“Mazel” cufflinks, 1950s

Posted on October 13th, 2014 by

Thanks to our online database, much of our collections can be investigated from the comfort of your own home.  Hopefully, you’ve already read and tested our earlier posts on researching in the database (here are parts one, two, and three). But you may not have tried out the “random images” feature, which chooses an assortment of photos, artifacts, and archival records for your enjoyment. You don’t need a specific research query to spend some quality time with our stuff!

The “random” function proved useful this week, as I went looking for something to feature on the blog.  My eye was caught by this pair of silver-colored metal cufflinks, each with a bold Hebrew “Mazel” on the front (and, for good measure, “LUCK” in English on the back).



Maryland Governor Theodore R. McKeldin was the owner of these cufflinks.  McKeldin is an important figure in Maryland politics – he was Baltimore’s mayor in the 1940s and again in the 1960s, as well as serving two terms as governor from 1951 to 1959 – and he was a strong supporter of Baltimore’s diverse communities. To paraphrase an often-repeated story, McKeldin (an Episcopalian) was said to ‘carry a cross in one pocket and a yarmulke in the other.’  That line is sometimes used negatively, hinting he was too much of a people-pleaser, but it can also be taken as a sign of his willingness to engage and work with the Jewish community. Further evidence for this can be found in our museum, thanks in part to a small collection of personal tokens given to McKeldin by Jewish Marylanders over the years. These items were saved by McKeldin, and eventually donated to the JMM by his granddaughter Caroline Wayner.

2010.62.1 full set

2010.62.1 full set

These cufflinks, and the matching tie clip, were part of that donation. We don’t know who gave the set to McKeldin, but we do have a clue as to its origins: The pieces are in their original velvet box, marked “The Concord Men’s Shop, Kiamesha Lake N.Y.” The Concord Resort Hotel in Kiamesha Lake was one of the largest resorts in the Catskills in the mid 20th century; evidently someone from Maryland was vacationing there, spotted these in one of the shops catering to resort visitors, and thought kindly enough of their Governor to make the purchase.

JoannaA blog post by Collections Manager Joanna Church. To read more posts from Joanna click HERE.

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Volunteer Spotlight on: Naomi Harans!

Posted on October 6th, 2014 by

Naomi greets visitors with a smile!

Naomi greets visitors with a smile!

Naomi Harans has been volunteering at the JMM for almost 7 years.  She came to her position as a Front Desk Receptionist with plenty of work experience.  She previously did temporary employment as an office worker and volunteered as such at the JCC.  Her favorite part about greeting visitors to the JMM is learning about them.  She is a good listener and has always been interested in people.  She has met folks from many different countries who have searched out the JMM, and is always surprised when local Baltimoreans come in for the first time and say, “I never knew this place was even here.”  She also enjoys learning about the information presented in our temporary exhibits.

In her spare time she’s enjoyed bowling with Beth Tfiloh and the Covenant Guild.  She was fond of traveling with her husband and since he passed away she enjoys traveling with her two daughters, son, their spouses, and her grandchildren.  Some of her favorite destinations have been Spain, Hawaii, Israel and the train ride across Canada.  Next on her agenda is a cruise from Shanghai to Sydney – she departs next week!  We wish Naomi a bon voyage and look forward to welcoming her back to the JMM in November and learning about her latest travel experience.


ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

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Museum Matters: October 2014

Posted on October 3rd, 2014 by

“Don’t be frightened!” cried Tevye as he started to explain his nightmare of Fruma Sarah.

JMM is feeling ever so slightly ghoulish these days as we invite back Dr. Arnold Blumberg to speak about zombies and prepare for the return of the ghost of Mendes Cohen in early November.  Maybe it’s the “haunting” music in The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit or the creaking of the pirate ships on the Oct. 19 Chesapeake program.

But I can assure you that these are all friendly ghosts, so don’t resist.  Come join us at an upcoming event.  Also be sure to check out our NEW tour hours below and note our November opening of yet another specialty tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue – this one looking at the building from the vantage point of 1845.

Get into the spirit at the Jewish Museum of Maryland this October.


Upcoming Programs

Please note that unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). For more information and to RSVP for specific programs, contact Trillion Attwood: (410) 732-6400 x215 / tattwood@jewishmuseummd.org. For more information on JMM events please visit www.jewishmuseummd.org.


A Star-Spangled Banner New Year: Author Tova S. Yavin

Sunday, October 12, 1:00pm

Program Free with Museum Admission


Explore the Jewish experience at Fort McHenry with children’s author Tova S. Yavin. Yavin, received the 2008 Notable Book Award for her novel All Star Season, has been developing an article for Highlights Magazine for Children on the Jewish experience of the War of 1812. Learn how the events inspired Francis Scott Key and what his famous poem meant to America’s Jewish community.


All-Star Season will be available for purchase in the JMM Museum Shop during the program.  


In Full Glory Reflected: Author Dr. Ralph Eshelman

Sunday, October 19, 1:00pm

Program Free with Museum Admission

The book will be available at the Museum gift shop!

In Full Glory Reflected, co-authored by Dr. Ralph Eshelman and Burt Kummerow, will be available for purchase in the JMM Museum Shop.

Dr. Ralph Elsheman, co-author of In Full Glory ReflectedDiscovering the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake, will be standing in for his writing partner Burt Kummerow.  Eshleman, a historian who helped develop the “Star Spangled Banner Historic Trail” will share gripping tales of devastating raids, heroic defenders, gallant privateers, fugitive slaves and threatened lands from his treasure chest of Chesapeake tails.


Free Fall Baltimore

The Golem: A Horrific Hero with Feet of Clay: Speaker Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg

the-golem-aka-der-golem-wie-er-in-die-welt-kam-1920Sunday, October 26, 1:00pm


Where are the Jewish zombies? For this year’s Free Fall Baltimore program at the JMM, we welcome back Dr. Blumberg as he reveals the background of the mythical Golem and its place in contemporary pop culture.

Arnold T. Blumberg teaches courses in zombies in popular media (Univ. of Baltimore) and comic book literature (UMBC).

FFB Logo. 2014

Mendes’ Baltimore: The Industries that Built a City

Sunday, November 9th, 1pm

Speaker Jack Burkert


Jack Burkert, a museum educator at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, will discuss the industries and technology that played a vital role in the growth and development of Baltimore during Mendes Cohen’s lifetime. Plus after join us for our newest synagogue tour Technology in the Temple.

Jack joined the Baltimore Museum of Industry as a Museum Educator in 2010. Through this employment, he offers educational programs and information to both adults and young people. Jack has made a specialty of adding content and background to his work through research into the history of Baltimore, its port, businesses, people and immigration. A 1969 graduate of the University of Maryland, Jack graduated with honors with a degree in history and education. His working life, some 40+ years, was spent in various educator roles, beginning in the Baltimore City School system, then as a staff member at the Pennsylvania State University, through private employers and then until his retirement a few years ago, in his own consulting firm.


Mendes Cohen Living History Performance

Sunday, November 16, 1:00pm

Program Free with Museum Admission 

The Ghost of Mendes Cohen

The Ghost of Mendes Cohen

See history come alive with this performance of our newest Living History character and subject of our recently opened exhibit, performed by actor Grant Cloyd. Learn more about this fascinating character as he recounts some of his most captivating anecdotes, including his experience as a defender at Fort McHenry and his time spent traveling throughout Europe and the Middle East.  This will be the first full performance of “the ghost of Mendes Cohen” at the JMM.


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 bnaiisraelcongregation.org.  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit biyabaltimore.org or check out BIYA on facebook. 



Exhibits currently on display include The A-mazing Mendes Cohen (on display through June 14, 2015), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks!


NEW – Hours and Tour Times

The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm.

Starting October 5 we will offer combination tours of the 1845 Lloyd Street Synagogue and the 1876 Synagogue Building now home to B’nai Israel, Sunday through Thursday at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 2:00pm.  We will offer tours focused on the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Sunday through Thursday at 3:00pm and on Sunday at 4:00pm.  On November 9 we will introduce a new Lloyd Street “1845: Technology and the Temple” tour at 3:00pm and the tour will be available every Sunday and Monday at 3 until The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen closes next June.

Please note we are closed for the Jewish festivals on October 9, 10, 16 and 17.


Get Involved

The JMM is looking for volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or icohen@jewishmuseummd.org.



Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families.

All members receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street.

Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. Memberships can be purchased online! http://jewishmuseummd.org/get-involved/museum-membership/ For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org.


Gift Shop

Get mugged….get lost…..get burned!.. 

Baltimore is buzzing for our A-Mazing Mendes MUG! (and dishwasher safe!)

Baltimore is buzzing for our A-Mazing Mendes MUG! (and dishwasher safe!)

Lost in the Maze, but you can be found in the JMM Museum Shop!

Lost in the Maze, but you can be found in the JMM Museum Shop!

Only Candles burn and oh so brightly on our Fire Engine Menorah!

Only Candles burn and oh so brightly on our Fire Engine Menorah!

To round out our fantastic and A-Mazing shop, look at this gorgeous dish!

To round out our fantastic and A-Mazing shop, look at this gorgeous dish!


Merchandise purchased in the Museum Shop directly benefits the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Members receive a 10% discount on JMM Shop purchases.




For information, call Esther Weiner, Museum Shop Manager, 410-732-6400, ext. 211 or email at eweiner@jewishmuseummd.org.



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