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B'nai Spotlight - Mark Carp

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.

Mark Carp owns a commercial and industrial real estate brokerage business. He also owns investment property. Mr. Carp has written six novels: Mr. Show Business, Segalvitz, Abraham: The Last Jew, The Extraordinary Times of Ordinary People, The End of Hell, and Naomi's "American” Family. He has also written Cain, Abel and the Family Cohen, a fictional memoir. Mr. Carp's newest book, Two Novellas: The Columnist and The Conformist and the Misfit will be published shortly. He holds a BS degree from the University of Maryland and an MS degree from The Johns Hopkins University. As you will see in his profile, Mark’s family history in Jonestown goes back generations, a flame he is rekindling today.


A Descendant’s Day story

by Mark Carp

Lombard Street sits today a remnant of the past, when it was filled with merchants and manufacturers of a Jewish-immigrant generation trying to make their way in a New World, far from Russia where life was lived in the shtetl and pogroms were a threat to lives, limbs, and property. 

At one time names such as Tulkoff, Yankalov and Attman were prominent on store fronts and their activities varied from the slaughter of chickens, to making horseradish, to the smell of freshly sliced hot corned beef, to the distinct aroma of the fish markets where two brothers, Morris Lazinsky and Mendel Lesinsky, had stores across the street from one another, near where Attman's is. The brothers weren't on speaking terms, though their families were.  

Mendel Lesinsky

Mendel Lesinsky died in 1940, six years before my birth. He was my great grandfather.  According to The Evening Sun obituary, services were held at his residence at 1018 Lombard Street.  He was buried at Anshe Neisen Cemetery in Rosedale.

The building that housed Lesinsky's fish market was demolished in May and June of 1992 along with five other five buildings, 1010 through 1018 East Lombard Street

Mendel and Morris opened their fish markets in the early years of the 20th century.  The 1910 census identifies Morris as a “fish dealer” on E. Lombard Street, living and working in the same building.  That shop closed  in the late 1930s, but an artifact from it, a hanging scale, is in The Jewish Museum of Maryland.

 That Jewish-immigrant generation has passed into history, a remnant of what once was.   Nonetheless, the archaeology of their past is unmistakably present as so sits the scars of buildings that   once housed the Jewish Educational Alliance, forerunner of the Jewish Community Center, and   Hendler's Ice Cream. 

 Other edifices, however, have survived: The Lloyd Street Synagogue, once home of the   Baltimore Hebrew Congregation; Attman's, B'nai Israel, and the Jewish Museum of Maryland,   continually reminding us of our heritage. 

 The years, however, haven't been so kind to Lombard Street. It has seen the rise of suburbia and highway systems that have destroyed and/or bypassed inner-city neighborhoods and institutions; public housing projects that produced ever-more squalid conditions and did little to ameliorate the sufferings of the poor; and the 1968 devastating riots in the aftermath of the Martin Luther King assassination. For the most part, the Jews have fled.

Understanding Belonging

Yet as Shakespeare has reminded us, “Everything changes, everything stays the same.” Attman's flourishes, B'nai Israel survives, the Jewish Museum of Maryland is a major presence, and a block or so from Mendel Leshinsky's fish market, Mark Carp regularly davens at B'nai Israel where he frequently chants the Haftarah on Shabbat. The great grandson has returned, rekindling the past while actively participating in the future that could be as ironic as a heritage that some of us have been witness to.

Tue, July 16 2024 10 Tammuz 5784