First Week Discoveries

Posted on June 14th, 2016 by

We just finished up an eventful first week interning at the Jewish Museum of Maryland! It’s hard to believe that all of us interns were strangers just a week ago! On the first morning, we all gathered in the boardroom where we learned what we’d be doing for the summer. I’m working in exhibitions, where I will be collaborating with some of my fellow interns and the JMM staff to do some of the early research for the museum’s new core exhibit, a replacement for Voices of Lombard Street.

Doing some background reading for the new exhibit.

Doing some background reading for the new exhibit.

During the first week, I sat in on a few meetings where the staff planned the timeline for developing the exhibit and worked on its concept. I was surprised to learn how time intensive exhibit development is! Of course, I knew that a lot of careful planning went into each one, but I had no idea that it could easily take three years from the beginning concept to the exhibit’s opening. After this first week, I have a new appreciation for what the staff of JMM does, and I’m excited to do some work for the exhibit this summer!

 My cubicle!

My cubicle!

While the prospect of this important research is exciting, I’m having the most fun discovering the little perks of this internship. First of all, we received little goody bags with Groucho Marx glasses on the first day. As a huge Marx Brothers fan, I can see myself using those all the time! Additionally, I have my own cubicle (conveniently located next to the water cooler)! This is the first time that I’ve ever had my own dedicated work space! I want to bring in some pictures or a succulent to decorate. There’s also a candy bowl in the office that is NEVER empty and always seems to have my favorite candy: Heath bars! I can’t wait to see what else I’ll discover in the next nine weeks!

The goody bag with Groucho Marx glasses.

The goody bag with Groucho Marx glasses.

The bottomless candy bowl.

The bottomless candy bowl.

06.06.2016 Interns (24)Blog post by Exhibitions Intern Alice Wynd. To read  more posts by and about interns click HERE.

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Revelation and Tragedy: Shavuot 5776/2016

Posted on June 14th, 2016 by

Last year for Shavuot, I wrote this blog post for my friends and former employers at the Simon Family JCC in Virginia Beach, VA. It gave me the opportunity to learn and ruminate on the affiliation of dairy with this spring-time festival. I came to the conclusion that eating dairy-based food on Shavuot (the festival on which we celebrate our reception of the Torah from God), is a form of extended, embodied metaphor. The Torah is like milk. It is God-given, pure, nutritious. It is complete as it is. But, like milk, when humans turn their attention to the Torah, we create amazing, delicious things—things that are of the God-given ingredients, but also more than.

Image via.

Image via.

This year for Shavuot, for the first time, I attended the “sunrise” Shavuot service at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, the congregational successor of the original Lloyd Street congregation (I put sunrise in quotes because the service begin at 8 AM). The service took place in a small courtyard, fully enclosed by the 1950s synagogue building and its adjacent school. In what can only be described as perfect weather, the assembled prayed and sang. Together, we heard chanted the portion of the Torah that contains the ten commandments.

One of the many awe-inducing moments of this holiday observance was the physical means by which the sacred scroll was supported to allow the cantor to read from it. There was no shulhan—no table—in the improvised courtyard-chapel. Instead, four pre-selected congregants held the scroll aloft and open. Each person held one of the massive handles, they supported its weight and held it at the right angle to allow the cantor to access the appropriate place in the scroll.

As I listened to the ancient words, a light breeze brushed my skin. The sun warmed my face. I looked into the blue sky to see a bird gliding high above, witness to our celebration of revelation.  I took in the view of my fellow congregants supporting the physical words so that the cantor could give them voice. The scroll was open facing me, so that I could see the letters on the parchment. Suddenly I was reminded of my conclusions from last year’s festival—Shavuot is not about a one-way monologue from God to humans; it is a celebration of the collaboration between God and humanity.

Even as I stood in awe in a synagogue courtyard and knew the truth of the importance of the divine-human collaboration, 900 miles away, more than 50 people lay dead and more than 50 others wounded by hate made human. I didn’t know it then, but my moment of transcendence was concurrent to the aftermath of violence aimed at people because of who they love, how they love. Because of who they are.

As I work to comprehend, I have no answers, only the same question—a very old question—on permanent repeat: how can both of these things be true at the same time?

And then a voice from my childhood surfaced on social media. Someone quoted my beloved Mr. Rogers, as they pointed to the more than $350,000 that had already been raised to support the victims of the Orlando terrorist attack and their families: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

A small piece of wisdom

A small piece of wisdom

I thought again of the four Torah-holders, the helpers, God’s helpers. And I knew that they are only a metaphor for the help we all give—or withhold—from the divine every day. When we support one another, when we are helpers, we do God’s work. We take what God provides, emotions, reason, intellect, empathy, physical strength, logic, fortitude, vulnerability, compassion, and we turn them into amazing, delicious things. But we must not forget that by our actions and our choices, the ingredients can also be spoiled, made rancid. We can be made rancid. Both can be true at the same time.

I admit that I still do not comprehend.

 

#OrlandoUnited: How to Donate to Help Victims of the Orlando Nightclub Shooting

Donate Blood via the Red Cross

Resources for the Baltimore and Central Maryland LGBT+ Community

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

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Once Upon a Time…10.09.2015

Posted on June 14th, 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 jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

 

1995142022030Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  October 09, 2015

 

PastPerfect Accession #:  1995.142.022.030

 

Status:  Identified! Monica Sagner features in this 1963 publicity shot for The Associated’s G-Day campaign.

 

Special Thanks To: Linda Speert, Nadine Weinstein, Wendy Brenoff, Rosalie Klotzman

 

 

 

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