An Intern Prepares for Electrified Pickle

Posted on June 30th, 2014 by

Hi! My name is Arielle and I’m working at the Jewish Museum of Maryland this summer as an Education and Programming intern.  After two weeks on the job, I can honestly say that I’ve learned way more than I can write.  From observing tours, to working with visitors, to learning how to use Past Perfect, to attending meetings, to planning exhibits, this job has been quite a ride.  In addition, its also been a lot of fun!  I love the work that I’m doing at the museum.  Plus, the people that I’m working with make it even more fun and rewarding.  The community of staff and volunteers at the museum has been incredibly welcoming.  They are so phenomenal at what they do and they are great teachers when it comes to learning how a museum works.

“Intern Wrangler” and Senior Collections Manager Jobi taught all the interns how to handle collections items. I was fortunate enough to be able to work with this artifact – an eye glass case used by Optometrists back in the day – and prepare it for display.

“Intern Wrangler” and Senior Collections Manager Jobi taught all the interns how to handle collections items. I was fortunate enough to be able to work with this artifact – an eye glass case used by Optometrists back in the day – and prepare it for display.

On the job I’ve gotten to play a part in so many awesome upcoming things that will be taking place at the museum both this summer and this fall.  After sitting in on several meetings regarding the Electrified Pickle exhibit and helping put together the set of collections items that will be on display, I can honestly say that the exhibit which will be opening on July 13 is going to be amazing!  Among other themes, the exhibit deals with the Jewish relationship with technology and how it’s progressed over the years.  The topic is very engaging and the collections items we’ve gathered to show on display are fascinating. The exhibit should be very educational and I know we have several exciting programs coming up that will be going along with the exhibit!

As an intern I never expected to have such an important say in the planning of an exhibit, but the JMM is unique because I think it really trusts its interns and treats us like members of the staff.  From this trust and responsibility, I have loved stepping up to the plate and learning by doing, instead of learning by watching.  I have gained so much by attending these exhibition planning meetings and researching artifacts. I can’t wait to help build the exhibit over the next two weeks and watch its success when it opens.

Looking at photographs on the computer program Past Perfect, trying to find the perfect photo to display in the “Electrified Pickle” exhibit.

Looking at photographs on the computer program Past Perfect, trying to find the perfect photo to display in the “Electrified Pickle” exhibit

In addition to helping plan the “Electrified Pickle”, I have also been given the opportunity to work on projects regarding the upcoming exhibit “The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen” which opens on September 14, and the chance to help organize the museum’s upcoming Holocaust Summer Teacher’s Institute. It has been a very fun and rewarding process doing both of these things and I can’t wait for the rest of the summer to see how much more I learn!

So, that all being said, I hope you stop by the museum this upcoming summer to check out the “Electrified Pickle” and come back again in the fall to see “The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen.”  I promise you won’t be disappointed! They should be both “Electrifying” and “Ahhh-mazing!” Hehe, get it?

So many Mendes, So little time! Be sure to come back in the fall to meet The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen yourself!

So many Mendes, So little time! Be sure to come back in the fall to meet The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen yourself!

You can even download your OWN Flat Mendes here or pick one up at the front desk next time you visit the Museum!

The Jewish Museum of Maryland is an amazing place and so far I couldn’t be happier spending my summer working as an intern here.

A blog post by Education and Programming Intern Arrielle Kaden. To read more posts by and about JMM interns, click here.

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My Walk through Jewish History

Posted on June 26th, 2014 by

As an Exhibition and Research Intern at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, it’s my responsibility to describe and dissect the unique connection between the Jewish community and medicine for the upcoming Jews, Health, and Healing exhibit. Every day, I research topics on Jewish identity, conceptions of health, and the changing medical landscape. However, my education in Jewish History begins far before I enter the JMM. My morning walk from Patterson Park to Jonestown is an immediate reminder of Baltimore’s changing ethnic communities and the remnants of a recent past.

Southeast Baltimore and was once home to a thriving Jewish community. This should not surprise our blog readers, as the JMM and corned beef row are located just east of downtown. However, to the casual passer-by, the area’s Jewish presence is not immediate. Jewish History is only found by those who look. One day, as I was walking down East Baltimore Street, I noticed something quite unusual on a Spanish-speaking Roman Catholic Church—Hebrew.

A Hebrew inscription hidden in plain sight.

A Hebrew inscription hidden in plain sight.

On the facade of Iglesia de Dios, was a prominent Hebrew inscription, and the date 1899. Stepping back, I looked for more Jewish symbolism hidden amongst the Christian iconography. Sure enough, above the stained glass cross, were the tablets of the Ten Commandments. I could not find the earliest congregation associated with this synagogue; however, with a little research, I discovered this beautiful cream brick building at the corner of Baltimore and Chester may have been the home of former Adath Israel Congregation. This Orthodox congregation was founded in 1914 and amalgamated with Congregation Emanuel in 1920. This community worshiped at this location from 1920-1948, until it merged with Beth Isaac to form Beth Isaac-Adath Israel Congregation. The community is still thriving, just in a new location in Northwest Baltimore.

Iglesia de Dios on E. Baltimore Street is an excellent example of a re-purposed religious space.

Iglesia de Dios on E. Baltimore Street is an excellent example of a re-purposed religious space.

Re-appropriating sacred places is certainly not a new concept to our readers or the JMM. The Lloyd Street Synagogue was once used by the Lithuanian Catholic community before they raised enough money to build their own house of worship. Though I am sure it is hard to leave a place that was once your home every Saturday, it must have reassured former congregants that their synagogue was still used for praise and reflection.

The Lloyd Street Synagogue took on multiple faith communities in its lifetime.

The Lloyd Street Synagogue took on multiple faith communities in its lifetime.

Unfortunately, not all former synagogues find other communities. Just of the corner of E. Baltimore and S. Caroline, I walked past a razed former synagogue. Yet, despite the graffiti and draped blue tarpaulins, I could see the beauty the structure once had. There is no name, just an inscription of a psalm and the date 1925. The closest congregation I found near this site was Agudas Achim Anshe Chernigov Nusarch Ari Congregation, an Orthodox community located at 132 South Carolina Street from 1913-1950.

 Though it’s near demolition, one can still appreciate the structure’s subtle beauty.

Though it’s near demolition, one can still appreciate the structure’s subtle beauty.

Although I have just scratched the surface of Baltimore’s past congregations and Jewish communities, I realize I am so fortunate to work in a place that keeps these memories alive. If you have any more information on these  structures, please let the JMM know – email research@jewishmuseummd.org!

 

Mandy BenterThis blog post was written by Exhibitions Research Intern Mandy Benter. For more information on Baltimore’s many synagogues, please see Earl Pruce’s Synagogues, Temples, and Congregations of Maryland, 1830-1990 or visit the website: http://www.kilduffs.com/Synagogues.htmlTo read more posts by and about JMM interns, click here

 

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