The Evolving Jewish Community in Central Maryland

Jews have been living in Maryland since the 17th century, and today, the state is home to 201,600 individuals who identify as Jewish. This makes up 3.9% of the population, and Baltimore has the thirteenth largest Jewish community in the United States. The majority of Jews in Maryland are located in Montgomery County and the Baltimore metropolitan area, particularly in Pikesville and northwest Baltimore. The Chesapeake blue crab is a popular part of Maryland cuisine, but it is not kosher.

Therefore, Jews who observe kashrut do not eat it. In the 21st century, an increasing number of Jews in Maryland are Jews of color, including black Jews, Asian Jews, Latino Jews, Indigenous Jews, and other non-white Jews. Eastern European Jews began to settle in Maryland in the 1850s, with a massive emigration of Jews from Eastern Europe occurring between the 1880s and 1920s. In 1904, Isidor Rayner became the first Jewish senator from the United States from Maryland, one of the first Jewish American senators in U.

S. history. Rabbi David Einhorn was a reformist rabbi who served as leader of the Har Sinai Congregation and was a strong defender of abolitionism. He argued that slavery could not be tolerated because all human beings are made in God's image.

Today, 46% of households in Baltimore are members of a synagogue, which is about average among 55 Jewish communities compared. 40% of Jewish households donated to their local Jewish Federation last year, which is also about average among those 55 communities. 7% of all households in Baltimore are Jewish households (9% in Baltimore County, 5% in Baltimore City and 3% in Carroll County). 21% of those surveyed identify themselves as Orthodox, and 32% of Baltimore Jews live in Orthodox homes because Orthodox households tend to be larger than other households and nearly all people in Orthodox homes are Jewish.

Of adults from Jewish households, 52% were born in Baltimore, 38% elsewhere in the United States, and 10% were born abroad, including 4% in the former Soviet Union. The Jewish community in Central Maryland has been changing over time due to immigration patterns and cultural shifts. As more people from different backgrounds move into the area, they bring with them their own unique perspectives on Judaism and how it should be practiced. This has led to an increase in diversity within the Jewish community as well as an increase in acceptance for different forms of Judaism. The influx of new members into the community has also had an impact on how synagogues operate and how they serve their congregations. Synagogues have had to adapt to meet the needs of their members by offering services such as Hebrew classes for adults and children or providing support for those who are struggling financially or emotionally. The changing size and composition of the Jewish community has also had an impact on how organizations such as the Jewish Federation of Central Maryland operate.

The Federation has had to adjust its programming to meet the needs of a more diverse population while still providing services that benefit all members of the community. The changing size and composition of the Jewish community has been a positive development for Central Maryland as it has allowed for more people to come together under one umbrella to celebrate their shared heritage and culture.

Ankie Groot
Ankie Groot

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