New Fabulous Wedding Hall in Baltimore

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  • #1833346
    BaltimoreMaven
    Participant

    I understand there is a new wedding hall in Baltimore. While it is apparently designed for the “all-in-one-package” that the Baltimore Wedding Initiative has been running for many years, this one is open to all Star K caterers. You have to be a member of the Owings Mills Synagogue to have a Chasuna (or Bar Mitzvah etc) there. I haven’t been there for a Chasuna yet but I’ve heard uniformly positive.

    #1833466
    yisroellazear
    Participant

    Not all caterers in Baltimore are under the Star K. Are they not permitted in this place? Doesn’t seem fair, as I know (knew) of one, under the OU that was high quality,in kashrus, pricing, and food/presentation.

    #1833500
    Joseph
    Participant

    How many frum Yidden live in Baltimore?

    #1833511
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Statistics are not all that recent and definitions on “orthodox jews” are even more inconsistent. If you look at the various estimates and update them to 2020, there would seem to be about 100,000 “jews” in the Baltimore metro area (including City of Baltimore, Pikesville, Reisterstown, Owings Mills, etc) and perhaps 25 percent of them consider themselves “orthodox” which probably ranges from MO to Chassidic/yeshivish etc. . The orthodox segment is the fastest growing segment of the overall tzibur. Some studies lump Baltimore and Metro Washington D.C./ Northern VA into a single metro area which distorts the numbers. The D.C. frum component is much smaller (probably in the range of 10 to 15 percent of the total).

    #1833514
    BaltimoreMaven
    Participant

    There are around 4000 frum families in Baltimore last I checked. That’s around 12000 frum people (although we don’t count Yidden).

    if a caterer chooses to be under OU that’s their choice. I’m sure they are good and the food is fine but in Baltimore the Star K rules. Some restaurants went OU for a while, only to switch back.

    #1833529
    midwesterner
    Participant

    If you have to be a member of a specific shul, that is not very inclusive.

    #1833534
    Billywee
    Participant

    Based on the last real poll (2010) it’s assumed today there are 25-30,000 Jews that identify as Orthodox in Baltimore.

    #1833548

    Bottom line for those in Baltimore, is Lakewood still the better option based on pricing or is the cost of this hall the same considering they will have to add on the cost of membership in the shul.

    yosroellazear: You wrote “Not all caterers in Baltimore are under the Star K.” True, but it also means that they are not on the list of acceptable caterers for this hall.

    #1833546
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Billy…..sounds in the ballpark compared with my estimate above of 25 percent of a total of about 100,000 jewish residents in a broadly defined Baltimore metro area. I’m not sure the exact number is as important as the obvious growth in the totals and the fact that the frum component is the fastest growing segment. Also should note that there are several venues in the Baltimore City/County area where an OU/Star K or even some “OOT” kosher caterers can operate.

    #1833568
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Are you suggesting that a young man/woman living in the Baltimore area should focus on shiduchin in Lakewood so as to reduce the costs for renting a simcha hall? Otherwise, If the choson/kalah are both from Maryland/DC area, why would they go to Lakewood for the wedding?

    #1833575
    midwesterner
    Participant

    Baltimoreans get very annoyed when they have to travel almost three hours each way for a wedding. It’s a big strain. When my son married a Baltimore girl, her father is a man of some prominence in town there. He felt an achrayus to make it locally, even though he would have saved significant money doing it in Lakewood. His kehillah thanked him for that consideration.

    #1833605

    Unfortunately my “big city” NY mouth opened without thinking and providing a coherent response. If the shidduch is local of course one should try and stay local and I think it is fantastic that there is a local option. However, if its a Baltimore/Philadelphia or Baltimore/NY shidduch then one would have to weigh the cost of making the chasunah in Baltimore versus Lakewood, considering one would have to become a member of that shul (unless they are already a member).

    #1833602
    midwesterner
    Participant

    People should look for shidduchim based on compatibility, hashkafah, and a whole bunch of other things based on the person. Not based on geography. Don’t make or break a shidduch for a lifetime based on factors related to the one night event, i.e. the wedding.
    GH: Have you been watching at all lately? People from everywhere make weddings in Lakewood because they are significantly cheaper, and simpler. One check covers almost everything. Wedding hall, caterer, photography, video, music, and flowers. Not because of where they live. I have married off 5 daughters, BH ka”h. Only my first was in the OOT community in which I live. One that was made with another OOT mechuten was in Yerushalayim. The other 3 were in Lakewood. Two of the mechutanim came from Brooklyn, and the other from Canada. You don’t have to be from Lakewood to make a wedding in Lakewood.

    #1833676
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    What is the “Owings Mills Synagogue”? Owings Mills is a town in Baltimore County miles from the main frum community. There used to be an Aish shul there, and I think there’s a Chabad maybe. But it’s not the first place I would pick to build a wedding hall, and I can’t find any information on the existence of a shul calling itself “Owings Mills Synagogue”.

    #1833682
    Billywee
    Participant

    Midwesterner made a good point. It was much talked about in baltimore a few years ago. When a long-time Baltimore family makes a wedding in Lakewood to save money, their local friends and family greatly resent it. While the Host saves money his guests need to lay out a lot to drive there, take off work early, get home in the middle of the night and be exhausted the next day, and spend 6 hours in a car. All so the Host can save some money.

    #1833709

    midwesterner: I did not anywhere suggest one make a shidduch based on geography or where to hold the wedding. One of my sons married someone from Baltimore and based on various factors the kallah’s side decided to make the wedding in Lakewood.

    “You don’t have to be from Lakewood to make a wedding in Lakewood.” – however, the Lakewood caterers are starting to charge extra when neither the chosson or kallahs side live in Lakewood.

    #1833733
    midwesterner
    Participant

    LOT: My comment about shidduchim and geography was directed at GH.

    “Are you suggesting that a young man/woman living in the Baltimore area should focus on shiduchin in Lakewood so as to reduce the costs for renting a simcha hall? Otherwise, If the choson/kalah are both from Maryland/DC area, why would they go to Lakewood for the wedding?”

    I’ve heard those rumors about the upcharge for OOT. But my experience has been (3 weddings in the past 4 years, one in Fountain and two in Ateres Reva) that is just talk. No one asked where I live until after we discussed cost, settled on a number, and then they asked where to send paperwork.

    #1833743
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Yserbius123: Maybe he is referrring to the Beth Israel shul in OM….there is still a chabad center there but unlikley to have built a big simcha hall and chabad never charges “membership” fees.

    #1833812
    BaltimoreMaven
    Participant

    This shul and wedding hall were recently purchased from a Reform temple that spent a lot of money making it beautiful. The cost of membership is included in the cost of the Chasuna I believe. The Chasuna package is one check covers everything. Wedding hall, caterer, photography, video, music, and flowers. All inclusive – for $12,500. That’s about the same as Lakewood I believe.

    #1834002
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Balt Mayven: Are you referring to the reform temple (Har Sinai) on Greenspring when you come north on Park Heights from I-695? Did the sell their building to an orthodox shul? Their website still shows them operating but highlights their rental of a big catering hall. They highlight the fact that they are the oldest reform group in the U.S. dating back to Baltimore City in 1842?
    Also, does a $12,500 package cover up to a specific number of guests?

    #1833986

    midwesterner: maybe to you its a rumor; tome it is fact it happened to my BIL and SIL who live in NJ but 35 miles north of Lakewood and to two of my neighbors.

    #1834051
    Billywee
    Participant

    As to what’s going on with the building. Har Sinai and Oheb Shalom are merging and at least for now will be using Oheb Shaloms site on Park Heights across from Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. So it seems they sold the building to someone that’s turning it into a wedding hall.
    I’m not sure about the having to pay membership part as there’s no Frum Shul out there and it wouldn’t work well for people who don’t drive on Shabbos since it’s pretty rural.

    #1834053
    BaltimoreMaven
    Participant

    Gadol: yes. Google Owings Mills Synagogue. It’s on Walnut Avenue up Greenspring. Right near Bais Yaakov. Hamayvin Yovin that “membership” doesn’t require you to daven there daily. And most people in Baltimore actually belong to multiple Shuls anyway.

    #1834082
    BaltimoreMaven
    Participant

    Ironically the “frumme” have now purchased both old Har Sinai buildings. It’s like they are building them for us.

    #1834104
    Billywee
    Participant

    BaltimoreMaven,
    First, Don’t count your chickens. Har Sinai, Oheb Shalom, Balt. Hebrew, Chizuk Emuna and many others aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
    Second, Don’t knock them. The political, social and financial assistance they provide to the Frum community is tremendous. The Frum community wouldn’t be 20% of what it is without their past and current help.

    #1834230
    BaltimoreMaven
    Participant

    It’s unreasonable to insinuate that I’m either counting chickens or knocking anyone. You can’t dispute they are in decline but I think it’s Hashgocha Protis that this building (and their prior one) are both in Orthodox hands rather than the churches or mosques which also bid on them.

    #1834696
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Baltimore Mayven: Are there enough frummies living within walking distance of the Walnut/Greenspring area for them to have a shabbos minyan or is this facility initially focused on being a catering hall only (with people driving from the Baltimore/Pikesville Resitertown areas) with the potential for a minyan later on as more frum yidden relocate from the City.

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