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December 20, 1991 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-12-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

S 0 UT HF 'ELIE): A T RISK?

A little money and a lot ofbard work helped
recreate a Jewish enclave in Baltimore.

UPPER PARK HEIGHTS,
MARYLAND

KIMBERLY LIFTON

Jewish
Baltimore

Photo by Craig Terkowitz

Upper Park Heights is the
only remaining Jewish
neighborhood within
Baltimore's city limits. Of the
city and county's estimated
94,000-person Jewish
population, 8,000 affiliate as
Orthodox — the highest pro-
portion of Orthodox Jews per
population in the United
States.
In Baltimore, the Jewish
community is heavily concen-
trated in the northwest cor-
ridor. It has recently moved
as far as Owings Mills,
which is seven miles nor-
thwest of Upper Park
Heights.

32

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 1991

Staff Writer

Boruch and Malice
Levine bought a
house with help
from CHAI.

altimore — Joan Kristall
had been promising her 9-
year-old son, Noah Kristall-
Weiss, he could host a
Shabbat sleepover party.
This was the weekend.
Noah, 9, invited Dovid
Paige, a new boy in town
whose family had just moved
to Upper Park Heights from
Los Angeles, and friends
Zalman Luxemberg and
Shlomo Goldberger, Rabbi
Menachem and Bracha
Goldberger's son.
It wasn't a birthday party;
it was Shabbat. Zalman
wore a suit, the others wore
shirts and ties, and they
discussed the Torah portion
of the week, Noah.
The `boys talked late into
the night and woke guests in
the house with their chatter
at the crack of dawn. They
went to services, snuck out a
bit early, but returned for
kiddush. Then they played
outside until Havdalah, the
ceremony performed to
welcome the new week.
They lit a special Hav-
dalah candle — made at
camp by Noah's brother Jacob
Kristal-Weiss. The youngest

brother, Rafael, just a few
months old, was sleeping, and
Benjamin, the oldest, was
visiting a friend.
Their father, Avrum
Weiss, couldn't find their
spice box used during the
ritual service. An old can of
cinnamon worked well as a
substitute. The room was
tranquil.
They sang, Shavuah Tov;
good week.

The Old, Jewish
Neighborhood
Just minutes away from
the county suburbs rests this
quaint city community
reminiscent of the old Jew-
ish neighborhood. This is
Upper Park Heights, a two-
square-mile community,
where residents are
predominantly Jewish —
and Orthodox.
U.S. Census figures for
1990 show that 30 percent of
the area is black, a figure up
about 6 percent from the
1980 census. At the same
time, the Orthodox commun-
ity, estimated at 8,000, is
getting stronger and is
credited in part for stabiliz-
ing an area in transition.
The Orthodox community
makes up about 60 percent
of the Upper Park Heights
area.
CHAI, Comprehensive
Housing Assistance Inc., is
also credited with stabilizing
the Upper Park Heights
area. A project of the Assoc-
iated: Jewish Community
Federation of Baltimore,
CHAI aims to revitalize
neighborhoods by providing
homeowner education and
low interest loans for Jewish
families moving into
targeted areas.
The goal was to replace
empty nesters and elderly
who move with younger
Jewish families. In addition,
when a black family put a
home up for sale, CHAT
would attempt to sell it to a
Jewish family.
The project has seen great
accomplishment, and CHAI
officials readily admit that
its success is largely because
of the massive influx of re-
ligious Jews to the area.
Baltimore is attracting

observant Jews from all over
the United States at a
growth rate of about 8 per-
cent, or 125 families a year,
according to Bert Miller, a
mathematician who
chronicles the community's
growth.
Kosher restaurants
abound — including Chapp's
Chinese and Kosher Bite, a
fast food favorite. And the
Seven Mile Market, a mas-
sive, kosher supermarket —
provides all of the amenities
required for a kosher kit-
chen.
A wealth of Jewish institu-
tions embellish Park
Heights Avenue. Among
them are Jewish Family
Service, Jewish Vocational
Service, Baltimore Hebrew
University, Jewish Big
Brothers, HIAS and the
Board of Jewish Education.
For many, Baltimore is a
less expensive option than
Brooklyn, considered by
many the premier commun-
ity for observant U.S. Jews.
From Jewish day care to
dating services, from re-
ligious schools to the Ner
Israel Rabbinical College,
Baltimore is a haven for
Jewish life in 1991.
Jewish day schools are
plentiful, with students
enrolled in one of five re-
ligious schools. Even crime
has been held to a minimum,
estimated at four robberies
per month, thanks in part to
the Northwest Citizens Pat-
rol, a 600-member volunteer
force manned predominately
by the Orthodox.
"Within the Jewish com-
munity of Upper Park
Heights, there is a place for
everyone to feel comfortable
and a support system that
reaches out to provide you
with warmth and accep-
tance," Mr. Weiss said.
At the forefront of plans to
maintain the Jewish identi-
ty of Upper Park Heights is
the Associated. In 1983, the
Associated formally
expanded CHAI, which
started as housing for the el-
derly, to include a project to
revitalize the Upper Park
Heights area.
In the 1970s, most
Baltimore city areas were
losing Jewish residents to

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