Volunteer Spotlight: Marna Walters

Posted on March 9th, 2015 by

marna picMarilyn is Marna Walter’s given name but she only uses that when signing checks. She obtained the nickname from her niece who couldn’t say Marilyn and came up with Marna as the substitute.  What we call her is dependable.  She volunteers at the JMM as a Front Desk Receptionist and can be spied at the JMM on most Sundays throughout the year.  She has been volunteering at the JMM since early 1997.  She began as a Docent for the exhibit Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities which was shown in temporary exhibition space in Owings Mills during renovations at the JMM campus on Lloyd Street.  A while after, she switched to working at the Front Desk.

Marna volunteers elsewhere in the community too.  She is a volunteer for a program her family helped initiate at then Montebello Hospital, now Kernan’s, for patients with Multiple Sclerosis.  She helps patients who spend the day at the center with their meals, playing games, exercising, Tai Chi, and just plain having fun.  One volunteer per day assists the staff with the patients when the center is open, Mondays through Thursdays.  On another day during the week, Marna volunteers at Weinberg Place in their food market.  Her original participation in the project was through her affiliation with the National Council on Jewish Women (who gave the original seed money for the program).  She mans the register and used to do all of the purchasing.  Plus, she enlisted two of JMM’s other volunteers; Ernie Silversmith and Renate Milewich to help out too.

Prior to volunteering, Marna worked as a medical technologist.  She worked at D.C. General Hospital while her husband, Paul a lawyer, was stationed in Northern Virginia, and at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.  She has lived in the same house since 1963, where she currently hosts Shabbat dinner every week for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. It’s usually a crowd of 8 – 10 people. She works every Thursday and Friday to prepare for the family.  If a family member is lucky enough to have a birthday that week they get to choose the menu. This week the menu selected by a lucky birthday girl is brisket, twice baked potatoes, cream of spinach, and sour cream coffee cake (the kind with nuts and cinnamon) for dessert.

Marna helped us celebrate at the Museum's 50th birthday a few years ago!

Marna helped us celebrate at the Museum’s 50th birthday a few years ago!

Marna’s favorite aspect of volunteering at the JMM is the rapport between the visitors, staff and volunteers.  She has had a very positive experience while volunteering with us.  She enjoys the opportunity to give advice and receive a glimpse of appreciation when she suggests just the right thing.  She loves it at the JMM and we love having her as a member of our volunteer corps.  She considers it an honor but I assure you, the honor is all ours.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

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Volunteer Spotlight on: Wendy Davis!

Posted on November 10th, 2014 by

Our volunteer Wendy Davis feels that she’s had a connection to the Jewish Museum of Maryland since her father’s early involvement in the Jewish Historical Society of Maryland.  She often thought about becoming involved herself, and as she tapered off her hours as a Speech Language Pathologist with Baltimore schools, she finally found the chance.  Her love of history was influential in her decision and she became a Docent at the JMM in the summer of 2012.

Plaque in the JMM Board Room

Plaque in the JMM Board Room, naming Wendy’s father.

Wendy’s favorite part of being a JMM docent is engaging with the visitors and learning from them.  She especially likes talking with people who have personal memories of the area and incorporating those stories into her tours.  She fondly recalls one woman who said that as a young girl she attended services in B’nai Israel and vividly remembered that the ceiling was painted blue.  While leading a gentleman from India through the Voice of Lombard Street exhibit, he was excited to share his childhood memory of watching his mother sew on the same model Singer sewing machine that is displayed in the exhibit.

Wendy gives a tour of our "Synagogue Speaks" exhibit, located in the basement of the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Wendy gives a tour of our “Synagogue Speaks” exhibit, located in the basement of the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue.

While away from the JMM Wendy loves to travel.  She is leaving on a trip to Thailand and Vietnam next week.  She likes going places that teach about different cultures and/or places with family connections.  She is a volunteer at Chizuk Amuno Congregation as a member of the gabbai team who coordinates aliyot during Shabbat and holiday services.  And, she has discovered that another benefit of retirement is that she has the time to cook new recipes and really enjoys it.  She finds new recipes online and on TV.  She’s willing to try new things but generally follows the recipe.  Her favorite cooking show is America’s Test Kitchen.

Thanks Wendy!

Thanks Wendy!

As Wendy continues as a docent at the JMM she looks forward to meeting more people from all over the world – China, India and Duluth, MN are just three places she remembers that visitors traveled from.  She says the stories she heard from each are just as exotic as the next.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Betsey Kahn

Posted on November 4th, 2013 by

It’s time to highlight another volunteer at the JMM:

Betsey

Betsey

Betsey Kahn has been a volunteer at the JMM for close to 20 years.  Her interest in the JMM came as a natural progression in her family.  Her father, Moses W. Rosenfeld was a founding member of the Jewish Historical Society.  He handled the legal work; Betsey is of the belief that he offered his services pro-Bono.  She remembers him putting in a lot of effort and the entire family became very familiar with the place.  Betsey is a long-time Baltimore Hebrew Congregation member.  She and her sister, her daughters, and her granddaughters were all confirmed at BHC.
When she first began volunteering at the JMM she worked on photo projects.  She admits it wasn’t the best fit.  So, she became a Docent, which she loved.  Unfortunately, due to mobility issues, she’s no longer able to take visitors on tours.  Now, she greets visitors and answers the telephone as a Front Desk Receptionist.
It was a particularly good fit for Betsey to act as a docent as she taught Social Studies and English to middle school students for many years.  In addition to volunteering at the JMM, Betsey volunteers twice a week in the Ophthalmology department at Sinai Hospital.  She also likes to spend time knitting and needle pointing, plus, some of her very favorite activities are cooking and entertaining as well as flower arranging.  She and a friend formed a garden club years ago, which came with the added bonus of flower arrangement lessons by her co-chairman.
Betsey has had a positive impact on the JMM in her many years of involvement.  She is often willing to answer a last-minute plea for extra volunteer shifts.  She ‘s proud to share that she contributes financially to the Museum in addition to her donating time.  She is a wonderful role model for our entire volunteer corps.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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