Museum Matters: October 2016

Posted on October 7th, 2016 by

Don’t Forget to Vote this Month!

(for the best chicken soup)

(for the best chicken soup)

Sunday will be another debate… but before we consider the merits of tax returns or e-mails, let’s sink our teeth (or at least our tongue) into a debate that is actually in good taste.  We’ll be deciding who makes the best chicken soup in Maryland and your vote counts!  No one can have a beef with any of our candidates (in fact some of our soups don’t even have a chicken).  Our soups may not cure all of America’s ills but they couldn’t hurt.  In addition to soup tasting there will be hands-on activities for the whole family.  The cook-off is indoors and will take place rain or shine.  So if you’re looking for real “schmaltz” you don’t have to wait for the evening’s histrionics, we’ll be pouring it out starting at 1pm at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

By the way, you can also cast your other vote this month.  Early voting in Maryland begins October 27th.  For a list of locations click HERE. 


Upcoming programs
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact Trillion Attwood at / 443-8735177with any questions or for more information.




Sunday, October 9th from 1:00pm

The Great Chicken Soup Cook Off

Included with Admission – Buy Tickets Now!

Inspired by our current exhibit Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America JMM couldn’t resist the opportunity to stage our first ever Great Chicken Soup Cook Off! We already know the miraculous power of chicken soup, now we want to find the best chicken soup in Maryland. We invite Maryland’s greatest amateur cooks from newbies to bubbies to participate in this important statewide search.

Wednesday, October 19, 6:35pm

Wednesday, October 19, 6:35pm

Film Screening: Denial

Charles Theater

For information contact Jill Max,

Co-sponsored by the Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University and the Baltimore Jewish Council

The film tells the true story of acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt’s battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel. Dr. Hana Bor, Peggy Meyerhoff Pearlstone Professor at Towson University, will introduce the film and facilitate a talk back immediately following the screening.

This event is open to the public. Tickets may be purchased at the Charles Theater box office for the 6:35 PM showing of the film on Wednesday, October 19th.

Bonus: Dr. Deborah Lipstadt will speak about the film at Towson University on Thursday, November 3rd at 7:00 PM in the College of Liberal Arts. This event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, October 26, 7:00pm

Wednesday, October 26, 7:00pm

Stolen Legacy: Nazi Theft and the Quest for Justice

Location: Chizuk Amuno Congregation, 8100 Stevenson Road, Baltimore, MD 21208

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required HERE.

Co-sponsors: Baltimore Jewish Council, Chizuk Amuno Congregation, US Holocaust Memorial Museum

How can we seek justice for Holocaust victims whose property was taken and lives were torn apart? In her new book, former BBC investigative journalist Dina Gold describes the Nazi seizure of her family’s stately six-story building and her extensive battle to reclaim it and rebuild their legacy.

Join us to learn about the ongoing challenges of restitution and the Museum’s resources that individuals like Gold have used to research the fate of family members and that others have used to build legal cases, including the Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database and the International Tracing Service archive.

Sunday, October 30th, 1:00 pm

Sunday, October 30th, 1:00 pm

Collecting, Preserving and Exhibiting:

Exploring the Collections of the Nation’s Medical Museum

Speaker Andrea Schierkolk, National Museum of Health and Medicine  


Join us as we welcome The National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) staff to Baltimore for an exploration of their collections. Explore how NMHM transformed from a “cabinet of curiosities” into a vital resource, contributing to scientific collaborations and public appreciation of the value of military medicine to the nation.

*This program is a part of Free Fall Baltimore



Wednesday, November 2nd, 5:30pm

Wednesday, November 2nd, 5:30pm


The Past & Future of Healthcare in Maryland

Speakers: Katie Wunderlich, Vinny DeMarco, and Michelle A. Gourdine

Presented by the Baltimore Jewish Council


An engaging conversation on new healthcare initiatives in Maryland. The talk will be followed by a tour of the Museum’s special exhibit “Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America.” For more info or to RSVP please contact Madeline Suggs at (410) 542-4850 or email


Sunday, November 6th from 10:30 am

Sunday, November 6th from 10:30 am

Sketching inside B’nai Israel Synagogue
Doodlers, Dabblers and Artists: Art-Making Workshops at the JMM
Instructor Matthew Adelberg
Included with admission – Buy Tickets Now!
Don’t miss this final opportunity to tap your inner artist and explore a new way of looking at the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s campus and collections. All skill levels are welcome, and our instructor is experienced in teaching all age ranges so please bring your entire family for a day or relaxation and creation.

Sunday, November 6th at 1:00 pm

Sunday, November 6th at 1:00 pm

Our Bodies Our Health: Jewish Women’s Healing Rituals

Speaker Cara Rock-Singer, PhD Candidate Columbia University

Included with admission – Buy Tickets Now!

What place in 21st century life do ancient purity laws governing menstruation have? Join author Cara Rock Singer on an exploration of ways in which 21st century Jewish people (women, in particular) have increasingly turned to the use of the mikveh (ritual bath) to mark major life transitions, from menarche to menopause or fertility challenges to hysterectomies.

Also of Interest

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.


Ongoing at the JMM



Exhibits currently on display include Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America (through January 16, 2017), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks!


Hours and Tour Times

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.

Please note that the Museum is closed the following dates for Jewish festivals:

–Wednesday, October 12

–Monday, October 17

–Tuesday, October 18

–Monday, October 24

–Tuesday, October 25

We will be closing early at 3:00pm on Tuesday, October 11

Click Here for complete hours and tour times.


Esther’s Place

Raven's Pride!

Raven’s Pride!

There are so many new things at Esther’s Place, it’s hard to know where to start! A few of our favorites include “Jewish Penicillin” soup bowls in support of this weekend’s Great Chicken Soup Cook Off, mugs and trays and water bottles sporting skulls and skeletons (in support of Beyond Chicken Soup, but just in time for a certain spooky October holiday), playsets that promote STEAM play (science, technology, engineering, ARTS, and mathematics) in the 5 – 12 year old set, gorgeous new Judaica and home goods from acclaimed designer, and not least of all, a selection of fun new Judaica in Ravens’ colors. Stop in or call for all of your gift giving needs. Yes, we’ll ship it!



Make it official! Become a Member of the JMM.

Learn More about membership.

Already ready? Join Here.


Get Involved

The JMM is always looking for volunteers! Click Here to learn more.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Another New Year

Posted on October 5th, 2016 by

There are so many ways to count the year. Each of us celebrates at least a half a dozen new years every year. There’s January first, of course. But there’s also a fiscal new year (at the JMM, that is July 1). There’s also your birthday (mine is February 14, in case you were wondering). For folks in school or who teach school or who have kids in school, there’s the first day of the new school year. And then there are the Jewish New Years. There’s the first day of the year, in Nissan (the same month as Passover). And there’s Tu B’Shvat, the “new year for the trees.” And, of course, there is Rosh Hashanah.

Jewish New Years card from the Sigel family, c. 1900. JMM 1989.132.1

Jewish New Years card from the Sigel family, c. 1900. JMM 1989.132.1

The “head of the year” is actually the first day of the seventh month. So though we refer to it to our non-Jewish neighbors as the “Jewish New Year,” it’s more nuanced than that. Rabbi Arthur Waskow, in his book Seasons of Our Joy speculates, “perhaps it is the head of the year because it is raised toward heaven, away from the earth–while Pesach [in the first month of the year] celebrates a more earthly liberation, the freedom of our bodies” (1-2).

That distinction between the heavenly and the earthly is interesting. Unlike our secular New Year, when we all make resolutions to lose weight or quit smoking or eat healthier, at Rosh Hashanah, we are expected to make a different kind of resolution. Instead of more trips to the gym, we aim for fewer trips to judgement; rather than counting calories, we are meant to count blessings.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of a new year, and about human capacity for change. Whether the resolution is to lose 10 pounds or to be kinder, we humans seem nearly incapable of making true and lasting change. On January first and on the first of Tishri, each year, we find ourselves in nearly the exact same situation as the year before. Even as we make the resolutions (or the confessions), we do so knowing that we will falter again–we will be right here next year. We do a dance with ourselves and with the Divine, but in the end, we always fail.

It is a depressing thought as I sit here writing on the third of Tishri.

And yet.

On this Rosh Hashanah, I had the honor of the third Aliyah at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, chanting the blessings before and after the third Torah portion was read. I delivered the blessings as intended, and received greetings from my fellow congregants and the clergy. It was lovely, and I felt truly grateful. But it was a moment as I returned to my place in the congregation that truly dispelled my recent feelings of hopelessness: my four-year-old daughter met me in the aisle, and jumped into my arms, smiling ear to ear.

The best traveling companion I could imagine.

The best traveling companion I could imagine.

As I returned to my seat in the sanctuary, now carrying 36 pounds of joy, love, and limitless potential, I felt something even before I had words for it. Yes, I am in the same place I found myself last year. I am confessing the same sins; mourning the same injustices of the past year; committing in the same way to nearly the same actions as last year. But I am not the same because she is not the same.

I intentionally brought that 4-year-old to the “grown-up” service, because I wanted her to see me fully engaged in synagogue life. I wanted her to see that striving that brings us all back to that place of commitment, year after year.

Seeing the service, the holiday, reflected in her eyes reminded me powerfully of the importance of the journey. I was mourning the destination and lost sight of the beauty of travel. That small voice in my ear “Mommy, I love you!” reminded me that while the destination is worth striving for, if I forget to notice my traveling companions, I can never reach it.

With gratitude to all of you on the road with me, I wish you a Shanah Tovah u’Metucha, a good and a sweet new year.

A blog post by Associate Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

L’shana Tova

Posted on September 29th, 2016 by

At our Board meeting last week, we had our quarterly approval of new accessions to the JMM collection.  Just about every item we collect has a fascinating story behind it – but there was one set of items neatly tucked in a folder that really grabbed my attention.  It was a collection of “chromolithographs” donated by Myrna Siegel.  Joanna explained that these decorative die cut prints were fairly common in the late 19th and early 20th century… but it was the first set she had seen that was exclusively Jewish themed.  The collection included die cut “scraps” – typically used for early scrap books and home decorations and three rather elaborate Rosh Hashanah cards.

A beautiful Rosh Hashanah card.

A beautiful chromolithograph Rosh Hashanah card.

This got me thinking how traditional are Rosh Hashanah cards.  Regular readers of this blog post may remember my shock at learning that Dreidels are derived from a 16th century German Christmas toy.  Well it turns out that greeting cards/letters for Rosh Hashanah are also of German Jewish origin but have much deeper roots.  According to the Jewish Encyclopedia card giving for the High Holidays is documented in the Book of Customs of Rabbi Jacob in the 14th century.  That’s at least 500 years before the first secular New Year’s card is mailed. Though, truth be told, New Year’s rituals were explicitly discouraged by Christian churches until the late 1500s… so the secular New Year’s holiday itself is a relatively modern celebration.

The new cards are additions to some fascinating Rosh Hashanah greetings we already hold in our collection.

Some have classic themes:



But others stand out for their novelty, take for example this Jazz Age New Year’s greeting:



Among the most extraordinary items is this elaborate holiday greeting from 1917:



It is filled with symbols of the immigrant experience and filled with blessings in Hebrew and Yiddish, among these are:  May you live to be 120 years old”, ”May you be blessed on your coming, and on your going out”, ”May we have a life of life and peace and joy and happiness and pleasantness”, ”May you have peace, substantial earned income, good business success, enjoyment, happiness, salvation, pleasantness and everything good.”, ”Happy New Year, may your be inscribed in the book of life”, ”May you be delivered from all your enemies and plagues on your path… and may blessing issue from all your doings.”

99 Rosh Hashanah’s later – I wish you and your family all of the above.


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



Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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