Friday, April 19, 2013

JCC Launches Young Professionals Group

The Downtown Baltimore Jewish Community Center now has a program for young professionals. Rabbi Jessy Gross offers the Charm City Tribe which she describes as a way to engage with the culture without confining it to synagogue. “The value of religion is that it’s not relegated to a space or a time,” Gross said.  Through Charm City Tribe, Gross hopes to challenge the reasons that young Jews don’t always engage with their culture.

“Tradition’s not irrelevant we just need to update how we translate it,” Gross said. Gross likes to plan her events around the rhythm of the Jewish calendar, that way she can associate what’s happening in the world as it relates to Jewish values. This past Hanukkah, the group created their own set of Hanukkah candles and on Passover they partnered with the Moishe House to hold a Fair Trade Chocolate Seder. The group also hopes to continue its Four Rabbis, Five Opinions series in which four Rabbis from the different strains of Judaism get together to discuss a topic that relates to Jewish values.

For Gross, the group is all about laying ground with individuals. Like all programs at the JCC, Charm City Tribe is open to all people, Jewish or not, and Gross is always open to answering any questions.

“It’s about awakening the shared values we all have,” Gross said.

For more information on the Charm City Tribe, email Rabbi Jessy Gross at or visit or

Elizabeth Nelson, Intern

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It’s All About the Bands: Spring Block Party!

Dig out your dancing shoes because Federal Hill Main Street is gearing up for the Spring Block Party! With all the great bands that will be there to help us celebrate the warmer weather, how can you not be excited about this great event?

It’s Sunday, April 28, 11 am to 7 pm on Cross Street in Federal Hill (north side of Cross Street Market). There will be lots of food & drink and arts & crafts, too! Info:

The Cheaters: Hailed by WBALTV as one of the top 40 Emerging Maryland Bands in 2012, The Cheaters describe themselves as “whiskey-fueled, home-fried rock and roll” and have played with bands from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Blue Oyster Cult. You can find their singles “Blow My Mind” and “Locked and Loaded” on YouTube.

Segway: Representing Baltimore’ electronica scene, Segway is guaranteed to get the audience up on their feet and dancing away. Segway has played at local and regional music festivals including Starscape, Camp Barefoot and Muddy River Jam Festival. 

J Pope and Funk Friday: A mash up of hip-hop, funk, and soul, J Pope and Funk Friday has played at the 8x10, Rams Head Live, and Now Child Soundstage. Lead by J Pope who has been described as “an artist who doesn’t shy away from political, social, and religious issues,” the band has been circulating its powerful messages since 2010.

Uncle Jack Band: This “Funk, Disco and Motown band with a difference” is made up of professional musicians who have shared the stage with bands like Hootie and the Blowfish and Styx. The band performs iconic dance anthems, which always leave its audience wanting more.

The Reserves: According to their website, The Reserves “play working class punk rock and roll, and that’s all you need to know.” The band is constantly recording, writing, performing, and growing their loyal fan base. With performances at the 8x10, The Lion’s Den in New York City, and The Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C., this band is one to watch.

Cara Kelly and the Tell Tale: With a “funky, bluesy, rock ‘n roll” feel, Cara Kelly and the Tell Tale formed in mid-2012 and has been hailed for their energy and tight harmonies. Though focused mostly in blues, the band branches out to funk and rock too. They have played shows at venues like the 8x10 and Recher Theater.

Bravenoise: A modern pop-rock trio, Bravenoise is an eclectic mix of soulful grooves and infectious melodies with a hint of Caribbean and Latin influence. The group draws its inspiration from bands like The Police, Radiohead, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Bravenoise is quickly making its way into the DC music scene and beyond.

The Evokatones: Self-described as “Baltimore Reggae goodness and Soul Ska,” The Evokatones formed in the summer of 2011. Consisting of an eight-piece female and male band, The Evokatones have been performing all across the Mid-Atlantic and are currently in the process of recording their debut album.

Rufus Roundtree and da B'more Brass Factory:
This brass band takes Baltimore music and mixes it with New Orleans, and Mardi Gras elements. Rufus Roundtree and da B’more Brass Factory reimagine R&B and hip-hop tunes by adding soul, jazz, and funk details. As their Facebook page says, “this is not the traditional band, this is truly an invigorating experience.”

We’ve got an exciting line up of bands this year! With so many different genres, any music lover can find a band to love!

Elizabeth Nelson, Intern

Friday, April 5, 2013

Family-Friendly Shopping in Federal Hill

Love shopping local and supporting your neighborhood? Want a shop that has gear for every age? Then look no further than Federal Hill! The following shops and boutiques offer family-friendly apparel and gifts to please anyone.

Pandora’s Box (50 E Cross Street) Offering unique items and the latest fashions, Pandora’s Box has home decor, jewelry, and handbags galore, but it also stocks colorful printed onesies as well as children’s hats and headbands and room decorations. See photo.

Cottage Kidz (1129 Light Street) With a huge selection of designer jeans, graphic tees, backpacks, raincoats, tutus, and boots, what’s not to love about this children’s boutique? In addition to clothes, the inventory will soon include educational toys, books, and puzzles.

Phina’s for the Home (919 South Charles Street) This linen, bath, and gift boutique has lovely blankets and towels that will keep any age warm and dry as well as paper dolls. Monogramming is also available, a great option when you want a personalized gift.

Morstein’s Jewelers (1114 Light Street) The oldest jewelry store in Baltimore City stocks baby bracelets and medals as well as rings, bracelets, and necklaces for older customers. They also offer custom designs including mementos like silver cups, frames, and spoons.

Ace Hardware (1214 Light Street) You may not think a hardware store would carry great gifts for the family, but Ace Hardware does! Seasonal items like sleds for the winter or nets, bubble wands, scooters, and deck furniture for summer will make any outdoor play fun. They even have some crafting supplies like googly eyes and mustaches.

Alliance Comics (904 Light Street) Alliance offers a myriad of comic books and graphic novels in addition to toys, t-shirts, posters, action figures, and more! This shop is perfect for the comic book lover in your life.

American Apparel (1125 Light Street) Known best for its huge variety of basics, American Apparel’s selection includes leggings, tank tops, dresses, and pants in addition to socks, gloves, hats, bedding, and accessories like jewelry and lip balm.

Brightside Boutique (1133 South Charles Street) With a bold collection including vintage pieces, Brightside is a great stop for anyone with a sophisticated, yet funky taste. In addition to clothing, the boutique also has jewelry and accessories for a polished and edgy look.

The Book Escape (805 Light Street) – Featuring new, used, and rare books, The Book Escape has a book for every reader of any age! They also buy books, so trade in your old books and get store credit toward a gift for an avid reader.

Afters Café (1001 South Charles Street) Serving up pastries and coffee in addition to a full self-service frozen yogurt bar, Afters is a delicious treat after you’ve hit up one of the many Federal Hill restaurants and bars. They sell gift certificates too, so you can give the gift of dessert to anyone you know!

Elizabeth Nelson, Intern