Synagogue merger, Ariella Stein, Haifa earthquake and your sexy Baltimore accent

Har Sinai
While merger plans proceed between Har Sinai and Temple Oheb Shalom, the fate of Har Sinai’s property at 2905 Walnut Ave. in Owings Mills remains murky. (Provided)

Har Sinai, Oheb Shalom boards approve merger plan

On their long and winding path toward merging, Owings Mills’ Har Sinai Congregation and Temple Oheb Shalom in Pikesville have cleared yet another hurdle. On May 14, the boards of trustees of the historic Reform synagogues voted unanimously to approve a Letter of Intent to merge. The letter was signed by Kenneth Bell, president of Har Sinai, and Oheb Shalom President Vicki Spira. The merger will be formally voted on by members of both congregations no later than Sept. 22, according an email sent out to congregants May 15 by a joint task force of Har Sinai and Oheb Shalom leaders. “In the coming weeks, we will communicate our progress, as well as opportunities to work together to create a vibrant future for the new congregation,” the letter read.

Read more: Boards of Har Sinai, Oheb Shalom Approve Merger Plan

Ariella Stein
Ariella Stein (right) is shown here with her mom, Erica. (Photo by Rina Goloskov)

Remembering Beth Tfiloh student Ariella Stein

Ariella Stein was only 11 when she died on May 9 after battling Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare but aggressive form of bone cancer, for more than two years. Still, the positive impact she had on this world will be felt for decades to come. Hundreds of friends, family members and others packed Baltimore Hebrew Congregation on May 13 for an hour-long funeral for Ariella. A Pikesville resident and sixth grade student at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, Ariella was mourned and remembered for her determination to help and inspire other children battling cancer, as well as for her unbridled love for life. Ariella was first diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in February of 2017 when a tumor was discovered in her right tibia. She underwent 17 rounds of chemotherapy. In June of that year, Ariella also underwent a limb salvage surgery in which a portion of her tibia was removed and an external fixator was placed to assist her as a new bone grew in its place. Despite the sickness, long hospitalizations and chemotherapy, Ariella created Ari’s Bears, a foundation established under the auspices of the American Childhood Cancer Organization. The foundation, which she helped start with her own money, is set up to deliver stuffed bears to children in hospitals.

Read more: Ariella Stein Remembered for her Compassion, Indomitable Spirit

Big 7 Travel ranks sexy U.S. accents

Whether the voice of Pauly D does it for you or you’re more of a Mark Wahlberg fan, it’s true to say that some accents are saucier than others, according to Big 7 Travel. Following sample survey results of a 1.5 million social audience, the company has ranked the sexiest – and least sexy – accents in the country. Believe it or not, Baltimorese – or Bawlmarese in local speak – ranked 18th. “Baltimore residents will commonly pronounce mirror as ‘mere’ and water as ‘wooder.’ The key feature of the Baltimore accent is identified by a sound change called ‘fronting back vowels,’ where words like goose sound more like ‘gewse,’” according to Big 7. The top three accents were listed as Texan, Bostonian and New York. While Long Islander came in at 50th.

Read more: The Top 50 Sexiest Accents in the USA — Ranked

Earthquake centered near Haifa rocks Israel

An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale was felt throughout Israel. The temblor at about 8 p.m. May 15 was centered about 125 miles off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea between the northern Israeli cities of Haifa and Hadera, according to Israel’s Geophysical Institute. No injuries or damage have been reported. Residents of Jerusalem, central Israel and southern Israel reported feeling the quake. Last July, a swarm of more than a dozen small but noticeable earthquakes shook northern Israel near the Sea of Galilee. At least four measured higher than 4 on the Richter scale, with some felt as far away as Jerusalem. A similar swarm occurred in 2013. The Sea of Galilee is located on top of the Dead Sea Fault, also known as the Great Rift Valley, which runs from Africa to Turkey.—JTA

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, March 1, 2017. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Met won’t accept Sackler family gifts

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City announced that it would not accept new gifts from members of the Sackler family linked to the company that produces Oxycontin, which is accused of fomenting the opioid crisis. The decision, announced on May 15 and first reported by the New York Times, follows similar announcements by the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Tate Museum in London. Also on May 15, the American Museum of Natural History said that it has stopped accepting Sackler donations. Sackler family members with ties to Purdue Pharma said in a statement that “while the allegations against our family are false and unfair, we understand that accepting gifts at this time would put the Met in a difficult position.” Sackler family contributions to the Met go back about 50 years, according to The Times. Some members of the Sackler family have been accused of directing their pharmaceutical firm, Purdue Pharma, to mislead doctors and patients about the dangers of the opioid painkiller Oxycontin produced by the company.

Read more: Met won’t accept new gifts from Sackler family members linked to Oxycontin

Swastika
A sign at a protest in New York City, Aug. 14, 2017. (Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

Hate crimes increase by 20% in Germany

There were 1,799 anti-Semitic hate crimes reported in Germany in 2018 – and nearly 90 percent of the perpetrators had a right-wing extremist background. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer introduced the new official figures on May 14. There were 7,701 total reported crimes against those perceived as foreigners in 2018, a 20 percent increase from 2017. Anti-Semitic crime increased by the same rate and comprised nearly one quarter of total reported xenophobic incidents. Some 39 percent of reported xenophobic hate crimes involved the use of illegal use of symbols and logos, such as the swastika. “Especially in our country, we have to stand against this with all our means,” Seehofer told reporters. “It’s very important to me that we bring the scale of this into people’s consciousness.”–JTA

Mel Gibson’s rep says ‘Rothchild’ movie is ‘completely unrelated’ to Jewish banking family

The film titled “Rothchild,” which will star Mel Gibson, has nothing to do with the Jewish Rothschild family, the actor’s rep said in a statement defending the project. “I feel the need to spare you any embarrassment as I’m told this film is about a fictional family (hence the name ‘Rothchild’) vs the Rothschild family to which you are referring,” Gibson’s publicist Alan Nierob wrote in an email to the Daily Beast May 13. “Completely unrelated to your premise and angle. Hopefully this is helpful to you.” The casting of Gibson — known for a drunken anti-Semitic rant in 2006 and for promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes in his 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ” — as a super-rich character with a name so similar to the banking dynasty at the heart of many global anti-Semitic conspiracy theories had raised eyebrows on social media on May 13.—JTA

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

Preakness Stakes

Preakness festivities take place this weekend at Pimlico Race Course. Read Jmore’s coverage of the ongoing battle over Pimlico Race Course, the future home of The Preakness Stakes and related issues impacting the neighboring Park Heights community.

JBiz Entrepreneur

Join Jmore for the second annual celebration of Baltimore’s Jewish entrepreneurs June 4 at the Maryland Historical Society. Click here for tickets and more information.

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