Religion Notes


January 05, 2007

Conservative Jewish rulings on agenda

Rabbi Susan Grossman of Beth Shalom Congregation will offer a four-session course on recent "responsa," or legal decisions, decided for Conservative Judaism by the movement's Committee of Jewish Law and Standards, of which Grossman is a member.

"I'll be teaching about the Conservative Jewish [position] on stem cell research, its permissibility and why it's permissible," Grossman said. The session on stem cell research will be held from 7:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Jan. 16.

The committee issued two contradictory decisions on human sexuality, Rabbi Grossman said; both received a majority vote. "One decision upheld the universal prohibition against gay relationships, while the other narrowly defined the biblical prohibition to thereby allow most forms of gay relationships, including ordination and commitment ceremonies," she said.

Grossman, who was head of the subcommittee on family, gender and human sexuality that oversaw the editing of the decisions, will explain both positions from 7:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Jan. 23.

Regarding the rationale for endorsing two contradictory policies, Rabbi Grossman emphasized the Conservative Movement's commitment to pluralism.

"There is no way for limited human beings to really know what God wants," she said.

A session on organ donation is planned for Jan. 30; the role of women as witnesses is the topic for Feb. 6.

The cost is $5 a class, payable at the door. Beth Shalom Congregation is at 8070 Harriet Tubman Lane, Columbia.

Information: 410-531-5115.

Jewish womanhood to be class topic

The Lubavitch Center for Jewish Education will offer classes to introduce girls ages 11 to 13 to Jewish womanhood.

"How to be a Jewish Woman" will begin at 7:45 p.m. Sunday. Regular classes will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

"How to be a Jewish Woman" will include crafts, poetry and discussion. No synagogue affiliation is required; there is a fee for the class, which runs for 12 to 15 sessions.

A free women's Bible study class (children welcome) is offered at noon Wednesdays, and a text-based Torah study class is offered from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays. The cost for materials is $36.

Information: Rebbetzin Chani Baron, 410-740-2424.

Christian aerobics sessions starting

Body & Soul Christian Aerobics, cardio and strength training to contemporary Christian music, will begin its winter sessions today and Sunday. There is a fee.

A Tuesday and Friday class is to meet at 9:15 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, at U.S. 29 and Route 108.

Information: 410-985-7102.

A Monday-Wednesday-Friday class is to meet at 9:30 a.m. at South Columbia Baptist Church, 8814 Guilford Road, Columbia.

Information: 410-381-4668.

Linden-Linthicum plans blood drive

Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church, 12101 Linden Linthicum Lane, Clarksville, will hold a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Donors are encouraged to make an appointment. Each participant will receive a shirt.

Information or to make an appointment: Susan Weyer, 410-531-6235.

Alleluias slate concert Sunday

The Alleluias, an interdenominational Christian choral group based in Howard County, will present a sacred choral concert at 5 p.m. Sunday at Elkridge Baptist Church, 5929 Setter Drive (in Hunt Club Estates), Elkridge.

The church's Sunday worship service begins at 11 a.m.

Information: 410-796-4486, or

Hadassah planning mah-jongg night

Howard County Hadassah will hold a mah-jongg event, with instruction for beginners, from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Jan. 17 at Beth Shalom Congregation, 8070 Harriet Tubman Lane, Columbia. Tables will also be available for experienced players. Snacks, wine, raffles and socializing are planned.

The cost is $10 for Hadassah members; $15 for nonmembers, and a $5 donation for new members who join at the event.

Reservations are requested by Monday. Send the attendee's name, address, phone number and a check to Hadassah of Howard County, P.O. Box 238, Simpsonville 21150-0238.

Proceeds will benefit Hadassah Hospital.

Information: Sue Furman, 410-531-5996.

Spiritual seekers group meets Sunday

Journeys Community, a nontraditional spiritual seekers' group, meets at 10 a.m. Sundays in the second-floor auditorium of Vantage House Life-Care Retirement Community, 5400 Vantage Point Road in Town Center, Columbia.

Journeys Community has published a book, Seeking the Spirit: How to Create a Community of Seekers.

The book describes the history of the Columbia group and its nontraditional liturgy, which draws on many cultures and faith traditions.

Included are readings, music and film clips from sources such as Mother Teresa, Thich Nhat Hanh and Stevie Wonder.

Information: 410-730-6079.

Thrift shop has fall, winter clothing

Trinity Episcopal Church's Gift & Thrift Shoppe, 6010 Waterloo Road at Old Montgomery Road in Elkridge, has fall and winter clothing available.

The shop is at Pfeiffer's Corner, behind St. John's Lutheran Church.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Information: 410-799-9175.

If you have an announcement for Religion Notes, send it to howard.religion@baltsun. com or fax it to 410-715-2816.

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