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Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Posted on May 7th, 2020 by

A blog post by Director of Education Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click here.


Teacher Appreciation Week recognizes the dedicated educators across the United States. Teachers play such a critical role in shaping and educating our children, who will eventually be the future leaders of our country. Teachers are kind, funny, patient, hard-working, dedicated professionals who are entrusted with the social and emotional well-being of their students. Today teachers are working harder than ever during this time of social distancing. Not only are teachers trying to provide lessons and instruction to their students, they are also checking in on their students, making sure that their students and families have enough to eat and are safe.

The education team at JMM want to give a shout out to all of the teachers across the State of Maryland and beyond to let you know that we are inspired by your hard work during this incredible time. We miss you and your students tremendously. I am reminded of other moments in history where teachers have gone beyond the scope of their classroom. Here are a few videos from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum that inspire me to think about teachers working in extraordinary times.

Landsberg DP Camp 1945-46

Jewish children at the Whittinghame Fame School- Scotland 1939

One room schoolhouse in central Poland, 1936

Pupils at the Goldschmidt School, 1937

It’s a privilege to work with you to provide resources and lessons to your students. Please feel free to reach out to us so we can continue to support you in all of the wonderful work that you do for our children.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Exploring History at Home Part II – JMM Volunteers Share Stories

Posted on May 4th, 2020 by

Storytelling is something that we value at JMM. Even when we are apart, stories can help connect us as a community.

Last month, JMM volunteers welcomed us into their homes to share the stories behind some of their most meaningful objects. We read stories about objects that were rediscovered, objects that are rarely seen today, objects that can fit in the palm of your hand, and an object that you can fit inside! You can read the previous post here.

Our volunteers continue to be superb storytellers and I am happy to share some more of their contributions with you. I hope that these short stories encourage you to think about the meaningful people and things in your life, explore your history, and share your own story.

~ Paige Woodhouse, School Program Coordinator

To read more posts from Paige, click here!

Friedenwald Pitcher and Basin

The attached photo and pasted below is a ritual hand washing pitcher and basin. It was dedicated to Chizuk Amuno Congregation by Jonas Friedenwald. The Hebrew date shown as 5648 converts to Gregorian date 1887-1888.

The artifacts were discovered when going through my Uncle Efrem Potts’s house with his daughters after he recently died. I am not certain, but my guess is that Efrem saved them from his father’s (my grandfather), Isaac Potts’s house in the early 60’s. Isaac predeceased his second wife, Julia Friedenwald Strauss who was Jonas Friedewald’s great granddaughter.

David S.

Majestic Candelabra

My mother explained what she knew about its trajectory throughout The Holocaust. This majestic candelabra traveled with my mother’s aunt and uncle from Poland during the years of WWII. No one in the family knows exactly how they were able to keep it from being confiscated nor which in places it found itself during those tragic years. It’s a mystery. I always light it for Shabbat together with my second historic set.

The second set which my grandmother bought in England following the war.

Her story was remarkable. She experienced several harrowing close calls with the Nazis during the 1940’s when she hid out in Belgium. Her most frightening encounter occurred when she secretly went out to buy a few vegetables and fruits and a Nazi approached her. Within just a few feet, he asked her name in German. My grandmother knew that if she opened her mouth her Yiddish accent would betray her. Within a few seconds she signaled that she was a deaf mute and in that moment of quick thinking she saved her life. A few years later my grandmother worked as a cook in a yeshiva in England and saved her money to buy this set of candlesticks which I also light every Friday night.

Rita P.

The “Little Pot”

This “little pot” – enamelware – is at least as old as I am. My parents acquired it in 1948 or so in the Displaced Persons (DP) camp in Wels, Austria. This is the place they each traveled to after the end of World War II, met each other and married, had me, and left in 1952 to come to America and settle in Baltimore. The story I always heard about the pot was that my mother used it in Wels to make my baby food. In Baltimore as a young child, I remember the little pot was filled with chicken schmaltz. It hasn’t been put to use in many years and whenever I clean out and reorganize the kitchen cabinet, I find that I cannot part with it and always find a place for it.


Charm Bracelet Keepsake

This charm bracelet is one if the few keepsakes I have from my mother’s childhood. As a Holocaust survivor, very few of her belongings survived with her. She received it in 1935 when she was 13 years old, living in Hannover, Germany. Six years later, at the age of 19, she and her mother were rounded up by the SS and spent the next four years in a series of ghettos and concentration camps. Her mother perished in Stutthof Concentration Camp, a few months before liberation. My mother returned to Hannover after the war and retrieved a few special items she had left in the care of a Gentile neighbor. This bracelet was one of them.

Nancy Kutler


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Staying Connected with JMM: Gray in Black and White (For Educators)

Posted on April 30th, 2020 by

“Untitled.” Photograph by J.M. Giordano, 2015

Dear Educators,

On the fifth anniversary of the Baltimore Uprising that followed Freddie Gray’s death in police custody in April 2015, the Jewish Museum of Maryland is proud to host a digital collaboration between two Baltimore photographers, J.M. Giordano and Devin Allen. Giordano, who is white, and Allen, who is black, collaborate to shed light and insight on their fellow Baltimoreans in this online exhibit, Gray in Black and White.

These photographs and their subject matter are deeply personal to Baltimore’s community. At JMM we believe that people, place, things, learning, and actions all matter. We feel strongly that we are not just located in Baltimore, but are integral to the fabric of the city and the state. To be true to that core belief, we must do what we can to respond to or amplify the voices of our neighbors.

In connection with this digital exhibit, we have created educator resources to help encourage students to look closely at, and think deeply about, Giordano’s photographs and the events they depict.

Gray in Black and White: Educator Resources 

“Untitled.” Photograph by J.M. Giordano, 2015

To compliment Giordano’s photographs, Allen’s curator’s statement, and a timeline, we have created resources to foster discussion and reflection with your students. These resources have been created for upper middle and high school students. We encourage you to adjust these activities as you see fit to be respectful and responsive to your students.

Activity: Role of the Photojournalist 
In this activity, students will explore the role of a photojournalist and consider ways an image, and the decisions made by the photographer, can influence an audience.

See photojournalist activity (including downloadable PDF) here.

Activity: Role of the Curator
In this activity, students will examine the role of the curator in the exhibit Gray in Black and White. Students will describe the impact the exhibit has on their personal awareness of social and political understanding. Students will curate a selection of Giordano’s photos.

See curator activity (including downloadable PDF) here.

Activity: Role of the Journalist
In this activity, students will write a newspaper article to accompany one of the photographs from the Gray in Black and White exhibit.

See journalist activity (including downloadable PDF) here.

Activity: Adding Titles to Photographs 
In this activity, students will examine the role of titles for artwork. Students will personally respond to the exhibit Gray in Black and White by creating titles for the photographs.

See titling activity (including downloadable PDF) here.

Activity: Baltimore Uprising Mini-Unit
As a partner and collaborator for Gray in Black and White, we are pleased to share the Baltimore Uprising mini-unit developed by the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

See Uprising activity (including downloadable PDF) here.

Upcoming Online Event

Current Voices: Uprising + 5

On Thursday evening, May 7, 2020, we hope you will join us for a special live stream event with J.M. Giordano and Devin Allen. Presented in partnership with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, the two photographers will discuss their work, the anniversary of Gray’s death, and the lessons that still need to be learned.
This program is supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute-Baltimore.


Scientists, writers, adventurers, and, yes, photographers, are just some of the many explorers in our world. Try this Why We Explore Wondernauts activity with your students! We can’t wait to hear what you discover together.

Looking for other hands-on activities related to space? Check out our Wondernauts website.

For more posts from Paige Woodhouse, School Program Coordinator, click here.

For more education newsletters, click here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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