Museum Matters: May 2014

Posted on May 2, 2014 by

Global stories

1992154001One of the remarkable aspects of working at the Jewish Museum of Maryland are the constant reminders that the events that have occurred in the Jewish community here in Maryland are ultimately tied to experiences across the globe.  On my recent visit to the Jewish Museum of London, I had a chance to see the exhibit on Jewish participation in World War I – a link that connects to the sixty volunteers from East Baltimore who joined the British military unit known as “the Jewish Legion.”

Shanghai_ghetto_in_1943This month our attention turns to the other side of the globe as Rabbi Marvin Tokayer shares his insights on the Jewish refugees from Shanghai in our Risch Memorial program.  This year I learned that there are actually still members of the Shanghai enclave and their descendants living here in Baltimore.  You won’t want to miss this fascinating program hosted by Baltimore Hebrew Congregation on May 18.



Upcoming Programs

Please note that unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). For more information and to RSVP for specific programs, contact Trillion Attwood: (410) 732-6400 x215 / For more information on JMM events please visit

While you’re marking your calendars, take note, the Museum WILL be open on Memorial Day, May 26th and will be closed for Shavuot on June 4th and 5th.


Mothers Day Family Mah Jongg Marathon

Sunday, May 11, 11:00am-5:00pm

Program Free with Museum Admission 


What better way to celebrate the important women in your life then coming to the JMM for a day of Mah Jongg Madness!  All members of the family are welcome. Lessons will be available for Mah Jongg novices and we will have plenty of experts on hand to help explain this fascinating game. This event is open to players of all ability and we will have separate beginner and advanced level tables. Everyone will have a chance to win and prizes will include a variety of Mah Jongg goodies! We will be playing with the National Mah Jongg Leagues 2014 card. Registration is not required but is recommended as table space is limited!


The 8th Annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration:

From Poverty to Culture: The Refugee Community in Shanghai During World War ll

Speaker: Rabbi Marvin Tokayer

Sunday May 18, 2:00pm

Admission is Free

This program takes place at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation (7401 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21208)

JMM_Risch_PC_NEW-page-001The Risch Memorial program is the largest and most important annual event in our calendar year.  Each year it focuses on a different aspect of the topic of immigration.  This year, as JMM looks at cultural ties between China and the Jewish Community through its Project Mah Jongg exhibit, we have invited a very special expert on the Jews of East Asia, Rabbi Marvin Tokayer, to be our featured speaker.  Rabbi Tokayer is the former chief rabbi of Tokyo and author of the Fugu Plan. You won’t want to miss this powerful evocation of how the 20,000 Jews of Shanghai struggled against impossible odds to not only survive, but thrive in this unexpected site of refuge.

Support for the Risch Memorial Program is provided by Frank and Helen Risch through the Risch Memorial Endowment Fund at THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.


Late Night on Lloyd Street: The Wheel and the Star:  Do the Shapes Fit?: Buddhism and Judaism Meet in the Modern World    

Thursday May 22, 6:00 to 9:00pm

jubuDid you know the first American to convert to Buddhism on American soil was Jewish?  Charles Strauss converted in 1893 at an exposition on world religions. Join us for this panel discussion on the connections between Judaism and Buddhism.

As with all Late Night on Lloyd Streets there will be plenty of snacks and drinks.

Late Night on Lloyd Street programs are FREE thanks to generous support from the Grandchildren of Harvey M. and Lyn P. Meyerhoff Philanthropic Fund.



Annual Meeting: Will Our Grandchildren be Jewish? The Future of American Jewry


Sunday, June 1, 1:00pm

Speaker: Len Saxe

Admission is Free

Annual_Meeting_PC-1The recently released Pew Research Center report, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” has unleashed a veritable tsunami of commentary.  The results of this study have been interpreted in so many ways. According to some, the American Jewish community is dissolving, while others maintain that the community has never been larger. The lecture will assess competing views of the state of American Jewry and the prospects for future decline or growth.  The perspective will be one of optimism: How Pew’s findings should be regarded as positive and how understanding the data can help the American Jewish community address challenges.

Leonard Saxe, Ph.D., is Klutznick Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies and Social Policy at Brandeis University where he directs the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute.

The program begins at 1:00pm with a presentation of the FY 15 slate of nominees to the JMM’s Board of Trustees for election by the Museum’s membership. The lecture will follow. Refreshments will be served.


More Programs

The JMM is pleased to share our campus with B’nai Israel Congregation. For additional information about B’nai Israel events and services for Shabbat, please visit  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit or check out BIYA on facebook.




Current exhibits

Exhibits currently on display at the JMM include Project Mah Jongg (on display through June 29), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, The Synagogue Speaks!


Hours and Tour Times

The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm. We offer tours of our historic synagogues each day at 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00.


Get Involved

The JMM is looking for volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or



Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families.

All members receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street.

Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. Memberships can be purchase online! For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or


Gift Shop


The Museum Shop is the place to shop for your favorite Mah Jongg must-have pieces…your game will be on-game!   These are only a SAMPLE of what you will find!  See you at the tables!





Esther Weiner, Museum Shop Manager, 410-732-6400, ext. 211 /



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