By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s Jewish community begins the celebration of Passover Monday evening. The holiday commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Ron Matz reports preparations for the holiday are underway with a tradition that’s been a part of Baltimore for nearly 30 years.

In the shadows of Pimlico Race Course, there are flames and prayers for Passover.

This is the burning of the Chometz, getting rid of all leavened bread before Passover.

Dr. Bert Miller started the community event in 1982. It happens just hours before the Seder.

“I was living in the Glen View Apartments back in 1980. It was the day before Passover and it was time to burn the leavened bread. I noticed an elderly gentleman doing it on his porch. Someone thought there was a fire and the fire department came rushing up and here was just an elderly gentleman trying to burn some bread before Passover. So I realized there had to be a better solution and I organized this in 1982. The first year we had about 200 participants. This year we’re expecting close to 6,000,” said Miller.

This pre-Passover tradition used to take place at the Glen Avenue fire house, but it was moved to Pimlico three years ago.

“We do this from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. and it’s in partnership with the Department of Public Works, the police department and the Department of Transportation. We would not be able to do this if we didn’t have the partnership of the Maryland Jockey Club. They have been gracious in donating their property to us, as well as having people out here directing traffic and helping us set up. They’re just a great partner,” said Betsy Gardener, mayor’s Jewish Community liaison. “We moved it from the Glen Avenue Fire Station because of the growth of the Jewish community. This way we have it here on the parking lot at Pimlico. People can get in and get out safely. They can bring their children, they can talk with neighbors. This way we are assured they’re safe. It’s a family event.”

“We have to get rid of our leavened before the Passover holiday and we do it traditionally by burning. If some parents aren’t careful and they trust the children to do the burning in the backyard the children can be injured, so this is a tremendous benefit for the community,” said Miller.

A lot of children were among the 3,000 people coming there Monday.

“We converted to Judaism some years ago and this is one of the things that Jews do every year at Pesach. We search for Chometz in our home and clean our home. Afterwards we have a community burning to symbolize some of the things that the Jews have gone through the last year,” said Chanah Denton of Northwest Baltimore.

Passover is a time to remember.

“Passover is probably the oldest religious ritual on the planet. The famous part of Passover is the festive meal which occurs tonight, where the Torah requires us to explain the whole Passover story to our children,” said Miller. “We have the festive meal tonight, the burning of the bread this morning and last night we checked our homes to make sure we had no leavened materials, any leavened bread that we were unaware of. We have to get totally rid of it according to biblical commandments.”

To offset the cost of Monday’s activities, participants were asked to make a $2 donation. Passover lasts for eight days.

Comments (2)
  1. Kailash Bengathody says:

    World War Two Derivatives and The realizations of War and the minds of Collective thinking

    So, A German government representative of Hitler never raped a jewish woman, however, there was a thought amongst the german government that the worth of a jewish woman is not in herself but related to what ought not have come out of her womb.
    The thing that started what I call the tangential sociability of conquering the world and being the supreme beings was derived as follows by my analytical thinking:

    German Children Jewish or Not were infatuated with ideas that made sense to them through whom or whom was wearing propaganda like uniforms for example (Army Uniforms, or Money Uniforms) if you get the sense now I will explain the past tense. No matter at what point a child becomes grown person, if not grown yet (let aside the fact that some cultures raise children as they are adults themselves) the sense(meaning) of the view of uniformity is the same sense they make even when the sense(meaning) is the opposite.

    So when after the first rich Jews were killed in the first holocaust, if true as I have read, estimated around 1930’s. What occurred might be the fact that to the kid’s it was survival, outside played by the Nazi’s was, you are kids we will not kill you. At that point the truth became, we are not Jews we are with you.
    Moving along after all the other Jewish parents were killed without mercy, the same reaction might have ensued within. That fear is still might be haunting the Jews who grow up these days though the past generations.
    Now we know that the fact that the Nazi’s thought they were doing the right thing though kids, whom many many religions or believers have thought to have been represented with GOD, was not the truth. Kid’s never lie is not necessarily the truth, can you think again. Let me know what I have written wrong here. It will peacify. Sincerely, Kailash.

    if you wish to contact me please e-mail me at

    The rest of the story is personal: I was brought into the world of psychiatry and there and hence was removed from the rest of society, until a Jew (doctor) freed me from my bounds.

    But I wonder, who in Germany is a Psychiatrist, a Jewish person, or someone who knows the looks and sociability of a Jewish person yet a Nazi inside, the preposed analytical essay is intelligently and quite possibly socializable. So I beg to ask the question, are the kids who accepted the Nazi’s yet being tortured and killed by whom or whomsoever that left the Jews to live in the War after the Holocaust that was stopped.

    I have me. I have God. I am with God.

    Kailash Bengathody

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