Posted on August 26th, 2014 by Rachel
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 Deborah Cardin at 410.732.6400 x236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: January 31, 2014
PastPerfect Accession #: 2006.013.246
Status: From the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore Collection – do you know any of these men?
Back, Left to Right:
1. unidentified 2. unidentified 3. unidentified 4. unidentified 5. unidentified
Front, Left to Right:
1. unidentified 2. unidentified 3. Bernard “Reds” Smith
Special Thanks To: Ellen Thompson
Posted on August 22nd, 2014 by Rachel
You don’t have to be a media mogul to come to our aid this August as we prepare for the launch of Mendes Cohen. Here are six practical things you can do to help us grow our visitor population this fall.
Top Six Ways YOU Can Help Market the Jewish Museum of Maryland
1. Write a review in trip advisor – Many of you know that tripadvisor.com is one of the most frequently use travel sites on the web. People consult this site in deciding on their trip itinerary. As of this morning we ranked #28 among 158 attractions in Baltimore on trip advisor, not too bad, but we can do better. We have overwhelmingly positive reviews, but to move up the ranks we need to increase the quantity of our reviews. That’s where you come in. A quick description of a recent visit is all that’s needed. Our short-term target is to push up to position #14…one step above the Basilica…we can do it!
Leave a review: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60811-d133604-Reviews-Jewish_Museum_of_Maryland-Baltimore_Maryland.html
2. Support JMM and public television on the same night! – we have been invited to participate in an upcoming MPT pledge night on Sunday, September 28th . We have been asked to bring 10 to 15 volunteers to MPT studios in Owings Mills. The volunteers simply need to answer the phones when people call to pledge to the station during the reprise of The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama. In return for this service we will have the opportunity to make a live pitch for the Mendes Cohen exhibit. This is in addition to the fact that our promotional fifteen second spots will also run that evening. MPT has said that it will provide kosher meals for all our callers. For more details (and to sign up) contact Rachel Kassman (email@example.com) and join in on the fun.
Email Rachel to volunteer: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Talk to your rabbi – For those of you who are affiliated with a congregation, our upcoming Mendes Cohen exhibit combined with represents a couple of unique possibilities. One is the ability to incorporate some piece of the Mendes Cohen story into an upcoming sermon. This might be something about a time when America was under the barrage of rockets – and the Jewish defenders who came to the aid of their nation. It might be about thriving in a place of refuge, another theme where history and contemporary life come together. Or even something about how all of us try on various identities (professional and personal) and the role that our Jewish identity plays in that development.
While you are talking with the rabbi you might mention that we are organizing a Synagogue Night on November 6, 2014. We are marking the 50th anniversary of the re-dedication of the Lloyd Street Synagogue with a special event for rabbis, synagogue directors and synagogue board leadership from across metropolitan Baltimore.
4. Pass it forward – Don’t be shy. Do you have a friend or relative who shares your interest in Jewish history? Or who loves museums? Or is looking for things to do with their kids? Feel free to take any of the newsletters we send you (or our blog posts at www.jewishmuseummd.org/) and simply forward it. The newsletters and blog posts serve as terrific conversation starters for old friends who may have once lived in Baltimore but have moved out of town – and, of course, provide valuable information about a great place to visit if they come back to the city.
5. Become a friend – on Facebook. If you are not already a follower of our Facebook page, come join us. And now Mendes Cohen has his own Facebook page too – since the Cohen family home was the first in America to have plumbing for gas lights, it seems only natural to connect Mendes to the latest technology. When you become a friend, you not only improve our web statistics, you raise our overall visibility on the Internet making it easier for potential visitors to find us.
Friend Us: https://www.facebook.com/jewishmuseummd
6. Send us a photo with Flat Mendes– when you visit the Mendes Cohen facebook page you will notice that his alter ego, “Flat Mendes”, has really been getting around this summer. We’ve not only spotted Flat Mendes at Locust Point and the Amtrak station, but at the Kennedy Library in Boston and out in San Francisco. Every journey Flat Mendes creates another opportunity to promote our upcoming exhibit. So download Flat Mendes today and don’t forget to pack him on your Labor Day travels.
Download Flat Mendes: http://jewishmuseummd.org/2014/06/flat-mendes/
Posted on August 21st, 2014 by Rachel
Exhibit Opens September 14th!
Mendes I. Cohen was born in Richmond VA in 1796, the son of a German Jewish father and an English Jewish mother. His family moved to Baltimore in 1807 and lived until 1879. He was a witness to many events in history both at home and abroad and a participant in a surprising number of transformational moments. Here are a dozen highlights:
1. Mendes is one of six Jewish defenders of Ft. McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore. When one bomb falls into the powder magazine rather than “bursting in air”, Mendes and two other artillerymen are sent in to rescue the ammunition. (To Mendes’ great fortune, the bomb was a dud)
2. The Cohen family starts out in the lottery business. Mendes and his brother are sent to Norfolk to sell DC lottery tickets (federal lottery tickets). Virginia authorities arrest the Cohens for selling tickets without the authority of the state of Virginia. The case of Cohens v. Virginia goes to the Supreme Court where Chief Justice Marshall technically rules against the Cohens, but establishes the principle that the Court has standing in resolving differences between state and federal authority.
3. The Cohen family is very active in the campaign for “The Maryland Jew Bill”. Finally passed in 1826, the bill allows people to serve on juries, serve in the militia and serve in public office without taking an oath to the New Testament. Mendes will later provide assistance to English Jews fighting for the same liberties in the 1830s.
4. Thanks to the success of his family’s banking enterprise, Mendes Cohen is able to “retire” at 33 and start an extensive tour of Europe and the Middle East. His first stop is England where he combines business with pleasure, dining with Nathan Rothschild and striking up a friendship.
5. Mendes arrives at the barricades in Paris just two weeks after the Student Revolt (think “Les Miserables”) and reports some disappointment in having just missed the action.
6. When in Rome, Mendes is invited to the installation of the new pope (Pope Gregory XVI). He writes a letter dedicated to the thorny question of whether a Jewish American democrat should kiss the feet of the pope.
7. Mendes decides to take up Egyptology. He sails down the Nile in a boat with an American flag of his own design, acquiring rare antiquities. The artifacts he collects are later purchased by Johns Hopkins University and are today the core of their archeology collection.
8. Mendes heads for Palestine, becoming the first American to ever acquire a firman (permit) from the Ottoman sultan to visit the Holy Land. Mendes spends his time trying to trace places mentioned in biblical passages.
9. After returning to the US, Mendes becomes a special assistant to Governor Veazey. He is asked to serve as Maryland’s representative at the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837.
10. Mendes becomes one of the early directors of the B&O Railroad and Baltimore’s first Jewish charity, the Hebrew Benevolent Society. The Cohen brothers are very involved in the development of Baltimore’s first and only Sephardic synagogue in the 1850s.
11. Mendes is elected to the State House of Delegates in 1846. He votes for leniency in the sentencing of debtors. But as a loyal Democrat he also votes to condemn Pennsylvania for helping Maryland’s slaves escape to freedom.
12. Mendes spent his final years near his home in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore (Mendes lived with his mother and then his brothers for his entire life). He spent his last years in the 1870s recounting tales of his youth to passersby, intensely proud of his adventures.