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Chag Kasher Sameach U'Barie: Apr. 8 - Candle Lighting: 7:20 PM - Begin Seder After 8:28 PM - Chatzos: 1:08 AM - Eruv is Up (Shabbos Chol HaMoaid)
Americans hard hit financially due to the fallout from the coronavirus who are anxiously waiting for cash relief may catch a break. FOX Business has learned that the Internal Revenue Service has sped up its process and is now targeting “early next week” for the direct deposit checks. The first checks could be directly deposited as early as Monday or Tuesday with the first paper checks mailed starting April 20. For anyone needing to adjust their direct deposit information, the IRS will be providing that option by the end of the week. Originally...
U.S. equity markets rallied to session highs Wednesday with the S&P 500 exiting its bear market as Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign. Stocks also saw support from a surge in oil prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 779 points, or 3.4 percent, while the S&P 500 rose by 3.4 percent as well and Nasdaq Composite 2.6 percent. Sanders, I-Vt., suspending his campaign leaves former Vice President Joe Biden as the likely nominee to take on President Trump in the November election. It also opens the door for several females to potentially become Biden's running mate, as reported by FOX Business' Charlie Gasparino who lists Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris as front runners. Another supporting factor for equities was oi...
Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein, rov of Ramat Elchonon in Bnei Brak, has called on Yidden throughout Eretz Yisroel to have their children got outside their homes and on to their porches tonight at 8:30 p.m. and to recite the Mah Nishtanah aloud for the benefit for the many Yidden having a Seder this year without their children or grandchildren. This idea received the approbation of Rav Chaim Kanievsky.
After five days of searching, authorities found the body of the 8-year-old grandson of former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Maryland Natural Resources police divers found Gideon McKean's body in 25 feet of water and 2.3 miles south of Townsend's home in Shady Side, where the canoe was launched with him and his mother, Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, inside. They found his body 2,000 feet from where they found his mother's body on Monday, according to Gov. Larry Hogan's office. Both were last seen last Thursday, when their canoe was apparently overtaken by strong winds. Read more at WBAL
At its very core, Judaism is community, and community service. At its very core, Judaism is community, and community service. So when the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic threated the very foundation of the Baltimore Jewish community, religious leaders across the county rushed to find ways to stay connected. “This is an incredible moment of reinvention, a challenge like we have never seen and realities like we've never seen before. But our religion always teaches us that no matter what the circumstances: adapt, reinvent and then do something spectacular,” said Rabbi Shmuel Silber, leader of the Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim in Pikesville, Maryland. “So our synagogue has kind of adopted [a saying of] physically apart but spiritu...
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Yeshivos are closed. Shuls are shuttered. And chadorim have been shut down. Yes, of course we’re all doing what we’re supposed to halachically and medically, but what about the fact that the world needs Torah learning for its very survival? And what can we do to increase limud haTorah, which is the greatest shemirah possible, and the greatest zechus and koach for a yeshuah? A new initiative is already gaining steam, seeking to ensure that no moment goes by without Torah being learned, the most powerful shemirah. Through this program, participants in every Jewish city can choose a 30-minute slot and accept, beli neder, to learn during that time uninterrupted. Some are taking it on as a zechus for a refuah sheleimah for someone specific or Klal Yisroel in general. Thes...
Your blood can save lives! Agudath Israel is coordinating with hospitals across the country to identify eligible donors and bring this potentially lifesaving therapy to COVID –19 patients. Please complete the short survey below to see if you are eligible to donate blood plasma (the portion containing antibodies) to someone critically suffering from COVID-19. Click here to fill out the survey! Saving lives – it’s in our blood.
Among the many trying challenges we face in these dire times is the sorrow of disconnection from one another, added to the deeper one of personal loss, as we accompany those beloved to us to their resting places. Just as the current times demand that we now pray and study at home, the way to give honor to the dead during this pandemic is by staying at home. That is what the niftar (departed) would have wanted and what Jewish law, which warns us to be extremely careful to guard one’s health, demands of us. We therefore must not congregate at funeral homes, shuls, residences or on city streets to pay our respects to the niftar and families. While we honor the departed through proper Jewish burial despite the challenges entailed, we must maintain a balanc...
Baltimore, MD - Apr. 8, 2020 - The following list of zmanim for the first days of Yom Tov and Shabbos Chol HaMaoid was prepared by Rabbi Dovid Heber for his kehila, Khal Ahavas Yisroel Tzemach Tzemach.  [The Eruv is Up]For a printable copy of this zmanim chart, click here. 1st Days of Pesach 5780/April 8-11, 2020 Times for Baltimore, MD - All times are Eastern Daylight Time Wednesday, Erev Pesach/1st Night, April 8 Latest Time to Eat Chometz – 10:24 am Latest Time for Biyur Chometz – 11:38 am REMEMBER TO PREPARE AN ERUV TAVSHILIN Mincha Gedola/Earliest Time to Daven Mincha – 1:42 pm Samuch L’Mincha Ktana- 4:22 pm Candle Lighting Time – 7:20 pm Begin Seder after 8:28 pm Repeat Krias Shma if you daven Maariv before Tzais Hakochavi...
Parsha Hashavua
Pesach 5780 - Leil Seder

I felt the following thought is particularly pertinent this year when so many of us are confined to some degree of isolation and will not be part of the larger seder we are used to – some even conducting the seder in solitude. Please continue to daven for all of the cholim. Yom Tov hi miliz’ok, urfuah kerovah lavo.


In the beginning of Maggid, we recite "Avadim hayinu." In this paragraph, we say that if not for the fact that HaKadosh Baruch Hu had taken us out of Mitzrayim, we would still be beholden to Paroah in Mitzrayim. Therefore, even if we are all wise, understanding knowers of the Torah, we have a mitzvah to tell over the story of yetzias Mitzrayim. To say that there are two questions to be asked on this paragraph would surely not be the whole truth. However, there are two questions on which I wish to focus. First, why would we have thought that wise sages would be exempt from the mitzvah? Second, how does the haggadah in fact justify this requirement?


As an introduction, I would like to quote a piece from R' Chaim Kanievsky on Chanukah, found in Ta'ama D'kra. He asks why there is no mention of the miracle of the oil in the text of "Al HaNisim." He answers that the theme of Al HaNisim is hoda'ah, giving thanks. When it comes to giving thanks, the obligation only exists regarding an event by which one is directly affected. For a miracle that only truly benefited those at the time and has no effect on us now, there is no obligation of hoda'ah. We find that Sukkos is built around the miracle of HaShem's protecting us. However, since this miracle does not affect us today, we don't find any specific requirements of hoda'ah on Sukkos. So, too, the miracle of the oil has no direct effect on us today. On the other hand, had B'nei Yisrael been destroyed in the war, we would not be around today. Therefore, we must give thanks for the winning of the war.


Perhaps, what the paragraph of "Avadim Hayinu" is teaching us is that we might have thought that the mitzvah of sipur yetzias Mitzrayim is strictly an educational one, that there is an obligation for the wise to teach those who do not know as the main source of this mitzvah is "vehigadta levincha," a requirement for the father to teach the son. Had this been so, if we were all wise sages, there would be no need to do this mitzvah for no one needs to be educated. However, this is not so. Attached to the mitzvah of sipur yetzias Mitzrayim is the very pertinent theme of hoda'ah. We are not merely telling a story. We are expressing thanks and appreciation to HaShem for yetzias Mitzrayim, whether we've learned about it previously or not. The haggadah, therefore, starts by illustrating how the miracle affects us today, that if not for yetzias Mitzrayim, we would still be beholden to Paroah in Mitzrayim. Because of this, there is an obligation to thank HaShem and therefore all of us are commanded to tell the story of yetzias Mitzrayim.

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Baltimore, MD - Apr. 8, 2020 - TODAY, we have the opportunity to perform an Eruv Tavshilin.A fundamental difference between Yom Tov observance and Shabbos observance is the allowance of ochel nefesh, food preparation on Yom Tov. “Ach Asher Yei’achel L’Chol Nefesh Hu Levado Yei’aseh Lachem…“1 The Torah permits us to cook, bake, and prepare food on Yom Tov proper, in order to eat the prepared food on that day of Yom Tov. One is not permitted to prepare from one day of Yom Tovfor the second day of Yom Tov or for after Yom Tov. This prohibition of hachana, of preparing from one day of Yom Tov to the next, presents a problem when the second day of Yom Tov...
SimchasSimchas Simcha
I had the zchus, for over 35 years, to work closely with the Novominsker Rebbe ztvk'l in the vineyards of Agudas Yisroel. Many of those interactions were memorable, and I had frequent occasion to marvel at the brilliance, compassion and vision of this great leader. But perhaps the project the Rebbe undertook that will remain with me most vividly is the very last one I had the privilege to work with him on: the letter of brocha and chizuk issued by the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah earlier this week, on Monday 12 Nisan, in advance of the upcoming Yom Tov of Pesach. One of the ways the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah communicates with Klal Yisroel is through written statements. For many years, the Novominsker Rebbe served as the primary draftsman of such statements. His mastery of Loshon Hakodesh, ...
Baltimore, MD - Apr. 8, 2020 - Rabbi Zvi Goldberg and Rabbi Chananya Jacobson witnessed  Rav Moshe Heinemann, Shlit"a, conduct a much larger Mechiras Chometz than normal this year. Hundreds of people utilized the STAR-K / Agudah Baltimore online Mechiras Chometz forms, in addition to STAR-K certified companies and local Rabbonim.   Others from around the country also sent in their Shtaros. The Mechira was conducted with full social distancing guidelines. The Chometz was sold again this year to Mr. Clarence Horsey, a neighbor of the Rov. All of the contracts were put together in a box and given to Mr. Horsey as they are each year. STAR-K and Agudah of Baltimore  are grateful to Duvys Media for assisting in establishing an online sale with an integrated DocuSign to facilitate...
Nichum AveilimNichum Aveilim Aveilim
For a printable copy of the below, click hereBaltimore, MD - Apr. 8, 2020 - As the number of COVID19 cases continue to increase and spread through our community, it has become critical that we take a methodical and strategic approach to planning for and treating this terrible illness on a communal level. With that in mind, a number of medical professionals within our community have developed a survey to help identify and track potential cases across the Orthodox Jewish community of Baltimore. This survey is strictly confidential and anonymous. But the data collected will provide our Rabbonim, doctors, and first responders with valuable information as they prepare supplies, develop strategies, and work to understand the full extent of the needs of our community. With this knowledge, they w...
Officials say 21 Marylanders have died from coronavirus since Tuesday, and more than 1,100 new cases have been confirmed. MARYLAND — More than 1,100 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Maryland in the past day, according to data released Wednesday morning. There are 5,529 confirmed cases of the virus statewide, the Maryland Department of Health reported, versus 4,371 cases Tuesday. Authorities said 124 Marylanders have died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, as of Wednesday — an increase of 21 deaths since Tuesday. So far 32,933 negative tests results have been reported; 1,210 people have ever been hospitalized from COVID-19 in Maryland; and 365 people have been released from isolation after contracting the illness, according to state heal...
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Sen. Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday, clearing Joe Biden's path to the Democratic nomination and a showdown with President Donald Trump in November. Sanders made the announcement in a call with his campaign staff, his campaign said. Read more at CNN
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pick-up basketball games. Crowds gathering at an outdoor fish market. Family hikes along trails in Rock Creek Park. The warmer weather is bringing violations of social distance guidelines in the nation’s capital, even as health officials predict the city could become one of the next U.S. hot spots in the coronavirus pandemic. More than 1,200 people have tested positive, with 22 deaths, in Washington. But national and local health officials predict that the worst is yet to come. Last week, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that models predict the virus would peak in the District of Columbia in May or June and would result in nearly 1 in 7 Washington residents infected by the end of the year and a high-end death toll over 1,000. “We are conce...
Baltimore, MD - Apr. 8, 2020 - In an effort to consolidate flights during the coronavirus pandemic, JetBlue has suspended all flights at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport though June. The airline announced Wednesday that it will temporarily consolidate operations in five major metropolitan areas in the U.S between April 15 and June 10. The revised schedules are aimed at reducing excess flying during a time of unprecedented low demand for air travel while maintaining a critical level of service across the airline’s network for those who absolutely must fly. JetBlue also intends to file an exemption request with the U.S. Department of Transportation to temporarily suspend flying at other airports where the airline typically operates only a handful of daily ...
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