JMM Joins City’s Celebration of American Design and Manufacture

Posted on April 6th, 2016 by

Last year, the organization MADE: In America designated the Carroll Mansion as its “All American House” for 2016.  From April 23 to July 7, 2016 the Carroll Mansion will be transformed into a showcase for some of the most innovative manufacturers and craftsmen in Baltimore and across the nation.  The city expanded the celebration by inviting partner organizations in what it’s calling the “Baltimore’s American Treasures” event.

The Carroll Mansion, 2016's "All-American House"

The Carroll Mansion, 2016’s “All-American House”

Located just a few blocks away from the Carroll Mansion in Baltimore’s oldest neighborhood, Historic Jonestown, is the Jewish Museum of Maryland (JMM).  To play our part in the celebration we’re hosting special events in recognition of the Lloyd Street Synagogue as a truly All American Synagogue.  Built in 1845, the Lloyd Street Synagogue is the third oldest Jewish house of worship still standing in the United States.  The building was designed by Robert Cary Long, Jr., a prominent church architect of the era.  Nearly every component of the original building and its 1860 renovation were the result of American craft and manufacture from the stenciling to the wooden pews to the stained glass Star of David.

The Lloyd Street Synagogue

The Lloyd Street Synagogue

The museum has spent the winter researching the material history of the building – which switched hands multiple times, serving first as a traditional German synagogue, then as a reformed temple, later it became a Lithuanian Catholic Church and finally a Russian Orthodox shul.  Each iteration brought new design elements into the building, holy arks and altars, mezuzot and an organ.  We’ve sifted through the records to identify some of the most interesting stories of how this site was designed and built to serve the needs of successive waves of immigrants.

The oldest extant photo of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Courtesy of the Ross J. Kelbaugh Collection, JMM 1997.71.1

The oldest extant photo of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Courtesy of the Ross J. Kelbaugh Collection, JMM 1997.71.1

Not every story has been easy to trace.  Where did the synagogues first Torah scroll come from?  What was the origin of the church’s bells and where did they go when the church was sold?  How did church chandeliers end up hanging from the ceiling of an Orthodox synagogue?  Questions like these led to the idea of our “Book, Bell and Candle Mystery Experience” (offered each Sunday from May 1 through July 7 at 3pm).  Our expert history sleuth will transport you into the shoes of a researcher on the trail of holy artifacts.  Made in America? Or lovingly imported?  Only one thing is certain – “it belongs in a museum” – the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Chandalier inside the Lloyd Street Synagogue

Chandelier inside the Lloyd Street Synagogue

We’ve set three Sundays aside for activities related to design work for the whole family.  On May 1 our focus is on crafts related to the building itself.  It includes a closer look at the stained glass windows and the art behind them.  On May 29, our “Welcome to Jonestown” free family day will feature crafts related to music in the synagogue.  Finally, on June 26, we will offer demonstrations of specialized skills required to manufacture the artifacts of the synagogue – from a sofer  (scribe) illustrating Hebrew calligraphy to a blacksmith making fencework.

Leaded glass window. East wall. Over ark. Lloyd Street Synagogue- Baltimore. restored 1964. IA 1024.

Leaded glass window. East wall. Over ark. Lloyd Street Synagogue- Baltimore. restored 1964. IA 1024.

Come see how the Lloyd Street Synagogue and its congregations fit into the fabric of America’s material culture.

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Once Upon a Time…07.24.2015

Posted on April 5th, 2016 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


1992231065Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  July 24, 2015


PastPerfect Accession #:  1992.231.065


Status:  Unidentified- do you know any of the members of this 1924 championship basketball team? It might be a Jewish Educational Alliance team.




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Museum Matters: We’re Moving!

Posted on April 1st, 2016 by

No, we’re not moving JMM (April Fool’s).  We’re moving the day when e-newsletters go out.  Starting in the middle of this month, our e-mail newsletters will reach mailboxes on Thursday rather than Friday. The early start will make it easier for you to plan to attend one of our great Sunday programs, like this Sunday’s visit with time traveler Dr. John de Sequeyra, visiting JMM from his home in 18th century Williamsburg or next Sunday’s program at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation with writer/performer Stephanie Satie presenting her solo play, Silent Witnesses (this year’s Risch Memorial Program).

Your next Museum Matters newsletter will be delivered on May 5, so I want to use this April edition to draw your attention to a very special event we’re planning for May 1.  Later this month (April 23) Jonestown’s own Carroll Mansion will open its doors as the All American House – a showcase for American manufacture and design.  If you look at the website you’ll see we were among the first to sign on as a partner with the Mansion. We’ve declared our 1845 building to be the “All American Synagogue” and on Sunday May 1 we begin our celebration with activities for the whole family and the launch of our new “Book, Bell and Candle Mystery” experience at the Lloyd Street Synagogue at 3pm.  More details in the upcoming JMM Insights newsletter.

Upcoming programs
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact Trillion Attwood at / 410-732-6400 x215 with any questions or for more information.


A Sephardic Jewish Doctor in Colonial America
Sunday, April 3, 1:00pm
Performer: Doug Cohen
Included with Admission

We take a step back in time and welcome Dr. John de Sequeyra, a Sephardic Jew of Portuguese extraction, who was born in London in 1712. Dr. de Sequeyra moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1745 where he resided until his death in 1795. During his lifetime he was known for being the first visiting physician at the earliest institution in America dedicated to treating individuals with mental illnesses. He was also credited (by President Thomas Jefferson!) with introducing the tomato as a culinary staple to Virginia.

Network and Explore “Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America” 
Wednesday, April 6, 7:00pm 
Admission: $10 per person

The Maimonides Society invites all health professional to explore ethical, social, and scientific issues central to modern American Jewish identity through this unique museum exhibit; in partnership with The Jewish Federation of Howard County and The Associated’s Maimonides Society.

For reservations or more information please contact Juliya Sheynman at

The 10th Annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration:
Silent Witnesses
Sunday, April 10, 3:30pm
Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, 7401 Park Heights Avenue, 21208
FreeWe are pleased to celebrate the 10th Annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration. Stephanie Satie will perform her one-woman play Silent Witnesses, based upon interviews and conversations with child survivors of the Holocaust.Following the performance join us for a talk back session with performer Stephanie Satie and Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS.

American Jews and the Early Birth Control Movement
Sunday, April 17, 1:00pm
Speaker Melissa Klapper, Rowan University
Included with admissionThe American Jewish community showed deep interest in the birth control movement of the first few decades of the twentieth century.  Jewish women were “early adopters” of contraception and notable activists for the cause, and also played significant roles as doctors and nurses.  Despite an internal debate over the religious, ethical, social, and medical ramifications, for the most part, American Jewish culture supported the early birth control movement as a tool for empowering Jewish women and the conversation influenced Jewish family life for generations to follow.

Redlining Series – Opportunity: Inclusive Development and Wealth Creation Inside the Redline
Wednesday, April 20, 5:30pm
Free On April 27th, 2015, Baltimore experienced its worst civil unrest in over forty years. Though images of fire and destruction often punctuated national media coverage, the unrest raised issues of persistent inequality and racial discrimination to the forefront of local and national discourse. A year later, the 21st Century Cities Initiative at Johns Hopkins University seeks to host a series of community conversations to reflect on the historical and contextual origins of this unrest. This is “Redlining,” a place to reflect and act on the geographies of exclusion in Baltimore City.The “Redlining” series aims to expose and interrogate the institutional past and present of segregation in Baltimore City. It will launch a future-focused conversation about systems of inequality reproduced by segregation, and the ways American cities might disrupt these systems. It will provide a platform for an intellectual conversation about timely social issues, and put forth a call for better research about the real and metaphoric exclusion of Redlining. The series will bring together academics, civil servants, community organizations, and local artists and musicians to start a conversation about what exclusions means to Baltimore, and what we as a community can do to address it.


All American Synagogue
Sunday, May 1
Included with admission 

Join us as we mark the start of our All American Synagogue celebrations, in association with the MADE: In America and Carroll Mansion, this years’ All American Home. At 3pm become a JMM history detective, explore the material culture of Maryland’s oldest synagogue including some unanswered questions about its most important ritual objects.

Plus throughout the day enjoy hands-on activities and exploration examining the skills and techniques used in the construction of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Activities will be suitable for the whole family.

Vilna to New York, Jewishkayt and Yiddishness, Abraham of Ur and Avrom Sutzkever Meet in One Baltimorean
Sunday, May 1, 4:00pm
Speaker: Zackary Sholem Berger, author of One Nation Taken Out of Another 
Included with admissionAs the author of two books of poetry which combine English, Yiddish, and Hebrew, written from the point of view of the poet himself; Biblical characters; dead literary titans; and [batting cleanup] The Almighty, Berger presents a one-of-a-kind monologue-cum-performance, a polylingual ventriloquy bringing the past and present together for a dance to the music of language.
On the way, many questions will be asked – and some of them even answered. How does a non-ultra-Orthodox guy from a Conservative Jewish background come to be a Yiddish poet and translator? Is he a complete fluke, or a harbinger of some baffling microtrend? How did Baltimore become an unlikely mini-capital of secular Yiddish culture? And is it true what they say about Old Bay?This program is presented in conjunction with a lobby exhibit, The Sanctity of Others, that will be on display April 17-May 19.

Carvalho’s Journay: A documentary film by Steve Rivo

Sunday, May 15, 1:00pm
Movie Screening and Talk with Director Steve Rivo
Included with AdmissionA real life 19th century American western adventure story, Carvalho’s Journey tells the extraordinary story of Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815-1897), an observant Sephardic Jew born in Charleston, South Carolina, and his life as a groundbreaking photographer, artist and pioneer in American history.

A Day at the Races, A Night at Frankenstein’s Castle
Sunday, May 22, from 11am
Speaker Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg
Included with Admission A Day at the Races and Young Frankenstein: Two films released 37 years apart but united by remarkably similar senses of humor fueled by a uniquely Jewish perspective on mad doctors and mad love. The central characters of both movies blend predictable feelings of persecution with a healthy irreverence for convention and a disregard for stuffy authority. Join another Jewish Doctor named Arnold T. Blumberg as he fills you in on some of the fun behind-the-scenes anecdotes that make the Marx Bros.’ A Day at the Races and Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein two of his all-time favorites in the annals of Jewish movie medicine.Schedule for the Day:
11:00am – Screening of Day at the Races
1:00pm – Lecture with Dr. Blumberg
2:00pm – Screening of Young Frankenstein

Jonestown Heritage Day 
Sunday, May 29, 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Free Join us as we celebrate Jonestown, Baltimore’s oldest neighborhood and home to numerous businesses and cultural institutions, including the JMM. The community will come together as we celebrate our shared heritage.

2016 Annual Meeting
The Greatest Gap: Health Inequity in Baltimore
Samuel Boltansky Memorial Keynote Speaker Dr. Jay Perman, University of Maryland, Baltimore
Tuesday, June 14, 6:30pm
FreeIn 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issued a report with this essential line: “Scientists have found that the conditions in which we live and work have an enormous impact on our health—long before we ever see a doctor.”“The conditions in which we live and work …” In Baltimore, these conditions are often bleak—often deplorable. These are the conditions that perpetuate yawning gaps in health care access and efficacy and in large-scale community health outcomes.

In this talk, Dr. Perman will address the social determinants of health—education, economic stability, personal and public safety, housing and transportation, social supports and cohesion. He’ll discuss how anchor institutions—like the University of Maryland, Baltimore—can help remediate the grave disparities we see in the health of populations.

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  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit or check out BIYA on Facebook.

Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland March Meeting
Sunday, April 17, 1:30pm, Hadassah meeting room (3723 Old Court Road, Dumbarton Offices Entrance)
Practical Tips for Genealogical Research in and near Present-Day Poland
Speaker: Mary Ann Evan

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members. Refreshments will be available. Go to for more information.

Esther’s Place: the JMM Store

Are you ready for Pesach? Passover begins on Friday April 22. Esther’s Place has you covered with everything you need to celebrate, including beautiful seder plates, matzah plates and covers, and lots cups: for Kiddush, Elijah, and Miriam. We also have, for the kids, plenty of Passover-themed toys, including “matzoh balls” and even a plush plague (or ten).

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