Happy Earth Day!

Posted on May 2nd, 2012 by

A blog post by Program Manager Rachel Cylus.

It all started a few months ago with a lively conversation in the West Wing about Peeps Dioramas.  If you haven’t heard of Peeps Dioramas (where have you been??), they are a national edible art competition each spring celebrating the popular Easter candy, Peeps.

“If only there were a Passover equivalent!” we exclaimed.

That is how the idea of “Ginger ‘Bread of Affliction’ Houses” was born.  Matzah – also referred to in many Haggadahs as the bread of affliction, is a pretty great building material, although it can be pretty crumbly and delicate, hence “ginger”.  Eventually we would like to have an edible art contest based around matzah, but for this year we decided to stick to Matzah House building.

With a little tweaking and some input from our colleague, Kim Jacobsohn at the DBJCC, the Earth Day Counts program began to take shape.  Just after Passover and right in the middle of the Counting of the Omer, Earth Day is the perfect time of the year to talk about Feeding the World from a Jewish Food perspective.

During Passover we spend a lot of time giving extra consideration for the foods that we eat.  Does it rise?  Does it have cornstarch?  Is it made with soybean oil?  Considering that Kashrut has a lot of rules and regulations to begin with, on Passover the rules multiply ten fold, it seems.  And with it, we find ourselves selling off chametz – leavened products, and buying new… well, everything.

But what about after Passover is over?  What happens to all the food we just can’t stand looking at one more day?  Why not turn it into edible art and celebrate how food ends up on our tables in the first place.

For this program we had seven family friendly activities.  First and foremost, of course, Building Matzah Houses out of leftover matzah and Passover candy.  The kids were pretty creative, even if many of the houses had to remain 2-dimensional objects of wonder.  We used cake icing to stick everything together, and the weird and wacky candies of Passover made for great decoration.  By making them edible, we even got a few participants who were ready to snack on some matzah again.

We also celebrated the foods we can eat, in the form of a Seven Ancient Species Taste Test.  Participants were invited to try the seven foods of the bible which were used in sacrifice at the ancientTemple.  We tried dates, figs, olives, grapes, pomegranates, wheat and barley in multiple forms and guests were invited to fill out surveys and tell us what they thought of these special foods.

Then we used two of the seven species (wheat and grapes) to make sandwiches for the needy.  With help from our friends at the Jewish Volunteer Connection, we donated pb&j sandwiches that we made together to Our Daily Bread and the Helping Up Mission.

Since wheat and barley are key elements in the Counting of the Omer, we decorated calendars to keep track of the days between Passover and Shavuot, when the Israelites would bring offerings to the temple.

All in all it was a great day, with around eighty people showing up to take part in the festivities.  The next Family Fun Day at the Jewish Museum of Maryland is July 1st when the Sol Food Bus will be arriving to teach us about Urban farming.  See you then!

*All photos by Will Kirk.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Findings in the Basement

Posted on February 24th, 2012 by

A blog post by Outreach Coordinator Rachael Binning.

For some of you the title of my blog post may be surprising. After all, I’m part of the education team and the education staff rarely makes it down to the basement, where most of our collection is stored.  In fact, I feel confident in saying that it’s probably for the best that we don’t go down there too often. Unlike the collection staff, who are trained in handling the objects in our collection, I feel more comfortable interacting with people. That’s not to say that I don’t love having the opportunity to go downstairs and visiting all of the crazy objects in our collection that are not currently on display in our exhibits.

A few weeks ago much of the museum staff was on a necessary kick to clean out the basement. Among the shelves in the basement outside of our collections is a storage area for education material. Learning about this secret stash of education material was a surprise to me, so when I heard that we needed to clean it out I was excited to do so. Over the course of two days Rachel Cylus, Elena Rosemond-Hoerr, and I went through boxes of “lost” education props and material including a Purim puppet show, a box of about 50 bright yellow t-shirts, and more tinsel that you can imagine.

Below are some pictures of my favorite findings. Since I’ve only been working at the JMM for a year or so it was hard for me to imagine what all of these props were used for. If you know the origin of some of these objects, please let know because I’m really really curious!

A box full of Holga Cameras.

We found a box of Holga cameras along with some beautiful pictures mounted on foam core. I imagine that at some point an education staff member did a project with a local school or community group. The photos that were developed are beautiful. I’m hoping that we can use these cameras for a project I’m dreaming up that documents life in the Lombard Street neighborhood as it stands today.

A handful of unpainted wooden dreidels.

My (very intelligent) guess is that these dreidels were used for a Hanukkah program. This past December during “Esther Fest” Elena and I were looking for dreidels and these would have been perfect. For next year’s program we will definitely be incorporating these. Personally I’m really looking forward to bedazzling my very own dreidel.

A box of cocktail umbrellas.

My desk-gnome relaxing under the umbrellas.

I’m not sure what to say about the hundreds of umbrellas that we found except that I like them. Look forward to a Brews & Schmooze with these in your future.

Painted Russian nesting dolls.

I’m fascinated by these Russian nesting dolls and the way that they were decorated. I have no idea why, but at some point in time the JMM had a program or event where people decorated the dolls using tissue paper and magazine cut outs. I find them to be adorable and a tad bit creepy. Luckily there were a few blank dolls left so I plan on painting mine soon.

I hope that these random pictures have entertained you as much as they have entertained me. Until next time!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Once Upon a Time…08.20.2010

Posted on November 23rd, 2010 by

Once Upon a Time 8.20.2010

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 Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager and Registrar at 410.732.6400 x226 or jzink@jewishmuseummd.org.

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: 8/20/10
PastPerfect Accession #: 2009.040.5184

Status: Partially identified. Arts and crafts class taking place at Isaac Davidson Hebrew School. L-R (clockwise) 1. Unidentified 2. Selig Wolfe 3. Herbert (Herbie) Sachs 4. Mrs. Pomerantz (Teahcer) 5. Jack Maniloff, 6. unidentified 7. Barbara Schoefer 8. Marcia Radin 9. unidentified 10. Joel Sinsky 11. unidentified 12. Larry Wolf 13. unidentified 14. unidentified 15. Myron Blum

Special thanks to: Toba Falk, Larry Wolf, Sharon Rose

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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