Posted on September 29th, 2016 by Rachel
At our Board meeting last week, we had our quarterly approval of new accessions to the JMM collection. Just about every item we collect has a fascinating story behind it – but there was one set of items neatly tucked in a folder that really grabbed my attention. It was a collection of “chromolithographs” donated by Myrna Siegel. Joanna explained that these decorative die cut prints were fairly common in the late 19th and early 20th century… but it was the first set she had seen that was exclusively Jewish themed. The collection included die cut “scraps” – typically used for early scrap books and home decorations and three rather elaborate Rosh Hashanah cards.
A beautiful chromolithograph Rosh Hashanah card.
This got me thinking how traditional are Rosh Hashanah cards. Regular readers of this blog post may remember my shock at learning that Dreidels are derived from a 16th century German Christmas toy. Well it turns out that greeting cards/letters for Rosh Hashanah are also of German Jewish origin but have much deeper roots. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia card giving for the High Holidays is documented in the Book of Customs of Rabbi Jacob in the 14th century. That’s at least 500 years before the first secular New Year’s card is mailed. Though, truth be told, New Year’s rituals were explicitly discouraged by Christian churches until the late 1500s… so the secular New Year’s holiday itself is a relatively modern celebration.
The new cards are additions to some fascinating Rosh Hashanah greetings we already hold in our collection.
Some have classic themes:
But others stand out for their novelty, take for example this Jazz Age New Year’s greeting:
Among the most extraordinary items is this elaborate holiday greeting from 1917:
It is filled with symbols of the immigrant experience and filled with blessings in Hebrew and Yiddish, among these are: May you live to be 120 years old”, ”May you be blessed on your coming, and on your going out”, ”May we have a life of life and peace and joy and happiness and pleasantness”, ”May you have peace, substantial earned income, good business success, enjoyment, happiness, salvation, pleasantness and everything good.”, ”Happy New Year, may your be inscribed in the book of life”, ”May you be delivered from all your enemies and plagues on your path… and may blessing issue from all your doings.”
99 Rosh Hashanah’s later – I wish you and your family all of the above.
Blog post by Executive Director Marvin Pinkert. To read more posts from Marvin click HERE.
Posted on September 27th, 2016 by Rachel
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 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: January 15, 2016
PastPerfect Accession #: 2011.029.112
Status: Unidentified! A Levindale resident participates in occupational therapy, 1963
Posted on September 26th, 2016 by Rachel
As a former arts-and-crafts camp counselor, and someone who takes art classes for fun, I’m really excited about our new sketching workshops. Earlier this summer we hosted artists both inside and outside the Lloyd Street Synagogue, and in November we’ll bring people into B’nai Israel for the chance to draw the sanctuary.
Rabbi Mintz and his family at our plein air workshop in July.
Participants drawing the inside of the Lloyd Street Synagogue in August.
Last night’s program focused on our collections, so I not only had the fun of participating, I also had the pleasure of choosing a variety of artifacts to create a challenging still life. This required a lot of over-thinking on my part – after all, we have over 11,000 objects to choose from! – and not everything made the cut this time, but it came together into a nice display, with an assortment on one pedestal and a single item – a Russian samovar, which was one of the first things that came to my mind when this program was first mentioned – on another.
Claire Tesh, her daughter Lena, and facilitator Matt Adelberg discuss technique.
Doesn’t my still life look nice? I know you all wish you had the chance to draw that fantastic hat.
Thanks to our wonderful workshop facilitators, Matt Adelberg and Christen Chiori, JMM staff have had the chance to relax and participate, taking some time to really look at and enjoy our buildings and collections.
Facilitator Christen Chiosi works with three of our summer interns in the Lloyd Street Synagogue during the August workshop.
Tracie Guy-Decker took a few minutes to join the artists inside the Synagogue in August.
At yesterday’s workshop I attempted to draw my challenging still life, and it was challenging… but my samovar came out much better. Gift of Hadassah Greater Baltimore. JMM 1979.34.1
We welcome artists of all ages at these events, as the young ladies below attest. After all, our collections – from small wooden blocks to the buildings themselves – are held in the public trust, for research and study as well as preservation and exhibition. Whether you have mad skills with a pencil or just want to give it a try, we hope you take these opportunities to closely examine, with an artist’s eye, our fabulous pieces of history.
Two young artists and their work.
Next workshop: Sketching inside B’nai Israel – Sunday, November 6th at 10:30 a.m.
A blog post by Collections Manager Joanna Church. To read more posts by Joanna click HERE.