Jewish Communal Service Association 2012 Annual Program

Posted on June 9th, 2012 by

By Development Coordinator Amy Smith

On Tuesday, Marvin Pinkert,Susan Press, and I attended the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America’s 2012 Annual Program at the Park Heights JCC.  I was excited that JCSA chose to hold their program in Baltimore this year.  The day provided a great opportunity for engaging professional development and to network with other Jewish communal professionals.  And it was right around the corner!

Hundreds of Baltimore Jewish communal professionals enjoy some breakfast and network before the program begins.

The program opened with a keynote speech by Dr. Charles Edelsberg of the Jim Joseph Foundation.  Rabbi Larry Ziffer gave the D’var Torah.  For the first breakout session, I attended Elissa Maier’s workshop on Managing Up.  In it, we used a tool called the Pace Palette to understand different communication styles in order to work more effectively with others.  http:///www.paceorg.com/

The Pace Palette – are you a red, yellow, green or blue?

Over a delicious Mediterranean lunch, there was a lively discussion panel on the topic of change.  In the afternoon, I attended the workshop How to Communicate with Presence led by Sarah Gershman.  Focusing on presence, message, and voice, Sarah gave useful advice about how to hone your public speaking skills in order to better reach your audience.

Here I am with Amy and Megan, two colleagues from Jewish Volunteer Connection.

The day was a positive experience in terms of professional development and one that I look forward to repeating next year.  In the end, I was reminded of why I am a Jewish communal professional in the first place – it is rewarding to be part of such a vibrant and passionate Baltimore community.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Crazy about Knishes

Posted on May 21st, 2012 by

A blog post by Development Coordinator Amy Smith

If there’s one thing’s for sure, Laura Silver is crazy about knishes.  And there’s a good reason for that.  On Sunday at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, Laura Silver told the story of her genealogical journey in which she traced her roots back to the Polish town of Knyszyn, where both her great aunt and her maternal grandmother where born.  One could even say that Laura’s passion for and connection with the knish is a birthright.

Welcome to Knish History 101: Audience members take their seats in anticipation for Laura Silver’s talk about the history of knishes.

But what exactly is a knish?  Knishes are essentially dumplings that can be round or square, and are filled with potato, ground meat, spinach, kasha, or really anything you can think of to stuff inside a pocket of dough.  There is not one particular type of dough that defines a knish, but in general, the audience members shared an intuitive sense that knishes are made from a pastry or filo dough rather than noodle dough like its boiled Polish cousin, the pierogi.  While there is some debate about what makes a knish a knish, when asked, Laura Silver poignantly answered that it is the spirit behind it that makes a knish a knish.

Some of the knishes we served at the program, courtesy of Attman’s Delicatessen.

Joining Laura for the question and answer session was Anita Baum, original owner of The Knish Shop in Pikesville.  Having grown up in a catering family, Ms. Baum also has a deep connection to the knish.  She prefers meat to potato knishes, and bakes hers from leftover brisket.  Ms. Baum always has knishes on hand – if there’s nothing else her granddaughter will eat, she can at least serve her a homemade knish!

Knish expert Laura Silver with Anita Baum, former owner of The Knish Shop in Pikesville.

Thanks to The Knish Shop for providing knishes for visitors to sample.

The knish discussion stirred up memories for me too.  Laura Silver had a slide of the Kosher Stand at Memorial Stadium (the old baseball stadium in Baltimore), where they served potato and meat knishes.  My family is originally from Long Island and even though I grew up in Delaware, my dad raised me to be a New York Mets fan.  As a child, my dad often took me to baseball games at Shea Stadium.  My distinguishing memory from these games involves eating square potato knishes with my dad, followed by a plastic baseball cap filled with Carvel with rainbow sprinkles for dessert.

Visitors eagerly sample knishes after a lively discussion with Laura Silver.

My mother in law tasting a knish.

At the end of the program, it was clear that Laura Silver had achieved her goal of getting the audience to join in the knish conversation.  We each had our own knish memories and stories to share, and had the opportunity to sample knishes from The Knish Shop, Sion’s Bakery, Hoffman & Co., Caterer of Distinction, and Attman’s Delicatessen.  If this post has left you hungry and inspired to make your own knishes, I suggest this recipe for Potato Knishes from the The Shiksha in the Kitchen.  Enjoy!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




A Good and Meaningful World

Posted on April 18th, 2012 by

A blog post by Development Coordinator Amy Smith

This week staff members met with Executive Director Avi Decter and Assistant Director Deborah Cardin for our 2012 staff evaluations.  These evaluations provided a useful opportunity to reflect upon our accomplishments over the past year as well as our contributions to the Museum and the community.

As I think about my goals for 2012, both professional and personal, one recent change comes to mind.   Last week, I joined a Baltimore based non-profit organization called A Good and Meaningful World.  The goal of this Jewish outreach initiative is for members to serve the community by performing an act of goodness each day for four weeks.  Members of A Good and Meaningful World post their random act of kindness on a Facebook group, which serves to inspire other members to continue doing good.  And, through the use of social media, the group is able to reach members all around the world.

Every member is provided with an agoodandmeaningful.com blue bracelet that reminds us to do an Act of Goodness each day.

For more information, please visit A Good and Meaningful World website at http:///agoodandmeaningfulworld.com/ or email agoodandmeaningfulworld@gmail.com.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Next Page »