Museum Matters: December 2014

Posted on December 5th, 2014 by

Wrapping Up a Great Year

If you weren’t able to make it to the opening weeks of the A-Mazing Mendes Cohen because of the busy High Holiday season or the start of school, if you couldn’t come in October because you wanted to enjoy fall foliage, if you didn’t visit us in November because of the Ravens games – stop procrastinating!  There couldn’t be a better time of year to renew your acquaintance with our one-of-a-kind museum.  Outstanding exhibits, specialty tours of the synagogues at 3pm on Sundays and Mondays, dollar days, family concert, messing with olive oil and  best of all – last minute/belated holiday gifts hand-selected by Esther, our maven of good taste.

On these shortest days of the year, we’re still open 10 to 5 on Sunday through Thursday (except for Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 – close at 3; Dec. 25 – close at 4; and Jan 1 – closed).  Still plenty of time to bring out-of-town relatives to see this Baltimore highlight.  We’ll have a warm welcome waiting.

~Marvin

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 / tattwood@jewishmuseummd.org. For more information on JMM events please visit www.jewishmuseummd.org.

 

bandwagon01_hi - 2013Downtown Dollar Day

A Family Chanukah Concert with Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights

Sunday, December 7, 2:30pm

Admission: $1

Set the Chanukah mood with a rocking family Chanukah concert with Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights! Bring home a piece of the festivities with Chanukah themed crafts.

A versatile artist, Joanie Leeds is a gifted musician with a soulful voice that ranges from low and bluesy to high, light, and breezy.  In addition to her secular popularity, Joanie tours the country playing synagogues, Jewish day schools and Jewish museums. Her Jewish music can be found on the PJ Library’s compilation.

 

books imageMaryland Jewish Book Festival

Sunday, December 14, 11am to 4pm

Included with museum admission

Join us for a day of book talks and author signings. Meet some of the region’s best Jewish authors and maybe find the perfect Chanukah gifts to finish your shopping! Authors will be talking about a fascinating range of topics including Jewish resistance in the Shoah, Sephardic history in the Caribbean, Baltimore’s wicked history and a reflection on a life spent giving back to the city.

We also have readings for the youngest members of the family with Chanukah selections, plus plenty of arts and crafts to keep everyone entertained.

Schedule:

11:00am: Wicked Baltimore: Charm City Sin and Scandal with author Lauren Silberman 

As home to Edgar Allan Poe’s body, the acerbic wit of H.L. Mencken and Fells Point’s nest of pirates, Baltimore revels in the deliciously dark side of its history. Local author Lauren R. Silberman leads readers through the horrors of slave pens, the chaos of the Pratt Street Riots and the backroom speakeasies of Prohibition to reveal the sinister and scintillating face of Charm City. 

12:00pm: Interview on Measure of a Life with author LeRoy Hoffberger 

Writing “Measure of a Life” started out as a test of the author’s long term memory. Hoffberger, through his philanthropic activities has had a significant impact not only in the Baltimore community, but worldwide. He has tremendously influenced the arts field as co-founder of American Visionary Art Museum and MICA’s LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting. His efforts, through a Johns Hopkins scientific community based study program have helped make possible huge strides in Alzheimer’s and Dementia care. He established the Hoffberger Foundation for Torah Studies, which has advanced the understanding of Hebrew scripture around the world. Hoffberger has shaped the events of his life into a resonant and inspiring narrative. 

1:00pm: To Save a Life: Jewish Humanitarian Resistance in France during the Shoah with author Nancy Lefenfeld

Until recently Jewish resistance during the Shoah has received little attention. Even now, images in popular culture focus almost exclusively on armed resisters but unarmed Jewish resisters thwarted the objectives of Nazi oppressors not by striking back at them physically but by saving Jews targeted for arrest, deportation, and death. Less easily recognizable than their armed counterparts, these humanitarian resisters worked illegally, clandestinely, and at the risk of their own lives. Many lost their lives because of the work they did and had no opportunity to tell their stories after the end of the war. This brief presentation introduces the concept of Jewish humanitarian resistance and features archival black and white photos preserved in the collection of the Mémorial de la Shoah.

1:00 p.m.  CJE Library Story Time 

CJE librarian Rebecca Levitan will be joining us for a specially themed Chanukah story time. Plus join us before and after for some great arts and crafts suitable for any age. 

2:00pm Hanukah Moon with author Deborah da Costa (children’s book) 

When Isobel is invited to Aunt Luisa’s for Hanukkah, she is not sure what to expect. Aunt Luisa has recently arrived from Mexico. Isobel’s days at Aunt Luisa’s are filled with fun and surprises a new camera, a dreidel piñata filled with sweets, and a mysterious late night visit to welcome the luna nueva, the new moon that appears on Hanukkah. An unusual Hanukkah story with a multi-cultural focus, this title celebrates a little-known custom of the Latin-Jewish community. 

3:00pm 500 Years in the Jewish Caribbean: The Spanish & Portuguese Jews in the West Indies with author Harry A. Ezratty

Long before the Jewish settlements in North America, Sephardic Jews came to the Caribbean, first as crew members on Columbus’s ships. By the 1600s, they had commercialized the sugar, rum and tobacco industries and won civil liberties that became the standards aspired to by colonial North American Jewry. This is their story, island by island, in Volume I of the author’s trilogy, The Jews in the New World.

 

olive oilLate Night on Lloyd Street: DIY Olive Oil? ImPRESSive!

Thursday, December 18, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

With Kayam Farm at Pearlstone Center

Venue the Jewish Museum of Maryland

FREE

 

The miracle of Chanukah: Oil for one day of lighting the ancient temple lasted a full 8 days!… but why did it take 8 days? Get excited for a night of pitting, pressing and processing olives into olive oil with the Pearlstone Center Farm staff. Bring “Olive” your questions… Like why is olive oil so important to the Jewish community? And is olive oil really good for you? What can I do with it besides light ancient Menorahs and fry latkes? Finally, have the chance to make your own olive oil creations such as infused oil using herbs from Pearlstone’s farm, or dyed decorative Channukiah oil to take home. They also make great gifts!

As with all late nights we will have plenty of food and drink available. Please be aware this event has a maximum number of places available so arrive early to avoid disappointment. Contact Trillion Attwood at 410-732-6402 x215 or by email at tattwood@jewishmuseummd.org with questions!

 

Mitzvah Day

Thursday, December 25

10:00 a.m. to 1:00pm: Mitzvah activities

1:00 p.m: Speaker, Gilbert Sandler

Program Free with Museum Admission

Join us again this year as we participate in Mitzvah Day, where we will be helping to make life a little easier for some of the children in our community. Mitzvah activities will be suitable for all ages and is a great way to bring the family together!

Following the Mitzvah activities we welcome Gilbert Sandler who will discuss Becoming American in Jewish Baltimore. Mr. Sandler will share the story of how Jewish Baltimore got started. Exploring the institutions the earliest immigrants founded that helped bring them into mainstream of America. Then how those institutions leaders arose from the newly-formed Jewish community to wider leadership and prominence and wealth and influence—and at long last become American!

 

January

The Sephardic Atlantic: Mendes I. Cohen and the Story of Early American Jewry

Speaker Dr. Ronnie Perelis, Yeshiva University

Sunday, January 18th at 12 p.m.

Included with Museum Admission

Before there were thriving Jewish communities in cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Charleston and Savannah, most Jews in the Americas lived in the Caribbean. They were part of a dynamic Sephardic network of trade and culture which connected major metropolitan centers such as Amsterdam and London to colonial ports such as Curacao and Kingston. The first American Jews were connected through their Atlantic connections. We will explore how early American Jews such as Mendes I. Cohen were a part of this global Jewish community.

Ronnie Perelis is the Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Abraham and Jelena (Rachel) Alcalay Chair and Assistant Professor of Sephardic Studies at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies of Yeshiva University. His research explores the connections between Iberian and Jewish culture during the medieval and early modern periods.

 

70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz Memorial Program: A Town Known As Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community

Speaker Shiri Sandler, Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

Sunday, January 25th at 1:00 p.m. 

The town of Oświęcim – today in Poland – has been called by different names, in different languages, at different times. Though it has a long and varied history, the town is known for one thing: Auschwitz. Yet for centuries prior to World War II, Jews and non-Jews lived side by side in Oświęcim and called it home. Join Shiri B. Sandler, U.S. Director the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oświęcim, Poland, to gain insights into the history of the formerly Jewish town that has become known as the symbol of the Holocaust.

Shiri Sandler runs the AJC’s programming for American students, including Holocaust and ethics programming for US military students. Formerly Shiri was the Manager of International Programs at the Museum, where, in addition to being the liaison for the Auschwitz Jewish Center, she coordinated the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics, a series of ethics programs for law, medical, business, seminary, and journalism students. Shiri received a Master’s degree in Modern European History from Brown University and her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

 

February

Ladino, a language of the Jewish Diaspora

Speaker Dr. Adriana Brodsky, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Sunday, February 8th at 1:00 p.m.

Included with museum admission

Explore Ladino, a Jewish language that developed in the wake of the expulsion of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492 as new Jewish communities settled in the Ottoman Empire. Professor Brodsky will introduce the history of this language, and present examples of the Ladino in early 20th Century America, as well as old and modern ladino songs.  Although many argue that Ladino is ‘dead,’ especially after the extermination of entire ladino-speaking Sephardi communities during the Holocaust, this talk shows that, in fact, this Jewish language is alive and well.

Adriana M. Brodsky, Associate Professor of Latin American History at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, obtained her PhD from Duke University in 2004.  She has published on Sephardi schools in Argentina, and on Jewish Beauty Contests.  Her new project explores the experiences of Argentine Sephardi youth in the 1960s-1970s.

 

Help Make a Museum: Audience Workshop for the Core Exhibition of DC’s New Jewish Museum

Sunday, February 8th, 2:00 p.m.

Zachary Paul Levine, Curator at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington

Included with Museum admission

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHSGW) needs input from as many people as possible on our new regional Jewish museum (projected opening 2020). As part of that process, we are turning to the community for thoughts on stories for the new museum’s core exhibition.  This workshop will include a series of activities designed to get participants thinking, talking, and sharing their counsel for this new project.  We’ll look at a handful of objects and stories, and discuss how, together, they tell the unique story of Washington’s Jewish community.

 

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 bnaiisraelcongregation.org.  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit biyabaltimore.org or check out BIYA on facebook. www.facebook.com/groups/biyabaltimore

 

Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland December Meeting

Ellis Island and the Immigrant Experience

Sunday, December 28, 2014, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Pikesville Library’s Meeting Room (1301 Reisterstown Road)

Program is free for JGSM members; $5 for non-members

For more information, check out www.jgsmd.org

 

Exhibits 

Exhibits currently on display include The A-mazing Mendes Cohen (on display through June 14, 2015), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks!

 

Hours and Tour Times

The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm.

Combination tours of the 1845 Lloyd Street Synagogue and the 1876 Synagogue Building now home to B’nai Israel are offered: Sunday through Thursday at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 2:00pm.  We will offer tours focused on the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Sunday through Thursday at 3:00pm and on Sunday at 4:00pm.  On November 9 we will introduce a new Lloyd Street “1845: Technology and the Temple” tour at 3:00pm and the tour will be available every Sunday and Monday at 3:00 until The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen closes next June.

Please note our holiday hours are as follows:

  • Wednesday, December 24, Museum closes at 3:00pm
  • Thursday, December 25, JMM is OPEN from 10am-4:00pm
  • Friday, December 26, Museum is closed
  • Wednesday, December 31, Museum closes at 3:00pm
  • Thursday, January 1, Museum is closed

 

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 icohen@jewishmuseummd.org.

 

Membership 

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 purchased online! http://jewishmuseummd.org/get-involved/museum-membership/ For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org.

 

Gift Shop: Chanukah Madness 

Joseph's Coat MenorahChanukah is around the corner!  First candle is lit December 16, 2014…and we have an amazing selection of candles, all made in Israel, and a gorgeous range of colors. We have Menorahs for the young, and the young at heart; a magnificent hand-blown menorah, Israeli stone and crystal imports, fun and funky menorahs.  Our dreidle collection is known for its variety of choices, from sterling to hand-painted wood, to fine china. Games and books for all ages!  Our jewelry is chosen with care for the discriminating buyer; we cheerfully gift-wrap and will mail your purchases for you.

Electric Menorah, Low VoltageMerchandise purchased in the Museum Shop directly benefits the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Members receive a 10% discount on JMM Shop purchases.

For information, call Esther Weiner, Museum Shop Manager, 410-732-6400, ext. 211 or email at eweiner@jewishmuseummd.org.

 

 

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A False “Rosetta Stone”

Posted on December 3rd, 2014 by

Earlier this fall I had the opportunity to speak to the brotherhood of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation about the life of Mendes Cohen and the origins of Jewish Baltimore.  In preparation for the lecture, I thought it was incumbent on me to try to answer the question: “was there a connection between the Cohens and the community that built the Lloyd Street Synagogue (the original site of BHC)?”

I had the benefit of the research of Dr. Eric Goldstein, the Emory University scholar, who has been studying early Baltimore history on our behalf.  Dr. Goldstein had pointed out that the early Jewish settlement in Baltimore was highly transient.  A majority of Jews arriving between 1780 and 1820 stayed for just a few years, making it a tough environment for the establishment of permanent Jewish institutions.  There was a Jewish cemetery by 1797, but no regular minyan or congregation.  Baltimore was a frontier of Jewish world.

The Cohens were an exception to the pattern of transience.  Arriving in Baltimore from Richmond in 1808, they prospered in the lottery and banking business.  Like their close friends, the Ettings, the Cohens followed Sephardic traditions.  By contrast, new Baltimoreans after 1820 were almost entirely Germans practicing Ashkenazic rites.

Different sources give different accounts of when the first weekly minyans were held in Baltimore, some cited 1827, just a year after the passage of the Maryland Jew Bill.  Others claim that the practice of minyans in people’s homes began following the High Holidays in 1829.  Everyone seems to agree that this gathering called itself Nidche Yisrael (the “scattered of Israel”) and sought a formal charter as Maryland’s first Jewish congregation in 1830.

This is where my online research began.  Several sources, including the 1976 official history of the BHC, put the first minyan in the home of Zalma Rehine.  The Jewish Virtual Library stated that Rehine was a successful Richmond merchant (and a founding member of the Richmond Light Infantry) who moved to Baltimore in 1829.  The short article also pointed out that Rehine was the uncle of Isaac Leeser.

Now I may never have heard of Rehine, but Leeser was another story.  One of the most prominent Jewish spiritual leaders of pre-rabbinic America.  Leeser, technically the “cantor” of Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia, is known today for having introduced the practice of weekly sermons and for having made the first English translation of the Torah in the United States.  Leeser was present at the opening of the Lloyd Street Synagogue in 1845.

It turns out that Leeser and his uncle carried on an active correspondence in the 1830′s.  That correspondence is now archived as part of the 2100 letters in the Gershwind-Bennett Isaac Leeser Digital Library of the University of Pennsylvania:

Image courtesy of the Leeser Library.

Image courtesy of the Leeser Library.

http://leeser.library.upenn.edu/ilproject.php.  And that’s where I thought I found my Rosetta Stone!

Here was one letter that connected the “founder” of  BHC with the Cohens.  Moreover, it suggested that the relationship was so close that Dr. Joshua Cohen (Mendes’ brother) was among the trusted few who actually previewed Leeser’s sermons.  The story about chasing after the home robbers was just icing on the cake.

As so often happens, further research burst my bubble.  In trying to gather more detail on the relationships I ran across an article in the November 1976 issue of the American Jewish Archives.  The article by Ira Rosenswaike was entitled “The Founding of Baltimore’s First Jewish Congregation:  Fact or Fiction?”.  Rosenswaike explores in some detail the Rehine story, tracing its origins to an early 20th century lecture by Henrietta Szold.  Szold reportedly told her audience that a respected community elder had once recollected that an early minyan was held at the home of Zalma Rehine on Holliday Street.  Szold noted “this may possibly have been the beginning of Nidche Israel”.  Later accounts simply dropped the “may possibly” caution and said with certainty that the minyans began at Rehine’s home.  After noting the low likelihood that a Sephardi just arrived from Richmond would start an Ashkenazi Jewish minyan in Baltimore, Rosenswaike moves to some fairly solid census evidence that points to Rehine still residing in Richmond in 1830…at least a year after the regular minyan started meeting in Baltimore.

Although this nearly 40 year old article disproved my “Rosetta Stone”, I still remain hopeful that we’ll find a link between the Cohens and the Lloyd Street Synagogue.  I invite you to join me in this quest – the search is at least half the fun.

Marvin PinkertA blog post by Executive Director Marvin Pinkert. To read more posts from Marvin click HERE. 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Once Upon a Time…03.28.2014

Posted on December 2nd, 2014 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 at 410.732.6400 x236 or email jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

 

2001013024Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  March 28, 2014

 

PastPerfect Accession #:  2001.013.024

 

Status:  Identified! Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin  with Budd Kolker and Gloria Kolker, May 10, 1979.

 

Special Thanks To: Gloria Kolker Hack

 

 

 

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