Baltimore: 4,000 Yidden are Expected to Gather Today in Support for Kavod Shabbos


rav-yaakov-weinbergA large rally is scheduled to take place today at 12pm in Baltimore “L’maan K’dushas Shabbos” against the planned opening of the Owing Mills JCC in Baltimore, MD. Over 4000 people are expected to attend. All local mosdos and yeshivos are giving off so everyone can attend the rally. There will be busses from Yeshivas Ner Yisroel to the rally. Rabbi Frand and others will be speaking at the rally. The rally is being organized by the Vaad Harobonim of Baltimore and Vaad Harobonim of Greater Washington in the yard of North Western High School on the corner of Park Heights and Falstaff Road.

Twelve years ago, a similar proposal was passed by the JCC to open its Owings Mills campus on Shabbos. That proposal, however, was voted down by the Associated board. Before the vote, a similar rally attracted some 3,500 people.

Baltimore is one of the few major Jewish communities without an open Jewish community center on Shabbos.

The JCC executive board has voted to open the suburban Owings Mills campus on Shabbos from 1 to 6 p.m.

The community is home to two JCC campuses. The Park Heights Avenue building, in the middle of an Orthodox neighborhood in Baltimore City, has special programming such as separate swimming and workout areas, and was not considered for Shabbos hours.

shabbos2The suburban campus, however, is a different story. In attempt to draw semi-observant Jews the planned opening of the facilities on Shabbos comes with conditions: There will be no financial transactions, including the sale of food or membership signups; no organized classes; and no staff forced to work. In addition, area congregations are being told they can hold programs for free such as Shalosh Seudos and Havdalah.

Area non-Orthodox rabbis said they are satisfied with the conditions.

However, the Roshei Yeshiva, Rabbonim, and leading kehillah members are strongly against the proposed opening.

The vote will take place May 28.

“This is going to be a very positive program for the support of Sabbos observance,” said Eli Schlossberg, one of the rally’s organizers. “Just like the last one we had, we’re not coming out against anything or anybody.”

The proposal and subsequent vote applies only to the Owings Mills JCC. The Park Heights JCC, located in the heart of the Orthodox community, is and will continue to be closed on Shabbos.

{JTA, Baltimore Jewish Times, Newscenter}


  1. The Baal Shem Tov once winessed someone being mechal shabbos and as a result he was overcome with uncontrollable grief and sadness and confined himself in his room and began to cry. After a few minutes when the initial shock subsided he began to make an account of his entire life to see if he in any way ever even slightly desecrated the Shabbos to deserve to witness such a despicable act. It bothered him immensely because he could not even think of a time where he transgressed even a Rabbinical enactment and certainly not a prohibition of the Torah – to deserve to witness the act that he just had seen. He then remembered that he once witnessed someone debase the honor of a true Torah Scholar and did not protest. He then realized that a Talmid Chochom is called Shabbos and that ignorance was on some level a desecration of Shabbos.

  2. YG:

    That Baltimore is “is one of the few major Jewish communities without an open Jewish community center on Shabbos” speaks volumes.

    According to your cheshbon Baltimore is way ahead for the rest of the frum velt in kavod harabbonim. Where do you live? Is your JCC open on Shabbos? Did anybody protest chillul Shabbos where you live?

    BTW they if they win your condescending point is pointless. For the record there has been no chillul Shabbos in any Baltimore JCC.

    Detroit, MI

  3. Just returning from the rally I can’t give any numbers but it was truly incredible. I hope there are positive results!

  4. Just returning from the rally I can’t give any numbers but it was truly incredible. I hope there are positive results!

  5. Commenting on SDR DETROIT: Bemechilas Kevodcha,but you missed the point completely.What YG was trying to convey was, that very recently, there was a case of Bizui Talmid Chochom within the frum community. This may be the cause of the the recent discussion of opening the JCC on Shabbos.

  6. SDR, Detroit, MI

    The JCC in my community has never been open on Shabbos and there has been no talk of such a radical move. Furthermore, as far as I can remember there has not ever been a rally for the sake of Kovod Shabbos – may be thats because we don’t try to expel our fellow Jews from a long hard planned event based on the fact that we don’t see eye to eye with their derech in Avodas Hashem.