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B'nai Spotlight - Richard Baum

B'nai Spotlight will highlight a range of members of the B'nai Israel family who have a long and deep history with the shul. A new profile will be published at least monthly. Every person has incredible stories. Here you will find a few.  Each profile tells the reader something about the member who heads up the profile and offers interesting stories of their family connection to B'nai Israel or shul history.  The profile also provides their insights on "belonging" to a community - in short, their "My B'nai Story".  We hope you enjoy B'nai Spotlight.

I  am Richard Baum.  I am a retired gastroenterologist and have been a member of B’nai Israel for about a dozen years.  Most of you know me because my wife Kathleen is the Kiddush chairwoman, but I have deep roots here at B’nai.  Despite my growing up in Druid Hill Park area, B’nai Israel was always spoken of with great affection in my family.  So, ultimately, Katheen and I came home to the shul my ancestors helped start.

Undated photo taken in Baltimore about 1885-1890 of Richard’s great-grandfather Benyomin Krulewitch, and his second wife, Richard’s great-grandmother, Raisel, for whom Richard’s mother, Rosalie, was named. Raisel died in childbirth giving birth to Richard’s great aunt Flora.

 The Krulewitch Family

Richard Baum’s familial connection to B’nai is strong. After immigrating from Russia, his great grandfather, Benjamin Krulewitch, and his brother, Julius, a shoemaker, became early members of B’nai Israel. 

Despite being a prominent member of the downtown Jewish community,  Julius eventually moved up to New York to start the Hat Corporation of America. Benjamin Krulewitch led a busy life in Baltimore and later became the third President of the B’nai Israel Congregation. 

In addition to his involvement with B’nai, he was active in the affairs of Hebrew Free Loan and other Jewish organizations in the area. Krulewitch did well for himself, his three wives and eight children. As a merchant, partner and later sole proprietor of The Monumental Coal Company, and real estate agent, he was known to the German speaking community as “der reicher Krulewitcher,” or “the rich Krulewitch” in English. Richard Baum’s maternal great grandmother, the late Fannie Sugar, is the second child of Krulewitch’s second wife.

Benjamin’s son, Abe, grew up to be treasurer of B’nai Israel in addition to the President of Shaarei Tfiloh and the Hebrew Free Loan before retiring to Miami,  Florida where he passed in 1983. B’nai Israel celebrated all the life events of the early Krulewitch family, including births, weddings, and deaths. Even Benjamin’s son-in law, Charles Silverman, was Bar Mitzvah at B’nai Israel the day before the Great Baltimore fire of 1904, further connecting the Krulewtich legacy to Baltimore history. Benjamin, his three wives, Fannie Sugar,  and all her siblings are buried at the B'nai Israel cemetery, which Benjamin Krulewitch was instrumental in establishing.

On his relationship with B’nai Israel, Richard Baum states:

My great grandfather died 30 years before I was born and the family had left East Baltimore by the time I came along.  I grew up hearing stories about B’nai and life in the neighborhood. When I worship here, I feel a sense of the continuity of Jewish life and traditions which make this place special.

By 18 March 1900 Benjamin Krulewitch was living at 618 East Lombard Street when his daughter, Lillie, married Jacob Goldstein. Raisel had died by this time. The Hazazer’s Hall mentioned in the wedding announcement was at 111 West Franklin Street. It was one of the oldest dance halls in Baltimore at the time. It would later be sold in 1926.


Richard’s mother, Rosalie, daughter of Fannie Sugar nee Krulewitch, circa 1931


Mon, December 11 2023 28 Kislev 5784