Ten in the Twentieth: Baltimore Jews and Social Justice 1900s

Posted on February 1st, 2017 by

Article by Dr. Deborah R. Weiner. Originally published in Generations 2009-2010: 50th Anniversary Double Issue: The Search for Social Justice.

 

The Baltimore Jewish community has produced many leaders who have worked to make the world a better place. The range of issues they have addressed is impressive: from women’s suffrage to civil rights, labor relations to helping the elderly, refugee resettlement to eliminating poverty, and much more.

This chronology traces the careers of ten Baltimoreans who stood up for social change, with each person’s entry revolving around a turning point—one for each decade of the twentieth century. This is by no means a “Ten Best” list. The people included here are remarkable for what they accomplished, but others, equally remarkable, could have been chosen as well. These profiles should be seen as representative of a larger group of Baltimore Jews who have made major contributions to their communities and to the broader society in myriad ways.

The 1900s: Sidney Hollander

The century begins with Sidney Hollander (1881-1972) being denied his diploma from City College high school. His transgression? He and the other yearbook staffers insisted on printing a cartoon criticizing the faculty, despite administration threats. The episode did not deter Hollander from standing up for what he believed in, all his life. He later said, “In my time I’ve been labeled socialist, radical, subversive, communist—whatever happened to be in disfavor at the time; and that will happen to you, too, if you’re so foolhardy as to challenge things as they are.”

A young Sidney Hollander Sr. From the JMM Vertical Files.

A young Sidney Hollander Sr. From the JMM Vertical Files.

But Hollander was no wild-eyed radical. After building a successful pharmaceutical business by the 1920s, he devoted the next fifty years to civic and philanthropic pursuits. His outspokenness made him a leader in social welfare and reform activities locally and nationally. He helped found the Americans for Democratic Action and the Baltimore Urban League; he presided over the Baltimore Jewish Council, the Jewish Children’s Society, and the national Council of Jewish Federations. He personally challenged segregation by bringing African American friends with him to concerts at the Peabody Conservatory, and was instrumental in bringing the first black performer, Marian Anderson, to the Lyric.

The cartoon that caused City College to deny Hollander and his yearbook colleagues their diplomas in 1900. From the JMM Vertical Files.

The cartoon that caused City College to deny Hollander and his yearbook colleagues their diplomas in 1900. From the JMM Vertical Files.

When he died, the Baltimore Sun praised him as the “Champion of the Dispossessed.” He received many accolades and awards during his lifetime, but one stands out as particularly significant: fifty years after the yearbook incident, City College awarded him his diploma—and inducted him into the City College Hall of Fame.

Continue to The 1910s: Jacob Moses.

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Once Upon a Time…05.06.2016

Posted on January 31st, 2017 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

 

20060133162Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  May 6, 2016

PastPerfect Accession #:  2006.013.3162

Status: Unidentified! Do you know the actresses in this 1973 production of “The Martian Chronicles” at Goucher College?

 

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Volunteering at the JMM

Posted on January 30th, 2017 by

Ilene Cohen established the role of Volunteer Coordinator 12 years ago and was in charge of volunteer recruitment, volunteer retention, scheduling and interviews. During that time, she did an amazing job growing our volunteer corps, making sure that our volunteer’s skills were well utilized and planning exciting field trips. This past summer, Ilene decided it was time to leave the JMM to pursue other activities. As it turned out that Ilene’s job was too big for any one person to take on, so Sue Foard, Membership and Volunteer Coordinator, and I decided it was best to split her duties amongst ourselves.

A helpful resource

A helpful resource

As I have not had much experience managing volunteers, I decided it was important to learn as much I can about Volunteer Management. I have read books such as Transforming Museum Volunteering by Ellen Hirzy and Recruiting and Managing Volunteers in Museums by Kristy Van Hoven and Loni Wellman. I have also joined the American Association for Museum Volunteers and attended volunteer-related sessions at the American Alliance of Museum’s Annual Conference last year.

Former volunteer Sydney at the front desk

Former volunteer Sydney at the front desk

Part of my duties now includes sending out monthly calendars and scheduling our docents, front desk volunteers and shop volunteers. I am also continuing Ilene’s tradition of writing monthly Volunteer Spotlights where I highlight our dedicated volunteer corps. So far I have profiled individuals such as Ernie Silversmith who volunteers as a docent, Carol Buckman who assists us  in Esther’s Place, and Vera Kastenberg who volunteers in the Library.

Volunteer Ernie begins a synagogue tour.

Volunteer Ernie begins a synagogue tour.

Lately, we’re been working on making our volunteer program even better. Several of my colleagues recently sat down to try to brainstorm new projects that our volunteers could tackle as well as think of other organizations we could contact to recruit more volunteers. We are in the early stages of planning for a spring fieldtrip to other area museums. I have also started working on a marketing project with two of our docents, Bev Rosen and Wendy Davis, to try to encourage adult groups that have visited the JMM in the past five years, to plan a return trip to see one of our upcoming exhibits. Bev and Wendy have been instrumental in contacting local synagogues, churches and senior homes and recommending other organizations we should reach out to.

Volunteer Judy hard at work reorganizing and sprucing up our library.

Volunteer Judy hard at work reorganizing and sprucing up our library.

Devan Southerland, our Office Manager and Shop Assistant, has also graciously agreed to help us with recruitment and outreach. In an effort to enrich our guests with a variety of experiences during their visit, our goal is to reach out to a myriad of outlets for volunteers from local community centers to senior groups.  We are in the beginning stages of working with other downtown cultural attractions such as the Maryland Science Center to create a core group of volunteers that work not only with us but with capabilities to work at other museum sites around the city.  While we have a lot of work of ahead of us, we’re very excited to expand our volunteer base at the JMM.

GrahamA blog post by Graham Humphrey, Visitor Services Coordinator. To read more posts by Graham click HERE.

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