Posted on August 5th, 2014 by Rachel
The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Deborah Cardin at 410.732.6400 x236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: January 10, 2014
PastPerfect Accession #: 2006.013.235
Status: Identified! The Harry Greenstein Memorial Award at the JCC Annual Meeting, May 30, 1989: Left to Right: 1. Lucy Steinitz, Executive Director Jewish Family & Children’s Services 2. Rosellen Fleishman, President Jewish Family & Children’s Services 3. Lou Fox (president of Fox Chevrolet on Hanover street) 4. Peggy Wolf 5. Sharan (Rosenberg) Stein 6. Jeff Rouse, Executive Director, Jewish Community Center
Special Thanks To: Cheryl Rosenfeld, “S”, Myrna Cardin, Rosellen Fleishman, Ira Askin, Maxine Gordon, Joel Ginsburg, Charlotte Stein
Posted on August 4th, 2014 by Rachel
Robyn Hughes has been volunteering at the JMM since 2005. From the time she was a Jewish Studies major at the University of Maryland, she dreamt about working at the JMM. She has volunteered in many capacities. She began as a docent and continues as a weekly (sometimes twice weekly!) afternoon docent who leads tours of the synagogues. In the intervening years, she worked as a Summer Education Intern and a Fall Research Fellow in 2006, during which time she organized a wine and cheese reception for Art Beyond Sight, established a Salon program, and collected oral history interviews from historically significant Maryland Jews. She continues to represent the JMM on Capitol Hill at the annual Museum Advocacy Day, plus acts as the Educator for museum programs for guests who read Braille and ensures that the Museum supports the standards for Common Core Braille literacy.
She volunteers at the JMM because she loves it. She particularly appreciates the geographic and professional diversity of all of the guests, staff and fellow volunteers, and finds it fascinating getting to know everyone.
Robyn in flight
Three interesting facts about Robyn that make her even more endearing… She lived in Israel for a total of 3 years, beginning as a tourist then returning to spend time at Hebrew University and as a graduate student also. She is an expert on German Jewish Coffeehouse Intellectuals—she studies the social and political writings of Karl Kraus and Stefan Zweig. She is taking flying lessons. She learned how to pilot a Cessna 172 aircraft. Prior to flying, she enjoyed learning to rock climb. Plus, she continues to enjoy traveling, having done academic research in London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna.
Rockin’ the wall
A blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at email@example.com or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.
Posted on August 1st, 2014 by Rachel
Here in Baltimore no one has any doubt what war we are commemorating. As summer slips into fall one celebration after another will remind us of the events two hundred years ago that gave us our anthem, our pride and our continued independence. As most of you know, JMM is a part of these festivities, honoring our own favorite Ft. McHenry defender, Mendes Cohen.
However, in much of the world the war being remembered this year is a century later. On July 28, 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Serbia, the first in a series of domino triggers that will take the world into its first global maelstrom. Within a month of the outbreak, futurist H.G. Wells had already published an article declaring that this would be “The War that Will End War”(it’s ok, we also don’t have time travel yet…or a Martian invasion).
The war would be twice tragic for the Jewish people. First in the loss of life of soldiers drawn to patriotic duty at the early stages of the conflict and second in the inflammation of prejudice as pundits and politicians throughout Europe looked for a scapegoat for their ill-fortune in the fight.
When I was at the Jewish Museum of London this spring, I had a chance to see the exhibit “For King and Country?: The Jewish Experience of the First World War”. As the “?” in the title implies there were a lot of ambiguities in the Jewish response to the conflict. After all, many English Jews of the period were recent refugees of lands controlled by Russia and they did not necessarily favor a victory for the Czar, even if he was allied with Great Britain. Moreover, reflecting the relative size of Jewish populations, more than twice the number of Jews fought for the Central Powers (Germany and Austria) as for the UK and France. In our collection at JMM we have several medals acquired by Jewish soldiers in the service of the German army, carried with them when they were forced to escape on the eve of WWII.
Cross-shaped WWI medal earned by Hugo Bessinger, 2011.4.1
In fact, quickly browsing our collection, it becomes obvious that Baltimore Jews played important roles in the war. Even before the doughboys went to Europe, the British Royal Fusiliers had begun recruiting American volunteers. In particular they sought out Jewish young men who wanted to be sent to the front to face the Ottoman Empire in Palestine.
This cap pin, belonging to Simon Soibel, still bears the initials RF, even though the Royal Fusiliers units, the 39th and 40th battalions, were already referred to as the “Jewish Legion.” 1992.154.057
We have just one WWI uniform in our collection, but it unites two prominent Baltimore families. This coat belonged to Lester Levy, hat maker and civic leader. Levy, who had ambitions to fight in France, had been turned down by the Army for his poor eyesight. Although he eventually got a waiver from the US Attorney General’s office, he was assigned to ordnance and never actually went overseas. And the other prominent Baltimore family? Well, the coat was manufactured by Henry Sonneborn & Co.
The collection also contains quite a few photos from the war effort.
three Red Cross nurses, named Levin, Fuxman and Ribakow, 1990.44.2
As Jennifer Vess wrote in this blog several years ago, the role of women in WWI including not only the nurses but other participants in the combat support effort is particularly well documented in our holdings.
Members of the Jewish Welfare Board in Paris, France; Rose Lutzky, 3rd from right, 1993.173.12
Barbara Tuchman, author of the most famous treatise on WWI, The Guns of August, once wrote “Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.”* I would add just one thought to her cogent analysis – “without records and artifacts there are no books.”
*Bulletin of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 34, #2, 1980 (pp. 16-32)
A blog post by JMM Executive Director Marvin Pinkert. To read more posts from Marvin click HERE.