Responding to #BaltimoreUprising

Posted on May 12th, 2015 by

A JMM “pop-up” exhibit, “In Every Generation” explores Jewish involvement in the struggle for justice

"On Friday, May 1st, we brought the Jewish community together and marched in solidarity with our neighbors to City Hall, where we rallied in the name of #JusticeForFreddie. " Photo by Marc Shapiro/Baltimore Jewish Times.

“On Friday, May 1st, we brought the Jewish community together and marched in solidarity with our neighbors to City Hall, where we rallied in the name of #JusticeForFreddie. ” Donated by Jews United For Justice, Baltimore Chapter. Photo by Marc Shapiro/Baltimore Jewish Times.

Monday, April 27 was my fifth day on the job as the new Associate Director of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. It was also the day that the protests over Freddie Gray’s death turned violent.

That Thursday, just three days after the riots in Baltimore, my first staff meeting at the JMM had a very different agenda than originally planned. For my new colleagues and me, regular museum business simply couldn’t compete with what was happening in our city.

Marvin told us he thought the historical community in the region should band together and create some sort of response to what was going on, but that he was having a hard time coordinating with his counterparts.

Ilene Dackman-Alon, the Education Director, asked “Why can’t we just do something on our own?” and “Yes, let’s do something,” immediately echoed around the table. I felt a surge of pride to be the newest member of this team that is not willing to “wait for the dust to settle.” I was grateful, too, that my professional role would give me this concrete way to respond to the unrest in my beloved hometown.

Created by the Associated, April 2015.

Created by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, April 2015.

In an email to friends of the Museum later that day, Marvin wrote, the “Jewish Museum of Maryland is committed to being a part of the healing process.  As keepers of an important piece of the community’s records, we know that our history has the ability to show us what we have overcome and to strengthen our will to build a better future.”

Within days, JMM Collections Manager, Joanna Church, had put together a short list of photographs and artifacts from the Museum’s collections. From that list the exhibit’s ad hoc committee (of which I was honored and humbled to be a member) selected the most appropriate materials to display. We also reached out to local activist groups, including Jews United for Justice, in an effort to collect and document the current situation.

”Soviet Jews protest their oppression demand their freedom let my people go.” A group of young men working on protest posters at the JCC, January 1973. Photo by Sussman Photography, JMM 2006.13.1553.

”Soviet Jews protest their oppression demand their freedom let my people go.” A group of young men working on protest posters at the JCC, January 1973. Photo by Sussman Photography, JMM 2006.13.1553.

In her call for materials for the exhibit, Joanna wrote, “we hope this exhibit will facilitate discussion among our visitors, both of past movements and current events…most importantly, the exhibit includes space for visitors’ thoughts, stories, and contributions.”

The exhibit is now on display in the lobby of the Museum. We’re calling it “In Every Generation,” and we’ve included artifacts and photographs from the 1860s, 1910s, 1930s, 1960s, 1980s and 2015. We’ve set up a guest book (which will become a part of the museum’s permanent collection) for visitors to record their thoughts, reactions and stories. We’ve also left a little room, expecting that we may need to add to the materials on display.

Freedom Seder, c.2000s. JMM 2013.044

Freedom Seder, c.2000s. JMM 2013.044

To donate materials to “In Every Generation,” contact Joanna Church, Collections Manager, at The Museum will also accept digital submissions through the use of #InEveryGeneration on social media. Digital collections will be shared with the public via the Museum’s Facebook page,

Tracie Guy-DeckerA blog post by Associate Director Tracie Guy-Decker.

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Once Upon a Time…09.05.2014

Posted on May 12th, 2015 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

2001113025Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  September 5, 2014

PastPerfect Accession #:  2001.113.25

Status:  Identified! Sisterhood Past Presidents, Kneseth Israel Congregation, Annapolis, n.d Back row, L-R: 1. Numa Lavy 2. Sylvia L. Katcef 3. Elsie Greenberg Stebbins 4. Nancy Schoenburg 5. Gertrude Levin Decker 6. Sondee Snyder 7. Libby Monias 8. Rita Schenker Cohen 9. Barbara Warren. Front row, L-R: 1. Rebbitzen Esther Rosenblatt 11. Shirley Lieberman 12. Sylvia B. Katcef 13. Julia Feldman 14. Ruth Boro 15. Adele Greil.

Special Thanks To: Susan Weinstein, Adele Griel


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Volunteer Spotlight on: Ellen Stein!

Posted on May 11th, 2015 by

Ellen Stein has been volunteering at the Jewish Museum of Maryland for just over 2 years.  Her original connection with the JMM began while she was still working in Baltimore County Public Schools. She worked on school curriculum with Ilene Dackman-Alon, Education Director. But when Ellen began volunteering she chose to start in the Museum Shop. She has designs on moving into the Education Department after a while, perhaps as a Docent, but until then, she is happy to enjoy herself in the shop.   While there, she sells merchandise, assists with inventory (she especially enjoys seeing new items come in), tags and shelves items, and even polishes the silver. She is happy to do anything that Esther Weiner, Shop Manager, requests.  One of her favorite outcomes of volunteering has been getting to know Esther, who Ellen describes as a wonderful multi-tasker.

Ellen Stein

Ellen Stein

As mentioned above, before volunteering at the JMM Ellen was with Baltimore County Public Schools for 32 years.  She taught kindergarten for 17 years, was a Teacher Mentor, and finished her career as a Language Resource teacher in Title 1 schools.   She knew that she wanted to get back to volunteering when she retired and is glad to fill her time at the JMM.  She thinks the Museum is a wonderful place to visit.  She especially enjoys meeting people from out of town and likes to learn about where they are from and assist them with their purchases in the shop.  A perk she enjoys are the field trips and behind-the-scenes tours that are planned specifically for the volunteers. In particular, she mentioned a visit to the National Archives (our Executive Director Marvin Pinkert’s old stomping grounds).  Also while at the museum, Ellen enjoys learning about Jewish history through attending the exhibits. She took advantage of the Project Mah Jongg exhibit and learned how to play. She is now in a regular game.

While away from the Museum, Ellen enjoys being a mother to 3 and grandmother to 4. One family is in Chicago but she was able to spend Mother’s Day with all those who live in Baltimore.  She concluded by describing her overall volunteer experience at the JMM as wonderful, and something she really enjoys. She said that all of the staff has been helpful whenever she has needed assistance.  We feel exactly the same way about her.

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 or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

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