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JMM Insights: Letters from Lloyd Street

Posted on November 22nd, 2019 by

For this month’s edition of JMM Insights, it’s time to check into Talia’s imaginary mail bag to review some real answers to fake customers. 

Hi Lloyd Street,

I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the new Scrap Yard exhibit that just opened. I’m thinking about visiting the exhibit, but I wanted to know- why is an exhibit on the scrap industry at the JMM?

~Scrappy Skeptic

Let me try to settle your doubts, Scrappy.

Our newest exhibit, Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling is well worth a visit. At its core, the exhibit is about what we value and even more importantly who we value. Four years in the making, Scrap Yard combines a look at the fascinating and rarely seen process of “harvesting” the material world with the stories of the multi-generational families that made this transformation possible. In many cases the stories of the scrap industry in the US start with immigrants who needed to find work that didn’t require much money or formal education. By the 1930s, it was estimated that 90% of scrap dealers were   Jewish immigrants, who started as peddlers, and built up a prosperous and important industry. These entrepreneurs required ingenuity and perseverance to make a living from what other people had thrown away.

We’re excited to share these stories, some of them from local Maryland families, with you and all of our guests. We’re also thrilled that the exhibit is so dynamic, with film clips, drone footage, and interactives, that there is something for everyone in your family.

Scrap Yard is open now, until April 26, 2020.

~Lloyd Street

Hello Lloyd Street,

I went to last year’s Great Jewish Bake Off and I’m still dreaming about those bakes. I had such a good time and I’m looking forward to this year’s event. Do you have any info about what the bakers will be serving up this year?

~Hungry Hana

Hello Hungry,

You’ll be pleased to hear that this year, our Great Jewish Bake Off theme is cookies! From rugelach, Mandelbrot and kikel, to out-of-season hamantaschen and tayglach – cookies are treats enjoyed by Jews for centuries.  On December 15th, our “amateur” bakers will be bringing their best and most beautiful variations on the theme of holiday cookies to share with the crowd. Make sure you get your tickets early, so that you don’t miss out on any of the delicious treats!

If you’re interested in channeling your own passion for baking, we encourage you to sign up as a baker yourself. Click here for our baker’s sign up form!

~Lloyd Street

Dear Lloyd Street:

I always enjoy coming to your Museum, and I’m looking forward to seeing the new exhibit. I really like to take my time in your galleries, so that I can read everything, but last time I visited, the gallery was full of students. They seemed to be having a lot of fun, as they rushed around counting chickens and pressing down on the baler, but it made it hard for me to absorb the information. Why are there so many kids right now?

~Focused Ferdinand

Hi Focused,

It’s true, there has been an increase in the number of school groups visiting the Museum this fall. It’s all thanks to our amazing education staff and special funding, such as from the late Suzanne Cohen, which makes us more accessible for students and teachers to visit. Through this hard work and support, we’re reaching students who may be walking into a synagogue for the first time, and teaching them stories full of empathy and compassion. It’s no wonder that they’re excited when they visit, as they participate in dynamic educational programs.

When you visited you must have spotted one of these school visits. We offer many different education programs, that connect to themes of immigration, innovation, family, and history.  These programs take place in our historic synagogues, in our Voices of Lombard Street exhibit, and in our special exhibits which rotate over the year. Our newest exhibit, Scrap Yard, has also given us the opportunity to connect history and STEM, as we work with students from public, private, Jewish, and homeschools. All programs are facilitated by our excellent museum educators who help students meaningfully interact with the exhibits.

If you want to join in the fun, or you know a student who would enjoy hands-on, active learning, contact Paige Woodhouse at or (443) 873-5167. Teachers can request a visit using our online school visit form.

~Lloyd Street

Dear Lloyd Street:

I can’t believe it’s already November, and I’m thinking about the holidays coming up! I want to do something meaningful to celebrate Thanksgiving, and I’m trying to figure out what to get everyone for Hanukkah! There’s so much to do, and not enough time to do it. Can you help me out?

~Stressed Shmuel

Hi Stressed,

We can support you in all your holiday needs, so no need to fret! First of all, have you checked out our Upstanders Initiative, in partnership with JVC? Jewish Volunteer Connection has always worked to connect folks to volunteer opportunities in their own neighborhood and they provide lots of levels of engagement. As part of our partnership, we’ve worked together to come up with five different opportunities relating to our newest exhibit, Scrap Yard, ranging from one-on-one tutoring, recycling old clothes, cleaning up green spaces, and more! We encourage you to take the stories from our Museum and turn them into action this holiday season.

As for Hanukkah shopping, you know we have that covered!

Our gift shop, Esther’s Place, always has beautiful Judaica, interesting books, and fun toys for kids to help you out. We even have new products that expand on our Scrap Yard exhibit’s themes of recycling. Plus, we’re participating in Museum Store Sunday on December 1st. Swing by the Museum anytime we’re open to check out all these goodies. Shopping at Esther’s Place isn’t just a great way to check off your gift list, it also helps support the Museum!

~Lloyd Street


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Travel the World (without leaving Baltimore)

Posted on November 8th, 2019 by

Museum Matters: November 2019

Armchair adventurers, this month’s for you – we’ll be taking you to the scrap markets of Guangzhou, China, the geniza of ancient Cairo, and even to the Statue of Liberty as seen through the eyes of Emma Lazarus (in Dr. Nadell’s program on Nov. 13). If after all that, you still have wanderlust, check out our most recent Travel Tuesday blog post, which features the diary of a 1940 trip by Grace Hecht to Mexico.

We also cover the exploits of some pretty brave people traveling in the other direction. Our Nov. 24th double feature includes both the refugees who ended up at Camp Ritchie in WWII and a new book for families about the contributions of immigrants from many nations to American life.

No matter your destination… the journey begins at JMM.


Image: Exploring the globe, Baltimore Hebrew Day School. JMM 2013.52.78.

Upcoming programs
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact our Programs Manager at / 443-873-5177 with any questions or for more information.


2019 Festival of Jewish Literature

America’s Jewish Women:
A History from Colonial Times to Today

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 7:00pm
Speaker: Dr. Pam Nadell
FREE – Reserve Your Seats Now

Secondhand Travels

Secondhand Travels of a Global Scrap Man
Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Adam Minter
Reserve Your Seats Now

Cairo to the Cloud

From Cairo to the Cloud:
The World of the Cairo Geniza

Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 6:30pm
Reserve Your Seats Now

The Ritchie Boys

The Ritchie Boys
Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Bernie Lubran
Reserve Your Seats Now

First Generation

First Generation: Trailblazing a New Life in America
Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 4:00pm
Speakers: Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace
Reserve Your Seats Now

>>View the full JMM calendar of events here.<<

Also of Interest
The JMM is pleased to share our campus with B’nai Israel Congregation. For additional information about B’nai Israel events and services for Shabbat, please visit or check out their facebook page.

Esther’s Place

Turn your holiday shopping from Oy Vey to JOY VEY with Esther’s Place! Celebrate the joys of the upcoming holiday of Chanukah and make gifting easier than ever. This year, you can find Esther’s Place at three different locations throughout the month!

As always, the shop will be open at JMM Sunday – Thursday during our regular open hours. However, you can also find us at the Strathmore Mansion Thursday, Nov. 7 through Sunday, Nov. 10 for the 30th annual Museum Shop Holiday Market (more info here) and on Sunday, Nov. 17 at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC for a one-day pop-up event (more info here)!

Wherever you decide to visit Esther’s Place, you’ll find dreidels perfect for play or display, Chanukah candles in numerous colors and styles, menorahs as unique as your holiday celebrations, and much more.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

The Ten Best Things about Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling

Posted on October 18th, 2019 by

JMM Insights: October 2019 comes traight from the top – JMM Executive Director Marvin Pinkert shares his highlights behind our newest exhibit, Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling, which opens on Sunday, October 27, 2019! Missed any previous editions of JMM Insights? You can catch up here!

I started working on our Scrap Yard exhibit more than four years ago. It opens to the public in just 10 days, so I think my excitement is understandable. But in case you’re still looking for a reason to get pumped, I thought I would share a few features that might perk your interest.

1. This is the first national traveling exhibit on the American scrap industry, an industry that came of age on the shoulders of immigrant junk peddlers of the early 20th century, grew into technologically sophisticated scrap businesses by the middle of the century and entered into global recycling in the decades preceding the millennium. It’s the story of the transformation of the families who transformed waste into useful raw material.

2. Based on an informal survey, if you are Jewish, I’ll bet you either had a relative in the scrap business or knew people who dealt with scrap. In 1930, Forbes magazine estimated that 90% of scrap dealers in America were Jewish.

3. If you or someone in your family is into BIG stuff, this exhibit is for you. We’ve got scale. Drone footage of a contemporary scrap metal yard, vintage film of ship breaking after WWI, and you can even view infrared footage of cars being swallowed whole by a shredder.

4. Speaking of scale, have you ever wondered if you’re worth your weight in gold? How about copper? This is just one more of the interactive elements that test your metal. You can also feel what it was like for peddlers to carry around a 30 lb. bag of metal or see how much strength it takes to compress a small bale of water bottles.

5. Relive a few of the most memorable moments of scrap in the movies and on TV. Remember Sanford and Son? What about the iconic car crushing scene from Goldfinger? There is also a listening station for scrap themed songs. Who knew?

6. If you like your history from primary sources, you can listen in on the true adventures of real scrap dealers at our oral history kiosks (at least they told us the adventures are true!); or explore photos in our aptly named scrapbook: or maybe encounter a profiled dealer like Morris Schapiro or Louis B. Mayer or my dad… more about that in my family biography program on January 10.

7. And that’s just one of a dozen programs lined up to accompany the exhibit. Starting with a “making of” Scrap Yard presentation by curator Zachary Levine, our plans not only include lectures by scrap historians (yes, there are experts in the history of scrap) but also family days and environmental action opportunities and on Mitzvah Day, the Disney film wall-E.

8. There are, as you might expect, some wonderful artifacts in the exhibit too: a dirt bike, disassembled into its component materials, a classic International Business Machines punch clock circa 1920 (when Watson was the name of the company’s president, not its chess program), and a board game about the virtues of scrap drives in WWII called “Get into the Scrap.”

9. Our education team was inspired to create a game of our own to use the dynamics of the scrap business to teach market economics to visiting school groups especially at the middle school and high school levels. For more information about this program and our science activities for elementary schools contact Ilene Dackman-Alon at

10. Last, but not least, I hope you’ll be excited to see one of the largest credit panels in JMM history – ok, I know this doesn’t sound as cool as the first nine, but trust me, there is a very special feeling to a project put together by a whole community – both those whose lives revolved around the industry and those who were interested in exploring a novel experience. I thank them all.

Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling is made possible, in part, through the support of our generous donors: Institute for Museum and Library Services; National Endowment For The Humanities; Boston Metals Co. in Memory of Morris Schapiro; The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries; David Berg Foundation; Baltimore Scrap: David, Larry, Ken, and Joe Simon; Liebherr; The Gershowitz Family and Gershow Recycling; Integrated Shredder Technology.

Additional support provided by: Diamond State Recycling Corporation; Arnold and Joyce Fruman; The Sandy Shapiro Charitable Fund; Sue and Jerry Kline; Deborah Zager, in loving memory of my father, Sammy Kahan, founder of Ansam Metals Corporation; Ray Aizen, Maryland Core, Inc.; Pinkert Family Foundation; Melvin A. Lipsitz Family Foundation; J. Solotken & Company; Ellen Kahan Zager and Jack Zager Philanthropic Fund; Robin Wiener and Roger Nehrer; Davis Industries; Howard Fields, in memory of my Pinkert grandad and uncles; ScrapWare Corporation; Atlantic Recycling Group; Dan Pinkert and Freddi Greenberg; Brian Shine, Manitoba Corporation; Kripke Enterprises; Neal Shapiro; Dale and Betsey Pinkert.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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