Exploring the Growing Jewish Communities in Central Maryland

The Central Maryland region is home to a flourishing Jewish population, with smaller communities in Gaithersburg, Germantown, White Oak, Olney and Takoma Park. According to a recent survey, Jewish households make up 7% of all homes in Baltimore (9% in Baltimore County, 5% in Baltimore City and 3% in Carroll County). 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 area had many synagogues, Jewish bookstores, kosher butchers and restaurants, and was known as “Corned Beef Row” due to its numerous Jewish eateries.

In recent years, the area has seen an influx of Jewish students, young professionals and people with empty nests. This has led to an increased demand for Jewish services in downtown Baltimore. Lev Avraham Rosenstock, a member of Tiferes Yisroel from Baltimore, confirms that the Jewish community is growing rapidly and estimates that the number of large synagogues in the city has doubled or tripled over the last 20 years. The majority of Baltimore's Jewish population has moved to the northwest corner of the city and to the nearby suburb of Pikesville.

Among some 55 Jewish communities compared, 21% of Orthodox respondents are the highest, 25% conservative is approximately the average, 27% reformist is the eighth lowest, and 20% of righteous Jews are well below average. A third of households include someone who belongs to a synagogue or other Jewish worship community of some kind, such as Chabad or an independent minyan. Community members have long-standing ties to the area, as nearly half of Jewish adults (45%) were raised in Baltimore. Forty percent of Jewish adults attended at least one Jewish-sponsored program, activity, or class in Baltimore last year, and 13% participated at least once a month. Jewish young adults (18 to 3 years old) live disproportionately in the city of Baltimore compared to older adults.

Approximately 65% of Jewish adults attended services at least once last year, including 43% of those who are not members of a congregation. Baltimore has an average percentage of households that are currently members of a synagogue (46%) among about 55 Jewish communities compared. Among the 22,500 children living in Jewish homes in Baltimore, 20,500 (91%) were raised Jews in some way - whether by religion, secularism or culturally - or as Jews and of another religion. The study estimates the size and characteristics of the Jewish population in the area of influence that depends on The Associated and generates findings that could help Jewish organizations in Baltimore plan for the next decade and serve the Jewish community as effectively as possible.

Ankie Groot
Ankie Groot

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