Back in Baltimore

I'll be back in Baltimore, my hometown, later this week. I'll be officiating at the wedding of two UMD students under the same chuppah where my parents and sister were married, and in the same sanctuary where my grandfather, a"h, davened, was principal of the day school, and ultimately, where I was maspid him 14+ years ago. It will be a charged event for me.

Having grown up in Baltimore, I feel qualified to register my own 'oib'ism. Stylistically, it will be a bit different from the ones you'll see here and here. Baltimore is the only place on Earth where you can see a chassid in full regalia of shtreimel/spodek and kapote strolling down the street on Shabbos, walking his dog.

I'll be in Baltimore for the greatest sporting event to take place there in decades: the Baltimore Ravens will be hosting the still-hated Colts of Indianapolis, formerly of Baltimore, in an AFC playoff game. I remember the day that the Mayflower vans drove off, and know the years of agony that Baltimore suffered at the hands of Bob Irsay and Paul Tagliabue. That hatred will remain with Baltimorians until the legacy and name of the Colts is returned to the city of Baltimore (much as the expansion Cleveland Browns inherited the history of their predecessor, the franchise that became the Ravens). It's a philosophical thing; I don't even like football that much. I think it's way too violent.

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