. If the pilot is successful, the city will expand the use of the warning lights to other intersections, The Associated Press reported. The goal is to protect the pedestrians from stepping into traffic. Similar systems are already in use in Australia, Singapore and the Netherlands, according to AP.—JTA

Blair Braverman
Blair Braverman, 30, says all her sled dogs are Jewish — with the exception of one. (Christina Bodznic)

Blair Braverman is 1st Jewish woman to finish Iditarod sled dog race

Writer and adventurer Blair Braverman appears to be the first Jewish woman to race in — and complete — the historic Iditarod sled dog race, finishing the grueling 1,000-mile course in 13 days, 19 hours, 17 minutes and 2 seconds. The 30-year-old musher crossed the finish line March 17 in Nome, Alaska, in 36th place. Her sled was pulled by 14 dogs. “WE DID IT!!!!!!” she tweeted March 17. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And also the most beautiful. The dogs and I took care of each other the whole way. Stories to come, but for now we plan to nap (and eat) for days. All dogs and humans are doing great.”

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