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Descendants’ Day, scheduled for 20 - 22 March, was shaping up to be one of the largest and certainly most diverse gatherings B'nai Israel has hosted. However, in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation we have decided to postpone the Descendants' Day Shabbaton.  

This decision was particularly due to the fact that many attending have to take flights to Baltimore and because it will be such a large gathering. Given that, and the uncertainty of the spread of the virus, we believe that the postponement is in everyone’s best interest. We are rescheduling Descendants’ Day presentations as online presentations. We are currently confirming the date with our speakers, and will be releasing further information soon.

The registrants have already been informed of the decision. We very much hope that all of you, whether you are currently registered or not, will be able to join us on the rescheduled date. There will be a dynamic schedule of speakers, discussions, and tours, along with fabulous food.

We hope for health for all of you, and look forward to seeing you in June. Watch for further information about the rescheduled Descendants’ Day.

Thank you all.

Descendants' Day

Honoring Our Past, Shaping the Future, and Fostering Community
Join us for Descendants' Day - March 20th - 22nd - 
Click Here to Register!


Descendants’ Day at B’nai Israel is simultaneously an extensive genealogical and history project, and a unique community building initiative, connecting people to their heritage and drawing fresh attention and energy to the historic Jewish community of Jonestown.  In 2018, B’nai Israel Congregation began planning the Descendants’ Day Project, partnering with The Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland and The Jewish Museum of Maryland. The project is researching the living descendants of those Jewish families involved in B’nai Israel and the Jonestown community going back into the late 19th century.

The project will update the existing historic record of B'nai Israel and the Jewish community of Jonestown with new and inclusive information about the people who lived, worked, and worshipped here.  The Descendants' Day project is an ambitious multi-year project, with the first year culminating in the first B'nai Israel Descendants' Day Shabbaton on 20 - 22 March 2020.






That you might recount it for a future generation. (Psalms 48:14)


You Can Help!  Does your family have a multi-generational connection to B'nai Israel? We need the input of community members.  Do you have information on your ancestors who davened at B'nai Israel or lived in the Jonestown neighborhood? Do you have photos or other material about the shul or the old neighborhood?  Do you have other family members who could be invited to take part in Descendants' Day activities? For a Family Group Sheet where you can fill in your family information click hereYou can also submit the information, photos, etc. in any format you want. We just want to hear from you. Contact the office at 410.732.5454 or by email at


B’nai Israel Congregation is now 145 years old.  One hundred and forty-five years of serving the Jewish community of downtown Baltimore, and 145 years of births, marriages, deaths, and celebrations. This building at 27 Lloyd Street has been the home of B’nai Israel for 123 years, taking it over from a previous congregation in 1895.  Those who founded and built this congregation, and those who davened in this building before B’nai Israel, had gone through the Civil War and their descendants would be at the center of the waves of immigration, change, and struggles that shaped Baltimore City.

To honor that history of our congregation and synagogue, and its place in Jewish Baltimore, B’nai Israel Congregation is planning for a weekend-long Descendants’ Day Shabbaton.  We intend to gather the descendants of as many of the founding families as we can.

The Descendants’ Day Shabbaton in Spring 2020 will mark 125 years at 27 Lloyd Street, and 147 years since the congregation’s founders gathered at 81 North Gay Street on April 12th, 1873 to elect a Board of Trustees.

The weekend will consist of a Homecoming like celebration, replete with a walk down memory lane, lots of Jewish geography, memories from the “alta haim” (Yiddish for old home) and an action packed weekend of lectures from world class educators and historians with ties to Old Jewish Baltimore, symposiums, panel moderated discussions, historic walking tours, learning, praying and socializing. It will also include workshops on genealogical research and opportunities for families to share their genealogical own family stories from Southeast Baltimore, and many opportunities for everyone to remember, share, eat, daven, and think about the future together.  

  • What was life like for our genetic or spiritual ancestors in Jonestown over the generations?
  • What did our ancestors experience over the generations? The Civil War, Waves of Immigration, Civil Rights.
  • How do we rebuild Jewish community in Baltimore?

We know this event will be inspiring for the far flung B’nai Israel family, many of whose descendants may well be unaware of their connection to the old Jewish community of downtown Baltimore.  We know it will be a magnet for the Jewish community around Baltimore as it offers a unique opportunity to look through the lens of history to our past, and at the same time to consider what a renewed downtown Jewish community could look like.  We hope also for this to be a celebration of the old and the new downtown Baltimore and the pivotal role of the Jewish community in both.


This program is generously supported
by the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Fund of The Associated







Tue, November 24 2020 8 Kislev 5781