Justice, Justice: The Community and the World

Rooted in the Jewish values of tikkun olam (repair the world) and tzedekah (justice), The Associated recognized the importance of making our world a better place to live. Although the goal of The Associated had always been to build a strong Jewish community, that was not enough for the leaders of the organization. They had an understanding that our community could only thrive when our entire city of Baltimore was flourishing as well.

More centennial themes


In response to the rising tide of antisemitism nationwide, in 1939, the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC) began to safeguard the equal rights of Baltimore’s Jewish community. Over time, the directive expanded to include combatting discriminatory practices from barring Jews from public swimming pools to Jewish quotas to fair housing practices and equity in hiring for not just Jews but other oppressed ethnic and religious groups. Today the BJC continues to fight against antisemitism, advocating at the state and federal level. Each year it also brings Holocaust survivors to speak at schools and holds an annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) ceremony.

Candle lighting at the Holocaust Memorial Yom Hashoah event


On December 6, 1987, 10,000-plus Baltimore Jews joined Freedom Sunday, a protest for the rights of Soviet Jewry. An estimated 250,000 people gathered on the National Mall calling for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to end forced assimilation and to allow emigration of Soviet Jews. The BJC rallied the community and coordinated the event with local synagogues and organizations with The Associated providing funding. Forty-two synagogues from central Maryland participated.

March to persuade General Secretary Leonid I. Berzhnev, Chief of the Communist party in the Soviet Union to lift the ban on Jewish emigration and to allow the Jews in Russia to live a Jewish life
Baltimore City school children outside of the JMM


Building bridges between communities became a key component of The Associated’s social justice mission. The BJC created programs that built mutual respect across ethnic, racial and religious groups, while through CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., residents engaged in multi-cultural projects that helped them better understand their diverse neighbors. The Jewish Museum of Maryland (JMM) developed educational programming for Baltimore City and County schoolchildren so they could learn about Jewish history and culture.



The Associated recognized the importance of strengthening the Northern Park Heights community. With many Jewish families living in these neighborhoods, CHAI was born. It began to invest in five Northwest Baltimore communities — encouraging homeownership, supporting schools and cultivating mutual respect among its Jewish, African American and Latinx residents.

Meanwhile, JMM took on a leadership role in the revitalization of the historic Jonestown neighborhood — once the hub of Jewish life — in which it is an anchor institution.


Volunteer work is a vital part of any program to improve a neighborhood — as well as a tenet of Jewish life. In 2001, the Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC) began matching volunteers with organizations throughout Greater Baltimore (nonprofits, schools and service agencies) based on their interests and skills as well as the needs of the organizations. From helping out at homeless shelters to mentoring at-risk high school students, volunteers searched for ways to do their part in improving the lives of people throughout the city.

Family making a care package for Mitzvah Day

In 2005, JVC launched its signature event, Mitzvah Day, which has since become a community tradition. Held on Christmas each year, more than 1,000 volunteers help out at area soup kitchens, shelters and nursing homes. Volunteers also spread out across two JCC campuses, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and winter care packages, while participating in numerous service projects to help those in need.

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