Performance Counts October 2013

Posted on October 18th, 2013 by

A Token of Our Appreciation

A special treat!

A special treat!

If you were among the guests at Saturday members’ preview for Passages through the Fire:  Jews and the Civil War, you walked away with a replica of a sutler’s token from Lazarus Goldheim, a Baltimore-born merchant assigned to J.E.B. Stuart’s 1st Virginia Cavalry.  To be more precise you walked away with an “improvement” on the sutler’s token – since this one was large enough to read AND it was made of chocolate!  The token was a fitting symbol for our opening weekend, as we took the powerful story of the Jewish experience in the Civil War and made enhancements that made the topic, the exhibit and our greatest Civil War artifact, the Lloyd Street Synagogue, more accessible to the public.

Marvin gives the inaugural "1861" Tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Marvin gives the inaugural “1861″ Tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

In this issue of Performance Counts, I have asked my colleagues to share some of the details about our very successful launch of the project.   But before we get to what we accomplished, I want to offer my own “token of appreciation” to those who provided the financial support that enabled every aspect of the project – from shipping the artifacts, to developing new Maryland content, to creating family activities and school group curricula to the opening events themselves.  First on my list of thank yous is Barbara Katz who not only provided her personal support to the exhibit through the Morris Schapiro and Family Foundation, but also led the charge in encouraging the generosity of others.  Our lead gifts came from Willard and Lillian Hackerman/Whiting Turner and the Middendorf Foundation.  Major funding was also provided by the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, Richard and Rosalee C. Davison Foundation, the Eliasberg Family Foundation and the Gottesman Fund.  Additional funding came from the Lois and Irving Blum Foundation, Stiles Colwill, the Miller Family Gift Fund, Nancy Kohn Rabin and the Joseph Smelkinson Foundation. As the cavalry needed it’s sutler for all its essential supplies, we relied on this exceptional group of philanthropists to achieve our “battlefield” objective.

~Marvin Pinkert, Executive Director


Opening Highlights

The 2nd South Carolina String Band

The 2nd South Carolina String Band

The opening of Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War came in two parts. At our special members’ preview on Saturday night, we enjoyed the music of the 2nd South Carolina String Band, a band of musical re-enactors. They played throughout the night which helped set the mood. To enhance the evening refreshments included Civil War-era punch, which was enjoyed by all. In addition, two students from the Baltimore School for the Arts attended in period costume which enhanced the event ambiance.

Baltimore School for the Arts Students

Baltimore School for the Arts Students

Jonathan Karp

Jonathan Karp

On Sunday we launched the exhibit’s public opening. The highlight of the day was a talk by Jonathan Karp who travelled from New York. As one of the exhibition’s curators, Jonathan provided fascinating insights on the development of the exhibit. We also welcomed two Civil War re-enactors, who came in full dress. They enjoyed talking to visitors about the different elements and significance of the details of their outfits.

Interacting with a re-enactor!

Interacting with a re-enactor!

Opening By the Numbers

Exploring the exhibit

Exploring the exhibit

Saturday evening attendance: 105 members and guests

Sunday public opening attendance: 91 people

Total attendance for both days: 196

Total Admission from Sunday: $335

Zip Code most represented in our attendance log: 21208

Karen gives a special Curator's Tour

Karen gives a special Curator’s Tour

Attendance Observation

An activity station

An activity station

Our members came out in large numbers for Sunday’s opening which was also heavily attended by non-members who had previously visited the JMM. This reflects positively on the Museum’s marketing efforts with our membership and with the public in general about the opening. Our tag line “explore the Civil War you never knew” seems to have successfully appealed to people who were enticed to visit on opening day.  In addition to the new exhibit, members and individuals who had previously visited were excited to have the opportunity to hear Jonathan Karp speak as well as follow on the 1861 synagogue tour. We were also delighted to see family groups in attendance and children had a wonderful time interacting with the educational stations set up in the exhibit.

Our stereo-graph activity station

Our stereo-graph activity station

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

JMM Insights – October 2013

Posted on October 11th, 2013 by

With our newest exhibition, Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War opening this weekend, we have heard from many Marylanders who have family connections to the Civil War. Through extensive research, some have assembled detailed family trees and fascinating documents that highlight their ancestors’ roles during the war. This week’s issue of JMM Insights focuses on genealogy and the variety of resources available at the JMM to assist individuals as they embark on family history research.

Research Requests

Each month the JMM receives dozens of requests by phone and email from individuals looking for all kinds of information about their families. The most common requests come from individuals from all over the country seeking the location of a relative’s (who lived in Baltimore) gravesite or date of birth or death. Sometimes people have detailed information about the relative in question but need just one final piece of information to complete their family tree. Other requests involve more extensive research when they have limited information but hope that we can help steer them in the right path towards learning more about their family’s history. Genealogical research is very much like trying to solve a mystery and it is often fascinating following the trail of clues from one source to another. Unfortunately we are not always able to find the specific information that the researcher is seeking but more often than not, we are able to provide them some assistance or to refer them somewhere else where they might be able to find what they are looking for.


Family History Resource Page

Family History Resource Page

Thanks to the assistance of many JMM staff and volunteers who have worked for years compiling valuable databases that are essential for genealogy, the JMM has a variety of resources available for researchers. Many of these are available on our website ( For example, indexed databases for cemeteries located throughout the state include the names of individuals buried at that site, along with the date of death of the individual in question, and the section in the cemetery in which the person is buried. This information is essential for people looking to find specific gravesites as so many cemeteries are large and encompass multiple congregational plots.  Other records that are used frequently to assist individuals looking for information about dates of death and location of burial are the Jack Lewis Funeral Home records (1924-1939 and 1956-1965)and the Baltimore Jewish Times obituaries.

People who want to conduct more extensive genealogical research can make an appointment to visit our library to look through our resources which also include bound editions of the Baltimore Jewish Times, census records, city directories and passenger manifest lists of ships from Europe that brought immigrants to the Port of Baltimore. We also serve as a repository for people who have compiled family trees and these are available for researchers, as well. Further resources include a database of Baltimore’s religious personnel, Yizkhor (Memorial) books of East European towns, and circumcision, midwife, and marriage records of individual Baltimore-area mohels, midwives and rabbis.

The JMM also maintains a list of referrals for researchers when we do not have the resources that they need to complete their searches.

Volunteer Assistance

As many of you are aware, several months ago, in order to balance the JMM budget, we made some difficult decisions that resulted in the elimination of two full-time staff positions, both of which provided valuable assistance to researchers. While other members of the JMM staff have stepped up to ensure that we are still able to provide access to our collections for researchers, we have also found two outstanding new volunteers who have taken on the task of working directly with researchers.

Edie speaking to a group from the Jewish Genealogical Society of MD.

Edie speaking to a group from the Jewish Genealogical Society of MD.

Edie Shlian began volunteering in July. Edie has extensive experience conducting research into her own family’s history and in the few months that she has been here, she has provided invaluable assistance handling genealogy-related requests. Edie has become quite familiar with our resources and has had some wonderful successes tracking down vital information for researchers. Genealogy is truly a passion for Edie and we are fortunate to have found someone so dedicated to providing assistance on behalf of the JMM.

John Sondheim is a member of the JMM Collections Committee. A retired librarian from the Enoch Pratt Library John has extensive knowledge about local Jewish history. John is working with senior collections manager Jobi Zink to provide assistance to students, scholars and museum professionals who are interested in conducting research in our collections. Thanks to John’s hard work and dedication, we have been able to keep our library open regularly for research appointments.

We are most appreciative of the work that Edie, John, and the many other volunteers who work in our library perform as they compile genealogical databases, scan photographs, identify people in photographs, organize our vertical files, transcribe oral histories and memoirs, and process archival and photographic collections by creating new folders and boxes for materials. It is through their collective efforts that we are able to make our collections accessible to the public and to perform such a valuable service in connecting people to their past.

How To Make Use of JMM Resources

If you are interested in conducting research at the JMM, the first place to start is with our website. As mentioned above, many of our genealogical databases can be downloaded directly from our website. In addition, our collections database is available online ( and is the first place to start if you are looking to see if we have objects, photographs or documents that are of interest to your particular area of research.

Past Perfect Search Screen

Past Perfect Search Screen

Once you have searched through our online resources and determine that you would like to come in to research materials further, it is necessary to make an advanced appointment. Appointments can be made through the following means:

  • For collections research, call (410) 732-6400 x213 / It is helpful to provide the catalog number of particular items from the database you would like to see and a good description of the project you are working on.
  • For family history research, call (410) 732-6400 x224 /
  • For photograph reproductions, call (410)732-6400 x219 / Again, please note the catalog number and description of the photograph you would like reproduced.

Please note that messages left on by phone or email are checked by staff one-time per week and it is not always possible for someone to return your message immediately. Please try to give ample notice when you wish to make an appointment as it can take several weeks before we can accommodate your request.

One of the wonderful benefits of JMM membership is that there is no charge to make an appointment for research. For non-members there is an $8 daily fee.

Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland

We are pleased to report that the Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland has recently begun holding regular meetings for its members and that the JMM is proud to partner with this organization to make our genealogical records more accessible. The JGS of Maryland is an association of individuals in our community who are searching for their roots and growing their family trees. The group meets on a regular basis to share information, overcome “brick walls”, and to enhance knowledge and skills. The JGS of Maryland recognizes the importance of web based research and helps members identify and use the most valuable sites for Jewish genealogy.  Members of the society regularly offer lectures and workshops regarding Jewish genealogy to the community and help others interested in discovering their ancestors and their places of origin. For more information, check out their website at

Upcoming Events

Be sure to stop by the JMM this weekend as we open Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War. Our members opening takes place on Saturday, October 12 at 7:30pm followed by our opening to the public on Sunday, October 13. For more details, visit our website,

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Museum Matters June 2013

Posted on June 7th, 2013 by

The Museum World Comes to Baltimore

_RWK8225They were the largest kosher heroes I had ever seen, stretching from one end to the other of our arts tables.  But these sandwich heroes were just the forshpeis, the synagogues and exhibits were the real show at “Heroes:  Real and Imagined” – an evening event held in conjunction with the 104th meeting of the American Alliance of Museums held in Baltimore.  The event was a continuation of our partnership with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African-American History, linking their exhibit on the work of illustrator Brian Collier with our exhibit, Zap! Pow! Bam! 

_RWK8250This fabulous evening introduced 90 museum professionals from around the world to the work of the JMM.  Our guests included Ford Bell, the President of the American Alliance of Museums.  In addition to the usual tours we offered snippets of performances of our new Bessie Bluefield living history character and an opportunity for everyone to go home with a photo of themselves dressed as a hero._RWK8345

The festivities at JMM were just one small piece of our engagement with the AAM convention.  More than 5,000 museum folk were drawn to this city to share ideas with colleagues and talk about the latest developments in the field. The theme of the convention was “story telling”, a topic that was an easy fit with our museum.  In addition to Tuesday night’s party we hosted a smaller “onsite insight” event on Monday morning – using the Lloyd Street Synagogue as a case study for how what’s old can be made new again.  We looked at what had been done with the Mikveh and the Synagogue Speaks exhibit and then speculated on how technology (pinpoint audio, iPad apps or augmented reality) might reshape the future interpretation of the space.   AAM is a great place to see the latest gizmos and inventions for museums, from state-of-the-art sound systems to 3D printing.  _RWK8460

But the heart of the convention were the sessions that examine the trends and solutions that we share in common as museum enterprises.  Professional tracks for discussion ranged from “collections stewardship” and “education” to “leadership” and “financial stability”.  Demand for some sessions was so high that there were lines waiting to get in.  Not sure what significance to draw from the fact that one of the most over-subscribed sessions was entitled “Mistakes Were Made.”_RWK8208

Several members of the JMM staff volunteered as hosts at AAM and we actively participated in a lively discussion at the Council of American Jewish Museums’ breakfast on the potential for growing the market for Jewish museums.  It was a hectic three and a half days – but well worth it.


Annual Meeting

We can’t share all that we learned at AAM, but we can offer a taste of the latest thinking from last month’s convention.


Please join us for the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s Annual Meeting taking place Sunday, June 9 at 4:00pm. Our Samuel Boltansky Memorial Keynote Speaker is Philip M. Katz, Ph.D., Assistant Director of Research for the American Alliance of Museums. Dr. Katz will share the results of his research into future trends and their impact on museums through his talk “Comfy chairs and virtual dinosaurs, is this the future of museums?” JMM is very pleased to offer what promises to be a lively presentation by Dr. Katz.

At the meeting we will also vote on our FY14 slate of trustees and officers for the JMM’s Board of Trustees as well as pay tribute to retiring trustees: Larry Caplan (president), Manuele Wasserman (vice president), Barry Isaac (treasurer), Carol Sandler, and Ron Weitzman. We are most appreciative of the service of each of these individuals and for all of their work on behalf of the Museum.  We will also be presenting a Special Service Award to Dr. Barry Lever for his long service on the development team of JMM.

The slate of nominees for FY 13 to the JMM Board of Trustees is as follows:


Ira Papel, MD, President

Jeffrey Dreifuss, Vice President

Robert Keehn, MD, Vice President

Donald (Duke) Zimmerman, Vice President

JL Reischer, Treasurer

Sarah Manekin, Ph.D., Secretary

Larry Caplan, Immediate Past President


Carol Glusman

Toby Gordon, Sc.D.

Allan Hirsh III

Crystal Watkins Johansson, MD, Ph.D

Larry Kamanitz

Gary Perolman


Sheldon Bearman, MD

Robert Gehman

Saralynn Glass

Gerald Macks

Jonathan Mogol

Lindsay Thompson, Ph.D

Leonard Weinberg II


*Jennie Gates Beckman

Beth Blauer

*Jay Goldscher

*Ira Malis

Lee Rosenberg

Irene Russel

Theodore Segal, Esq.


Arnold Fruman


*Indicates new nominee


Upcoming Programs 

Please note that unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). For more information and to RSVP for specific programs, contact Rachel Cylus: (410) 732-6400 x215 / For more information on JMM events please visit


Clark Kent’s Bar Mitzvah Party

Sunday, June 16, 1-4:00pm

$5 member individuals, $10 non-member individuals

$13 member families, $18 non-member families

Superboy becomes Superman!  Celebrate the opening of the new Man of Steel movie with a coming of age party of heroic proportions.  Enjoy music, food, games, prizes and crafts to reminisce about Clark Kent’s childhood and help him have a day no one will forget.


“Through the Eye of the Needle: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz” – film screening

Tuesday, June 18, 6:30pm

This program is free and will take place at the Myerberg Senior Center

3101 Fallstaff Road, Baltimore, MD 21209 

More than 40 years after the Holocaust, Esther Nisenthal Krinitz began creating fabric collage and embroidery panels to tell her story of survival.  Esther’s daughter, Bernice Steinhardt, will screen and discuss the award winning documentary, Through the Eye of the Needle, and the book, Memories of Survival, chronicling her mother’s experiences and artwork.

Through the Eye of the Needle is a film by Nina Shapiro-Perl and is a production of Art and Remembrance.


Comic Themed Super Art Fight

Sunday, June 30, 1:00pm

Program is free with Museum admission

Super Art Fight is a mixture of live art, pro-wrestling style characters and storytelling and a dash of hilarious, improvised commentary, which makes for a show unlike anything else in the world today.  Take part in a special ZAP! POW! BAM! themed Super Art Fight.


Opening the Gates: Celebrating Gwynn Oak Amusement Park 50 Years Later

Sunday, July 7, 1:00-7:00pm

Free Admission

Taking place at Gwynn Oak Park

Honor the courageous acts of those who struggled for Civil Rights in Maryland, and especially those who in 1963 actively pursued and achieved the desegregation of Gwynn Oak Amusement Park. Entertainment includes: Motown band The Spindles, Ronnie Dove in concert, Baltimore Klezmer Band and more. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will unveil an historical marker at the site of the protests.

For more information, contact



Baltimore is fortunate to have not just one but two Jewish museum experiences within a 50 mile radius. In each month’s Museum Matters, we are pleased to share with you programs taking place at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington.

News from DC

Summer Author Talk Series: Dr. Allan Lichtman, FDR and the Jews

FDR and the Jews

Join JHSGW to learn about this fascinating new book. FDR and the Jews draws upon extensive new research to offer a portrait of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt contrasting with prevailing views about his priorities during World War II.

Thursday, June 27, Noon – 1:00 p.m.

Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum, 701 Third Street, NW (corner of Third & G Streets, NW)

To learn more and to RSVP, visit JHSGW’s website:!

Be on the lookout for JHSGW’s other summer author talks:

Wednesday, July 10, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.: Beth Kanter, Washington, DC Chef’s Table

Wednesday, August 7, Noon – 1:00 p.m.: Faye Moskowitz, And the Bridge is Love



Current exhibitsExhibits currently on display at the JMM include ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950; Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore; and The Synagogue Speaks! 


The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm. We offer tours of our historic synagogues each day at 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00.



The JMM is looking for volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or



We have officially launched our new membership program. Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families.

All members will receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street. Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or



Father’s Day is Around the Corner! The JMM Museum Shop has that Special gift for the Special Guy…

jewelry Supes Merch

Museum Members receive 10% discount on your purchase

In the JMM Museum Shop, we will gift-wrap and mail!

 Call Esther Weiner, 410-732-6400, extension 211


Subscribe to our email list to get all the latest news and updates about exciting events and programs!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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