A Fond Farewell for Our Favorite Cure for the Winter Blues

Posted on January 6th, 2017 by

Museum Matters: January 2017

All good things must come to an end and this month we’ll say goodbye to Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and American Medicine so don’t miss your last chance to experience this fantastic exhibit between now and Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 16th). The exhibit heads into storage for a few months and then makes its way to the Maltz Museum in Cleveland in the fall.

However, we have no time for long good-byes.  Check out our upcoming programs below that span the time between exhibits and be sure to save the date for the opening of our next project, Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity on March 5th.”

Upcoming programs
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact Trillion Attwood at tattwood@jewishmuseummd.org / 443-8735177with any questions or for more information.

baby in river

First Years, First Rites

First Years, First Rites: Exploring Religious Traditions in the First Years of Life
Sunday, January 15th at 1:00pm
Included with Museum Admission – Buy Tickets Now!

Join us for an inter-faith panel exploring the first year of life. There are many special traditions connected with this important time in our lives. Even though we don’t remember them, they are an essential rite of passage. Panelists will examine these essential rites of passage, comparing them across religions and faith, and discussing their historic roots.

film poster

film poster

Movie Screening – Bal Ej: The Hidden Jews of Ethiopia 
Sunday, February 12th at 1pm 
Included with Museum Admission – Buy Tickets Now!

Join us for the Maryland premiere of Bal Ej: The Hidden Jews of Ethiopia. Following a one-hundred-year-old account of the prominent Jewish Polish scholar Jacque Faitlovich, the film-maker travels to discover and explore a sect of secret Jews in Ethiopia. Named Bal Ej, “craftsmen”, for their artisan skills, they have been persecuted by their Orthodox Christian neighbors who slandered them as “evil-eyed” and “hyena-people.” They have been deprived of basic rights, including ownership of land.

Following the screening we will be talking with the director Irene Orleansky live from Israel via Face Time. 

Artist Insights: Lori Shocket and Keron Psillas
Sunday, March 5th at 2:00 pm 
Included with Museum Admission – Buy Tickets Now!

We are very pleased to welcome two wonderful artists whose works are featured in Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity. Lori Shocket (Memory Reconstruction: A Sacred Culture Rebuilt) and Keron Psillas (Loss and Beauty: Photographs by Keron Psillas) will join us to discuss their art, their inspiration and what they have learnt through their work exploring the Holocaust.

Esther’s Place: the Shop at the Jewish Museum of Maryland

Esther's Place

Esther’s Place

At Esther’s Place, we are busy preparing for holidays in 2017 with fun and beautiful tree-themed merchandise for Tu B’shvat and looking ahead to Passover. In the meantime, Beyond Chicken Soup is closing on January 16. Until that time, enjoy 10% off of medically-themed merchandise.

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Henrietta Szold- A Hometown Hero Goes to Baltimore City Public Schools

Posted on January 5th, 2017 by

In early fall, the JMM developed its fifth living history character, Henrietta Szold in connection with our latest exhibition, Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America.  The JMM’s education department developed learning and resource materials based on her exceptional life and career as well as highlight the challenges she faced as a modern woman defining herself as an American Jew during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Henrietta Szold meets the students of Morrell Park.

Henrietta Szold meets the students of Morrell Park.

Henrietta Szold was born in Baltimore in 1860, the daughter of Rabbi Benjamin Szold, the spiritual leader of Baltimore’s Temple Oheb Shalom. Throughout her life, Henrietta was committed to helping those who were in need.  Szold’s many contributions included establishing a night school in Baltimore for new immigrants and the creation of Hadassah, a national Zionist women’s organization devoted to improving health care in Palestine that is still in existence today.  She was directly involved in the rescue of European Jewish children during World War II through her work with Youth Aliyah, an initiative that helped resettle and educate Jewish youth in Palestine.

Natalie Pilcher as Henrietta

Natalie Pilcher as Henrietta

In November, Henrietta Szold, portrayed by Natalie Pilcher made her way to the 7th and 8th grade classrooms at Morell Park Elementary/Middle School located in the southwest section of the city. The living history character Henrietta Szold was used to kick-off the students’ own research on their National History day projects.  This year’s theme- Taking A Stand in History.  The objectives of the program were that the students would watch the presentation and following they would have the opportunity to ask questions.   The performances were stellar and the students asked great questions relative to Henrietta’s life following the presentations.  A few students even asked Natalie about her job as an actress and asked for tips in preparing for their own National History day projects.

Natalie speaks with a student about her role as Henrietta

Natalie speaks with a student about her role as Henrietta

Two weeks later, the education staff followed up with another visit to the classroom.  This time, the students looked at reproductions of archival materials relating to Henrietta’s life and answer questions to make better understanding of the documents.  The images represented Henrietta’s life both in Baltimore and in Palestine.  Students made their own connection to Szold’s life knowing that they also attended Baltimore City public schools and they were also familiar with the address of her two homes, one on Lombard and the other on Eutaw Streets.

Engaging with archival reproductions

Engaging with archival reproductions


Engaging with archival reproductions

The students also saw images of the early medical care that was available in Palestine in the early 1920’s, and made connections to their own experiences of medical care.  They also showed empathy as they learned of Szold’s courageous work saving over 10,000 children from Nazi Germany through her work with Youth Aliyah.

Students at Morrell Park

Students at Morrell Park

Students at Morrell Park

Students at Morrell Park

We returned back to Morell Park a week later to the classroom and the teacher was so excites to see us because she wanted to share the bulletin board that she had created documenting the students work in connection with Henrietta Szold.  Henrietta Szold is now Baltimore City Public Schools new Hometown Hero.  You can learn about Henrietta Szold – Baltimore’s Own Hometown Hero in the JMM’s exhibit, Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America through January 16, 2017.  If you would like to learn more about the Henrietta Szold Living History Education project, contact Education Director, Ilene Dackman-Alon at idackmanalon@jewishmuseummd.org or 443.873.5718.

Henrietta Szold: Living History Character was made possible through the generous support of the Kolker-Saxon-Hallock Family Foundation, Inc., a supporting foundation of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

Educational opportunities were made possible by the Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Fund of The Associated.

ileneA blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

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Two Lives in Labor: Jacob Edelman Part 2

Posted on January 4th, 2017 by

Edited by Avi Y. Decter. Originally published in Generations 2009-2010: 50th Anniversary Double Issue: The Search for Social Justice.

The account of Jacob Edelman’s early years in the labor movement comes from an oral history conducted by Bertha Libauer on November 2, 1975.

Part II: A New Era

Miss part 1: The Voice of Labor?

I left Baltimore and went to New York because in order to get a job in another plant whether it would be Schloss Bros. or Henry Sonneborn & Co. they knew that we were involved in a strike, and they knew we were very much involved and couldn’t get a job. The only thing I could do was to go to New York. New York was already a lot different. New York was the so-called cradle of  “Industrial Civilization.” New York was the reservoir of unionism. I went to the union office there, identified myself, and why I had to leave Baltimore, and I was given a job. New York opened all sorts of avenues for me that I would never have had in Baltimore.

I earned my living of twelve dollars a week in the cutting department, and at that time I worked forty-eight hours instead of fifty-six in Baltimore. And we had recognition of the union, and we had meetings in the union–open without secreting your identity, you had shop stewards in the shops, you had committees if you had a grievance, foremen treated you with much more dignity than what I was accustomed to here, and so it gave me opportunities to do things in addition to working in the plant and maintaining myself. I enrolled in the Cooper Union School of Social Science, and there I took economics.

I spent in New York from the end of 1913 to the beginning of 1916, keeping in touch with my sisters, slipping into Baltimore to see them, going back to New York. They were happy to see how I looked and that I was getting along. I was beginning to hear a lot of music in New York, going to the Metropolitan, symphonies, concerts, etc. New York had what was good for my soul as for the body.

Garment Workers' Strike, July 1915. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Garment Workers’ Strike, July 1915. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Then there came a new era in the labor movement. There was the upsurge in leadership upon the American scene. [Sidney] Hillman became the first president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. When that organization came upon the scene, it supplanted the United Garment Workers. It was like civil war within the labor movement as to which would predominate and which would survive. The masses of the people clung to the Amalgamated because that was the new liberal spirit that permeated and influenced the garment industry. It was almost like a sister organization to the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, which dealt with ladies’ wearing apparel. The leadership was of the same philosophical pattern. They were all people who had come from the other side. They witnessed industrial exploitation, political oppression and came to this country and assumed their position in this free country, that was dearest to their hearts and that was human freedom and human dignity and better working conditions and to establish a sort of Bill of Rights to the people in industry.

Sidney Hillman, c. 1940. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Sidney Hillman, c. 1940. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

That’s when I came back to Baltimore. I became involved in the Amalgamated, and before long I was on its staff. I became a leader of the cutters. They had crafts–they had coat makers locals, pants makers locals, finishers locals. The finishers were women buttonhole makers–all women, wonderful crafts-people, who were doing delicate kinds of work. They were segregated into various locals, known as the craft locals. I was, of course, in the cutters craft. There it was a democracy, you were not appointed nor were you anointed a leader. You had to be elected by the people and so democracy was in action on the industrial level, vis-a-vis the labor movement. I was elected a business agent and representative of the cutters craft under the Amalgamated leadership.

The labor movement was engaged in various struggles with the captains of industry. As unions were coming in conflict with industry, they wound up in the courts. Often lock-outs, strikes, injunctions, arrests, convictions–unions needed lawyers. They needed defenders and advocates. The leadership contained in their own right advocacy, but they need legal advocates and you needed legal defenders, people within the labor movement who became involved in litigation with industry.

At that time I found a position in the Amalgamated, I was free to be able to study, attended Hopkins to take classes, attended the YMCA Day School to prepare myself for admission to the University of Maryland, and after that, in 1921 until 1925 I received a law degree as Bachelor of Laws & Letters. I took my examination, passed the bar and became a lawyer, and that’s when I began to represent labor to the exclusion of any other economic interest until this day.

I was naturally identified as representing labor, which was not very fashionable, because most lawyers in the profession were fearful to represent labor’s interests because it was a disadvantage to a lawyer who was naturally a general practitioner and if he undertook to represent a labor union, he would lose [clients], because they were not pro-labor minded, they were business men, they were manufacturers, they were industrialists and they would not have any truck with a lawyer who attempts to represent labor. These upstarts were not satisfied with conditions with the status quo. They were rebelling against the establishment. So if you represented labor, you were a labor lawyer, and there were many lean years when labor did not have the wherewithal to compensate a lawyer. You had to be thoroughly dedicated to that cause, otherwise you couldn’t serve labor.

Founders of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, c.1915. M. Serkin (top row, 2md from left), Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca (4th from left), Sarah Baron (6th from left), David Schnapper (9th from left), Morris Michelson (2nd row, 1st from left), Henry Tuerk (2nd from left), Hyman Blumberg (3rd from left), Paul Lesky (7th from left), Jacob Edelman (8th from left), and Samuel Skolnik (bottom, left).  JMM 1990.91.1

Founders of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, c.1915. M. Serkin (top row, 2md from left), Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca (4th from left), Sarah Baron (6th from left), David Schnapper (9th from left), Morris Michelson (2nd row, 1st from left), Henry Tuerk (2nd from left), Hyman Blumberg (3rd from left), Paul Lesky (7th from left), Jacob Edelman (8th from left), and Samuel Skolnik (bottom, left). JMM 1990.91.1

And then labor came into its own. Then came the terrible depression, the Roosevelt Administration. The tremendous upsurge of the CIO. In this city I was the pioneer, the sole and only lawyer at the bar who represented labor’s interests, who understood labor’s problems and at the same time attained an attitude of an even balance because I was taught by Sidney Hillman, and that I will never forget, a man who was a great scholar, a man who was destined to be a rabbi but came over to the side of the rebels to lead masses to effect their economic social and political well being. He taught those of us that were close to him– “In your dealings with employers you must remember and not forget that if you drag the employer down you drive yourself under and under is lower than down, so make sure that in your dealings with employers you must always have a healthy economic employer who will be able to give you what is reasonable for you to receive.” This is the school of labor relations in my time. By these standards I maintained my professional approach in representing labor’s interests.

As much as can be said that labor [today] can be found unreasonable in its demands, the leadership of American industry has in its history, failed to recognize the rights of labor in their days, so that you have a constant clash and conflict between labor and industry, and also labor and capital. If labor had waited, without establishing itself through its own strength, and through its own might and main to demand and secure certain rights, they would have never been given to labor, and that goes for legislation as well. If you turn the clock back about sixty years ago, there was no such thing as workmen’s compensation. If a person lost his life in the line of duty, the widow and children were helpless. If he lost a limb or an eye or what-not, there was no such thing. What would have been the history of this country without the labor movement?

Continue to Part III: We Will Begin the Campaign (Sarah Barron)


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