Orthodox Jews will rally against JCC Shabbat hours

BALTIMORE (JTA) — Orthodox Jews are expected to rally in Baltimore to protest the potential opening of the Owings Mills JCC on Shabbat afternoons

Sunday’s planned rally is officially intended to celebrate “the beauty and sanctity of Shabbat,” according to organizers.

The board of the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore was scheduled to meet Thursday to listen to comments from rabbis and other community leaders pro and con on the proposed issue of opening the building. Members of the JCC’s executive board recently voted overwhelmingly to open the building on Shabbat.

Originally, the Associated board was to vote on the JCC executive board’s action at Thursday’s meeting, but the federation’s leadership decided it was important that an opportunity for information and education first be presented to the board. The vote will take place May 28.

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

“This is going to be a very positive program for the support of Sabbath 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 Orthodox community, is and will continue to be closed on Shabbat.

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