100 Years of Jewish Baltimore


From generation to generation, The Associated is there for you – shaping your Jewish journeys, caring for your neighbors and friends and fighting for social justice. Our world extends to Baltimore and beyond, building community and supporting Jews around the world.

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1920

German-Jewish, Federated Jewish Charities and the Eastern-European, United Hebrew Charities merged  the need to create one fundraising organization become obvious. But the Associated Jewish Charities was more than just a fundraising agency, it was also a coordination and social planning agency. The organization looked at the whole community and was able to meet needs as they arose.

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1921

Louis H. Levin was named first Executive Director of the AJC. 

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1922

Board of Jewish Education created – composed of Baltimore Talmud Torah, Hebrew

The Passing Years, a play by Louis Levin, and Directed by Leonard Weinberg. The Jewish Educational Alliance provided the orchestra music.

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1923

Hebrew Orphan Asylum and Hebrew Children Sheltering and Protective Association merged into the Jewish Children’s Society and on October of that year a new home in the country (Greenspring Ave. and Belvedere Ave.)was built and called Levindale.

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1924

Campaign, April 27-May 2, 1924– “You Give, They Live”, second campaign of the Associated Jewish Charities with a goal of $610,223.52 for the nineteen institutions.

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1928

Harry Greenstein hired as executive director of the Associated Jewish Charities at 32 years old. He was persuaded to leave his law practice and take the position of Executive Director which he would keep for the next 37 years (1928-1965).

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1928

Campaign – You’ve Never Said “No” campaign slogan, goal of $590,000

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1929

Hebrew Home for the Incurables and Hebrew Home for the Aged merged to form Levindale Hebrew Home and Infirmary (Levindale was abandoned as a child care institution, the children were transferred to foster homes and building remodeled for the aged)

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1931

Jewish Baltimore was in the throes of the Depression and the needs of the community continued to grow. The Associated Jewish Charities launched a campaign, “Justice Not Charity,” and raised $627,000 in one week in order to support those who were struggling.

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1934

As the Depression rolled on, and families struggled to make ends meet, the Associated Jewish Charities, through its Jewish Social Service Bureau, provided food, shelter, medical care, work assistance and more to help Jewish Baltimoreans survive.

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1934

Local children attending the Jewish Educational Alliance Home Camp, held at the JEA building on Baltimore Street, enjoyed time on the playground on the roof of the building. 

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1935

With trouble looming in Germany, the Associated Jewish Charities and the Jewish Family and Children’s Bureau worked with The German Jewish Children’s Aid, a national organization that placed German Jewish children in U.S. homes. In the next five years, 35 immigrant children would be placed with Baltimore families.

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1935

The Young Men’s & Young Women’s Hebrew Association became part of the Associated Jewish Charities. This youth-focused organization became a center of Jewish life for the community.

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1937

As Jewish families fled Europe for the United States, the Refugee Adjustment Commitment helped them adjust to their new environment. They provided these new immigrants with financial support, a social worker, job placement assistance and other services from Associated Jewish Charities to ensure they would easily transition to their new lives.

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1939

Associated Placement and Guidance Services (APGS) was established to provide the technical training, career counseling and job placement to Jewish people in the Baltimore community. APGS mostly served recent immigrants and the physically and mentally handicapped.

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1939

With the rise of antisemitism nationwide, the Baltimore Jewish Council was created to safeguard “the equal rights of Jews.” Rabbi Morris Lieberman of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation was its first part-time unpaid director. The organization would expand its mandate in the 1990s “to include outreach to other ethnic and religious groups, advocacy for Israel and support for Soviet Jews and other oppressed people.”

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1939

The Associated Jewish Charities opened a beautiful, new headquarters at 319 W. Monument Street. Built through the generosity of Aaron and Lillie Straus, the building also housed the Hebrew Free Burial Society and the Hebrew Free Loan Association. 

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1941

With the Nazi conquest of much of Europe, Jews were no longer safe. The Jewish Welfare Fund was created to raise money for both national and overseas agencies concerned with saving and salvaging the lives of Nazi victims. HIAS and the Refugee Adjustment Board became local beneficiaries.

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1942

On July 30, 300 Jewish refugees arrived in Baltimore on the steamship, SS Nyssa. It was the largest number of Jewish immigrants to come to Baltimore’s shores since before World War I. The Jewish community, working with the National Red Cross and other local and national organizations, began the work of helping these refugees resettle.

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1945

The Women’s Division of the Associated Jewish Charities was created when Helen Dalsheimer was asked to handle the Small Trades Division. In its first year, the women raised $44,099 for The AJC’s Annual Campaign.

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1948

On May 14 (the 5th day of Iyar), Israel proclaimed its independence.  The Jewish Welfare Fund of Baltimore assisted in the 1948 United Jewish Appeal campaign, raising $1.5 million to help “transform a dream of a Jewish State to reality.” The funds also helped bring 120,000 Jews to Israel and assisted 1.4 million Jewish survivors in 20 European countries and thousands in other distressed areas.

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1948-1950

With the establishment of the new Jewish State, Jews from Yemen, Aden, Eritrean and Saudi Arabia traveled over 200 miles of desert for a chance at freedom. Through the Jewish Distribution Committee’s Operation Magic Carpet, thousands of Jews over the next two years were airlifted from these countries to Israel, offering them a chance for a new life.

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1949

With a need to raise more than $250 million to help Jews resettle in Israel, The Jewish Welfare Fund of Baltimore participated in the 1949 Exodus Campaign through the United Jewish Appeal. The goal was “to develop in the State of Israel a place for every homeless Jew who wishes to go there!” Jewish Baltimore did its part and contributed over $3.2 million to this effort.

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1949

Women’s Division began G-Day, a city-wide, door-to-door solicitation for the Annual Campaign. Women assembled at the Emerson Hotel and went out in groups, chauffeured by men volunteering their time and private cars.  Over 1200 women and 461 male volunteer motor corps raised $45,000, by soliciting donations from 12,000 women in Baltimore. 

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1950

The first Combined Campaign of the Associated Jewish Charities and the Jewish Welfare Fund was held at the Southern Hotel. Associated Jewish Charities President J. Benjamin Katzner was selected chair of the campaign, with a goal of $4,498 million.

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1951

After the 1947 study that looked at the recreational needs of the community, The Associated created the JCC (Jewish Community Center) a single institution to serve the Jewish communities’ recreational, social and cultural needs. Initially housed at the Y.M.&Y.W.H.A. (Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association) headquarters in lower Park Heights, the JCC was a merger of the JEA (Jewish Educational Alliance), Camp Woodlands and the Y.M.&Y.W.H.A.

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1953

Camp Milldale, formally Camp Woodlands, opened in Stevenson at Stevenson and Keyser Roads. The property, once Camp Crestmont, was purchased as a gift for the Associated Jewish Charities by Hugo Dalsheimer. It later moved out to Woodensburg, Maryland and for decades Camp Milldale was the summer destination for countless Baltimore Jewish families.

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1956

Women’s Division became a permanent year-round fundraising and outreach arm of The Associated. Newspaper clipping from the 1956 Women’s Division Associated Scrapbook.

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1959

Contract signing for the new Jewish Community Center in 1959. Seated left to right: Joseph Meyerhoff, Chairman Youth Building Fund Committee; Abraham Krieger, President of Associated Jewish Charities; Harry Greenstein. Standing left to right: Samuel A, Kroll and Irving Kroll, Builders; Yehuda Rosenman, Executive Director of the JCC; Charles Mindel, President of the JCC; Bernard Manekin, Chairman Building Committee; John Poe Tyler, Architect

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1959

Harry Greenstein Leadership Award was created by Louis Fox. Its goal: “Recognizing the importance of assuring a continuity of future communal leadership, and of providing wider opportunities for the development of young people in voluntary community work …” Photograph of Louis Fox and Milton H. Miller giving the first Harry Greenstein Leadership Award.

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1960

The Baltimore Jewish community continued its migration north and west of the city, moving across Northern Parkway to Upper Park Heights and the Baltimore County suburbs of Pikesville and Randallstown. The JCC opened a new building at 5700 Park Heights Avenue and by the end of the year, membership surpassed 9,000.

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1960

The Jewish Historical Society of Maryland was formed to buy and restore the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue, the third oldest standing synagogue in the United States. The Jewish Historical Society of Maryland would later become the Jewish Museum of Maryland in 1998. 

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1963

Women’s roles were changing, and the Women’s Division adapted new strategies that gave women more of a voice. The Young Women’s Leadership Council was created, and women who went through the program participated in the Annual Campaign, observed agency boards and learned about the Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund as well as the Baltimore Jewish community.

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1964

Homeowners became more cautious about opening their doors to strangers and as a result, it was difficult to fundraise during G-Day. The Women’s Phone-O-Thon replaced it and this two-week intensive telephone appeal “raised over $8,000 more than the last G-Day” in its first year.

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1965

The Associated established a new Legacy and Endowment department organized with Harry Greenstein as executive vice-president.  

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1968

Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil disorder broke out in Baltimore City. Jewish businesses were not spared, and an emergency line opened at Jewish Family and Children’s Services. They distributed food and provided temporary housing. The Hebrew Free Loan Association offered loans to help rebuild what was damaged.

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1969

The Associated Jewish Charities and the Jewish Welfare Fund of Baltimore merged, creating a single president, single set of officers and single board of directors to better meet the community’s needs. It was called The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

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1969

A demographic study in the 1960s revealed a need for low-income senior housing to meet the growing older adult population. Concord House a 10-story, 231-unit residence, was built and would offer daily meals and recreational activities – even a social club.

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1971

On January 18, close to 1,500 members of the Baltimore Jewish community marched from Mt. Vernon Place to Hopkins to protest the treatment of the Soviet Jews. They were heard chanting “One, two, three, four – help break down the iron door: five, six, seven, eight – let our people emigrate!” 

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1972

Hurricane Agnes devastated parts of Northwest Baltimore with some of the worst flooding ever seen in Baltimore at that time. The Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund and the Jewish Family and Children’s Service dispatched workers to disaster points to assist and help families recover.

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1978

As Jewish Baltimore expanded further into northwest Baltimore County, the JCC opened the Dalshiemer Youth Center with the surrounding Jacob S. and Rose Shapiro Recreational Park in Owings Mills. The new JCC would attract more children to the JCC, while serving the needs of Baltimore’s growing suburban Jewish community. 

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1978

On May 7, thousands of Baltimoreans walked in solidarity with Israel, striding down Park Heights and Smith Avenues in the first Walk for Israel. The 11-mile or 18-kilometer walk raised $66,000 for the Jewish State.

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1979

The Associated broke ground on its new Associated Jewish Charities Krieger Building at 101 West Mt. Royal Avenue. The organization would move to its new headquarters, from its previous location on Monument Street, in 1980.

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1979

Baltimore became part of Project Renewal, a national program that took 130 distressed communities in Israel and “twinned” them with cities outside of Israel to support the residents. Baltimore is twinned with Ir Ganim, a depressed community on the outskirts of Jerusalem.  

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1979

First Super Phone Day – The first Super Phone Day, later Super Sunday, was held on December 1979 for the 1980 Campaign. It soon became an annual tradition with Jewish Baltimore answering the call and giving generously to help the community.

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1980

The Baltimore Jewish Council dedicated the Holocaust Memorial to the six million Jews who perished during World War II. The site was designed to educate the Baltimore community and visitors about the impact of the Holocaust and demonstrate continuing recognition of the fight for human rights and freedom for members of all ethnic groups. 

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1980

The Associated moved to its new home, the Krieger Building at 101 W. Mt. Royal Avenue where it continues to serve as the headquarters today.

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1982

With soaring inflation and rising unemployment, many families had difficulty making ends meet. Jewish Family Services opened its Kosher Food Pantry to distribute food year-round. 

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1983

Shoshana S. Cardin became the first woman president of the Associated Jewish Charities and the first woman to head a major Jewish federation. 

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1988

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Baltimore Jewish Council presented and dedicated a sculpture at the Holocaust Memorial site in downtown Baltimore. Around the base are the words of philosopher George Santayana; “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

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1988

Thanks to the commitment of the community, The Associated Annual Campaign reaches $20 million for the first time. 

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1990

The Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund officially changed its name to The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

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1990

As Jews left the former Soviet Union in record numbers, they faced numerous challenges in their new country. The Associated joined federations nationwide in “Operation Exodus: Emergency Campaign for Soviet Jewry,” raising more than $540 million collectively for resettlement absorption in the United States and Israel.

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1992

The Baltimore-Odessa Partnership was formed, and Odessa, Ukraine was named Baltimore’s ‘sister’ city. The goal was to support efforts to revitalize and renew Jewish life in this former Soviet Union city, while building connections between the Jewish people in the two communities.

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1992

Teen athletes from more than 60 North American cities and eight foreign countries, including Israel, Australia and Mexico, gathered in Baltimore for the city’s first ever Maccabi Games. Over 14,000 spectators turned out for the competitions and community-wide events – a week that would ultimately create life-long friendships between the participants.

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1995

Recognizing that domestic violence was a problem in the Jewish community, a small group of advocates, including founder Brenda Brown Rever, established CHANA under the umbrella of The Associated. Its mission was to serve as the Jewish response to domestic abuse.

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1997

A re-designed Baltimore Holocaust Memorial was dedicated on October 6. The newly created urban plaza was designed around a narrative and series of metaphors related to the Holocaust.

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1998

The Hebrew Free Loan Association celebrated 100 years of providing interest-free loans to the local Jewish community. Thanks to them, many immigrants and Jewish Baltimoreans started businesses, bought homes and were able to pay emergency medical bills.

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2003

The Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership was established to connect our communities through collaborative projects that build long-lasting and meaningful relationships and inspire a great love for Israel and the Jewish people.

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2005

Weinberg Village I opened in Owings Mills, the first affordable housing option for seniors in the Owings Mills corridor.

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2005

The Associated began construction on a new JCS building on The Associated’s Park Heights campus. When complete, it also became home to the Baltimore Jewish Council, Camps Airy and Louise and other Jewish organizations.

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2005

Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Jewish community was not spared. Baltimoreans stepped up, raising money for the relief efforts and sponsoring a trip, through Jewish Volunteer Connection, to help the community rebuild.

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2008

The initial effects of the economic downturn hit the Jewish community hard. Jewish Community Services (JCS) stepped up, disbursing more than $1.14 million in financial assistance, a 27% increase over the previous year and 48% increase over two years prior.

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2009

Businesses shuttered, jobs lost, homes foreclosed and families’ dreams put on hold. These were the effects of the Great Recession on Baltimore’s Jewish community. As unemployment rates reached double digits, the average time to find a job doubled, and salaries offered to those fortunate to find employment were 25-30% lower than pre-recession.  At least three individuals turned to JCS’ Career Services every day for help in finding a job.

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2013

Recognizing that Jewish camp has a profound impact on Jewish commitment in adulthood, The Associated established The Center for Jewish Camp. The Center continues to provide personalized consultation to families to help them find the best Jewish camp experience for their children.

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2013

Noting an uptick in young Jewish families living in downtown Baltimore, the JCC responded by opening its doors in Federal Hill. The new Downtown Baltimore JCC (DBJCC) offered drop-in play, classes and family programs.

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2014

As young families looked for meaningful ways to engage Jewishly, the Macks Center for Jewish Education created the Connector program. Connectors bring together families in their neighborhoods – from Pikesville and Owings Mills to Lutherville/Timonium and Canton – in programs that inspire their Jewish journeys.

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2016

The JCC launched JCamps, a family of camps on the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC campus. Families can pick from a wide selection of options, including sports, arts and traditional day camp offerings.

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2017

MIDC celebrated a quarter century of promoting bilateral trade and investment between Maryland and Israel. As Israel has evolved into a global technological powerhouse, many of its industries dovetail with Maryland’s leading industries, leading to huge economic benefits for both communities.

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2017

In a year fraught with catastrophic disasters, when floods ravaged communities from Houston to Puerto Rico, Baltimore Jews came together to provide a lifeline to those who lost homes and businesses. The Associated, through its generous donors, provided support to help those hit hardest, and Jewish Volunteer Connection led a cohort of volunteers to Houston to help with the rebuilding efforts.

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2018

The shooting in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh brought antisemitism in this country to the forefront. The Associated responded, creating an antisemitism summit and task force and its advocacy arm, the Baltimore Jewish Council, secured additional security funding for area Jewish organizations.

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