Life in Baltimore
A big city with a small-town community feel
Baltimore, Maryland. Home of the Orioles, the Ravens, and the Social Security Administration. The birthplace of Henrietta Szold, Babe Ruth, Edgar Allen Poe, and “The Star Spangled Banner”. Its magnificent harbor displays paddleboats, water taxis, and cruise boats that offer transport to Annapolis, the state capital and home of the U.S. Naval Academy.
More importantly, Baltimore today is home to a dozen Jewish day schools, Yeshivos and the WITS/ MAALOT seminary. With approximately 100 observant families moving to Baltimore each year, Baltimore is considered one of the fastest growing Orthodox communities in the country.
WITS/MAALOT is located in the heart of the Baltimore Jewish community. The Jewish shopping district in Baltimore, a mere few blocks from WITS/MAALOT, has a Judaic gift and book store, kosher butcher shops and bakeries, an exclusively kosher supermarket, and several kosher restaurants and eateries featuring everything from bagels and shwarma, to pizza, deli, and sushi. Baltimore even has two Kosher Dunkin’ Donuts!
An amazing potpourri of shuls serves the city’s almost 100,000 Jews. There are nearly 70 synagogues and minyanim scattered throughout the greater community, with 30 of them in Upper Park Heights, the WITS/MAALOT neighborhood, alone. The Agudath Israel of Baltimore, located just 3 blocks from WITS/MAALOT, is a vibrant Torah center which houses well over 100 minyanim weekly, in addition to numerous shiurim. Baltimore’s many Sephardic Jews, mostly from Iran, daven in synagogues that follow their own rich customs.
While many of the observant Jews of the Baltimore community are involved in some form of community leadership as Rabbonim, Rebbetzins, Rebbis, Mechanchos, and kiruv professionals, many others are engaged in the secular world of academia, government, and commerce. They include doctors and health care workers, lawyers, professors and deans at Baltimore’s prestigious universities, business executives, and employees of federal and state agencies, as well as blue-collar workers and small business owners. Active and accomplished in their professions, they are committed to a Torah lifestyle, volunteering for communal chesed projects, and making Torah study the center of their busy day.
Baltimore’s Jewish community is known far and wide for its charitable communal organizations: Ahavas Yisroel Charity Fund unobtrusively delivers food packages and provides monetary assistance to the poor; Bikur Cholim arranges meals, transport, housing and visitation to the sick; the Jewish Caring Network provides multi-faceted help to the terminally ill and their families; and the Hachnosas Orchim program arranges housing for visitors from around the world being treated at the renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital and other medical institutions. Many WITS/MAALOT students volunteer for these organizations, becoming important contributors to community life.
Baltimore is affectionately known as “Charm City.” That charm is certainly true of the Baltimore Jewish community which serves as the campus of WITS/MAALOT.