2007 Annual Rabbi Frand Teshuva Drasha/Shiur

The sound quality isn’t great and the volume is a bit low, but here it is! As always, Rabbi Frand gave his shiur to probably well over a thousand people, all crammed into Shomrei Emunah. Enjoy, and have an easy fast.

The actual mp3 is around 18mb (didn’t have time to shrink it too much), so give it time to load.


(link to last year’s drasha: https://aishel.wordpress.com/2006/09/29/rabbi-frands-2006-annual-teshuva-drasha/)

(link to  2003 drasha: https://aishel.wordpress.com/2006/09/28/rabbi-frands-2003-annual-teshuva-drasha/)


New Baltimore Area Kosher Survey

The 2007 Baltimore Area Kosher Survey is now underway, so head over to their website and fill out what your opinions about Kosher Baltimore.

I’m very interested to see if there will be a difference regarding David Chu’s between this year and last year, as the restaurant underwent new management immediately following last years survey.

Mugging Perpetrator to be Evicted

The latest from the NWCP on the muggings over Pesach:

Over the next week, the NWCP will be involved in resolving issues related to
the events of Pesach. Specifically, the NWCP will join CHAI at a meeting
with the Housing Authority to evict the residents of the house on Clarinth
Road where the juvenile perpetrators of the Pesach assaults reside. In
addition, the NWCP will be meeting with the Assistant State’s Attorney to
prepare for the upcoming court case relating to this juvenile.

Switching to Cavalier DSL

For about a year and a half, I had been using Verizon‘s DSL service, along with Verizon local phone service. With this plan, I was paying approximately $34.95 per month for local and regional phone service (we use cell phones for long distance), along with several calling features. Additionally, I was paying $14.95 per month for my DSL (for the first year; it was $17.95/month thereafter), which gave me maximum speeds of 768k down/128k up. While this was admittedly slow, it was really all we needed.

In the last several months, we were considering upgrading our Internet speeds. One suggestion we got was to go with VOIP. The problem, however, was that we heard too many negatives about VOIP to be able to strongly consider it. The usual complaint with VOIP was the frequent internet downtimes and subsequent phone downtimes.

I then heard an ad on the radio for Cavalier Telephone. They promised speeds up to 10mbps for the low price of $25 per month. That was more than what I was paying, so I was reluctant to do anything about it. But then I noticed that their local calling plans were a full $10 less than Verizon, at only $25 per month. That meant that if I switched to Cavalier, I’d pay the exact same amount (before taxes), but get much faster Internet service.

The problem was that we were told that we were a full 17,900 feet away from the Central Office (CO). Cavalier told me that the maximum distance they provide DSL service to is 18,000 feet. Because I was so far away, they said that I probably wouldn’t get speeds of faster than 1mbps. However, they did tell me that they use Verizon’s phone lines to provide DSL service. After speaking with Verizon, they told me that they could guarantee up up to 3mbps.

At this point, I figured I had nothing to lose. Worse comes to worse, I’d have the same speeds as before, and I’d be paying the same prices. So I made the switch.

My service with Cavalier began exactly 8 days later, and after only a minor glitch, which they corrected over the phone, I was online. At a solid 3.4 mbps. Sweet. While that was pretty much the highest speed I attained, I do check my speeds every once in a while, and I average between 1.9 and 2.3mpbs down, and 400k up. As you can see, this is a tremendous difference. I have not experienced any down times since I began service (right before Pesach), and when I watch video’s on YouTube, they actually load to completion without me having to wait for the videos to buffer constantly. I’ve been very happy.

I did, however, have some problems with my phone service, but that will be in my next post, as this one is getting long.

Community Meeting addressed Muggings

Here is the letter that the NWCP sent out.  Personally, I think it sounds like they’re using a lot of political speak to make someone happy, but who knows.

On Tuesday evening, April 17, about 100 homeowners in the Upper Park Heights area engaged Mayor Sheila Dixon and Major Keith Tiedemann of the Northwest District in a two hour question and answer session concerning crime in the neighborhood.

Most of the discussion was centered around the recent assaults that occurred on Pesach. The questions were direct and respectful and the answers were honest and informative.

The Mayor pledged her continued attention and support to the Northwest area in this situation as well as in the future. (She has been involved from day one, staying on top of the situation and sending personal representatives to each of the meetings held in response to the assaults.) The Major took full responsibility for the actions of his officers; he has already spoken to an officer that did not respond as well as he would have liked. (Most of the officers who responded performed admirably and are to be commended for their actions.)

The community, in turn, expressed their appreciation to Mayor Dixon and Major Tiedemann. Their message was clear: we appreciate all of your efforts on our behalf, but we need continued help keeping our neighborhoods safe.

On a related note, it has been determined that a particular Assistant State’s Attorney, who has been instrumental in getting strong sentences in previous juvenile cases, will be in charge of prosecuting the juvenile arrested for the attacks over Pesach. The NWCP, the victims, and the Assistant State’s Attorney will be meeting shortly to strategize about the case.

Mugging followup and protest open forum

This is an email that is going around:

THREE ATTACKS within 24 HOURS!!!!!!!!

1. First night of Pesach — Dorset Place — Orthodox man attacked in front of son with a large stick on his own block.

2. First Day of Pesach — broad daylight — Labyrinth Road. Orthodox man attacked in front of his pregnant wife. Rendered unconscious at the scene and lost teeth from the severe beating to his head. Had to be rushed to the hospital via ambulance.

3. First Day of Pesach — not long after the Labyrinth Road attack – Labyrinth and Gist Avenue — Another Orthodox man was attacked in front of his wife and 8 and 6 year old daughters. His injuries resulted in 4 hours of surgery to have THREE plates put in his face to fix fractures to his eye and sinus area. His wife and young daughters are traumatized.

This is not to be taken lightly or to be treated as merely Juveniles. These individuals were targeted because they were Orthodox Jews. These attacks are so brazen — occurring during daylight hours in front of witnesses. Even when the third victim ran – he was chased and beaten more. The vicious attackers used a ruse — In the third case, the attackers approached the victim and said, “Do you have the time, Sir.” They then attacked before waiting for a response. The damage done indicates the use of a rock or hard weapon of some sort.

SHOMRIM has responded en masse to these crimes and was able to locate one of the attackers at a home near Clarinth Road. The police had one juvenile attacker in custody but he has BEEN RELEASED to commit more crimes.

Sheila Dixon will be at the meeting Tuesday night to talk about improving our neighborhood – including paving Cross Country Boulevard. We are here tonight to show that BEFORE PAVING OUR STREETS, CLEAN THEM UP FIRST!






Update at 6:03pm on 4/16/07:

The following email was also sent out via Shomrei’s e-mail list: Read the rest of this entry »

Defending Ourselves

Over Pesach, there have been at least four three attacks on Orthodox Jews in the Baltimore area. These included incidents that happened in broad daylight. I’m in Detroit for Pesach and I’ve been told that many people here have been harassed as well. Thankfully, the incidents in Detroit aren’t usually anything more than taunting or black-hat tipping, but it could easily escalate. From what I understand, in one of the Baltimore incidents, one of the victims had to be sent to the hospital.

This has to stop.

While most of us can’t or won’t fight with our fists, the least you can do is carry some pepper spray with you. This is a non-lethal, safe way of defending ourselves. The people who carry out these attacks need to learn that there will be consequences to their actions. If anyone needs pepper spray, I can get it for you at a good price. Leave a comment with your email address (it doesn’t get published), and I will get you set up. It comes in all sorts of sizes, and can include holsters if you want.