Once Upon a Time…06.02.2017

Posted on February 20th, 2018 by

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 Joanna Church by email at jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

JMM 1987.136.18

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  June 2, 2017

PastPerfect Accession #:  1987.136.018

Status: Unidentified – do you recognize this pair of newlyweds, c. 1900?

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The Dancing Schools of Baltimore’s Jewish Society Part 3

Posted on February 19th, 2018 by

generations 2004 copyArticle by Gil Sandler. Originally published in Generations – 2004: Recreation, Sports & Leisure. This particular issue of Generations proved wildly popular and is no longer available for purchase.

Sidebar: Learning to Dance
Missed the beginning? Start here.

In his eighties, Baltimore’s Lester Levy reminisced about his life and times. The following excerpts describe his first efforts at dancing school.

I doubt if any of you ever went to a mixed dancing school. [My sister] Selma and I did, where the general form of instruction was grounded in so-called “ball-room dancing.” Our first class was on the second floor of a building in the vicinity of Maryland Avenue and Biddle Street. It was known as Heptasoph’s Hall and run by a Mr. Ball.

The class – the average age of whom was seven or eight – met once a week in the afternoons. I remember one detail and Selma reminds me of another: (1) the clumsiest child at school was a fat little boy named Reuben Oppenheimer [who married Selma in 1922]; and (2) I was elected to dance a “sailor’s hornpipe” before the pupils and their parents…

It was during the winter [of 1911-12] that we became part of Mr. Tuttle’s dancing class. Among other things, we had a dancing class to which some two- or three-dozen boys and girls belonged, and we would go out with different girls or boys each week to the class. There was no such thing as keeping steady company. At fifteen, I was beginning to feel that I was growing up…boys were more important to me than girls, for that was my shyest period, and even at dancing school I hardly wanted to hold a girl’s hand.”

Lester clearly got over his shyness. After securing a spot on Eleanor’s dance card, they went on to a happy and long marriage. JMM 2002.79.352


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The Making of JMM Live!

Posted on February 16th, 2018 by

Trillion is on family leave for a few months, but before she left the building she shared the story of the “making of JMM Live!” for this month’s JMM Insights!  To read more posts from Trillion, click here.

It all began with a gap.  The National Archives could lend us the Iraqi Jewish Heritage exhibit until mid-January but couldn’t send us the Amending America exhibit until early April.  That was a long span of time for our Samson, Rossetta and Sadie B. Feldman Gallery to be dark.

During 2017 we discussed various ways to bridge the gap, including several smaller exhibits.

(We actually ended up with two:  Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, which opened at the beginning of this month, and the My Family Story student-curated projects from March 11th.)

I suggested we try something a little different. In my role as programs manager I am frequently contacted by speakers, performers, authors and many more asking for the opportunity to present at the JMM. Normally our program calendar is so busy with exhibit-related events that I can only take one or two of these requests per year, however, it occurred to me that with an open calendar perhaps we could make something of this opportunity.

I proposed a series of live events at the museum that celebrate all aspects of American Jewish performing and literary arts; this became the inspiration for JMM Live! 

I have spent the last several months working on finding a wonderful selection of programs, including author talks, musical performances, movies and theater. The topics we will explore vary from the expected, like Jewish Broadway, to the more surprising, like Jewish Punk Music. The series is designed to suit the whole family, in addition to our regular programs we also have two live festivals for kids, the first on March 4th celebrating Purim and the second on March 25th celebrating Passover.

Daveed Korup and Miss Spice will entertain kids of all ages with their concerts!

One of the most important things when planning this series was to include our very own Living History characters. Over the past few years we have developed several characters, we are very pleased to feature two of our characters as part of this series, Henrietta Szold performed by Natalie Pilcher on March 18th and Ida Rehr performed by Katherine Lyons on February 25th.

The stories of Henrietta and Ida are truly brought to life by these talented actresses!

The series has also been a lovely opportunity to work again with some wonderful partners plus build some new relationships. We are very pleased to welcome back the Global Theatre Project for a performance of Stories From the Fringe on Wednesday, March 21st. On Thursday, March 15th I am really excited about the program we will be presenting in partnership with Fells Point Corner Theater, a special preview of the theaters upcoming show Gertrude Stein and a Companion. 

The series started this Sunday with a dedication to Yiddish music with Hazzan Sara Geller of B’nai Shalom Olney, part performance, part talk and part sing-along!

There really will be something for everyone!

The series runs from February 11th until March 25th and features fourteen different performances. In my absence Lindsey Davis will be managing these programs – you can reach her at ldavis@jewishmuseummd.org but she’ll also have proxy to my e-mails.

If you can’t join us this Sunday please take a few minutes to review the full program of events here. If you see a program (or several) that appeals, reserve your tickets today – the most popular programs are selling fast!

Now is also the perfect time to become a JMM member– with all these programs you’re sure to be a repeat visitor this winter. Museum Membership includes FREE admission to the Museum every day we’re open, and to all our public programs! (Plus members get a 10% discount at Esther’s Place, the JMM gift shop.)

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