Connecting Community

Posted on June 14th, 2019 by

This month’s edition of Performance Counts comes from Development Director Tracey E. Dorfmann and Office Manager Jessica Konigsberg as they introduce our newest Board Members and share some details on a year’s worth of board activities! To read past editions of Performance Counts, click here.

Welcome FY 2020 Board Members

This year we are welcoming two new board members bringing our total to 30.

We are excited that Anita Kassof will be rejoining our ranks on the board side. She is currently the Executive Director of the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Anita has served as Deputy Director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, and was the Associate Director of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Previously she co-founded Historic Jonestown, Inc., and served as a curator at the Baltimore City Life Museums and was on the founding staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

And we are thrilled to welcome Iris Krasnow, an award-winning author and journalist to the board.  This summer Iris is putting the finishing touches on a book about the lasting power of summer camps, which is due for publication in 2020. Her writing has been featured in many national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and AARP The Magazine. She has been a guest on numerous television and radio programs. Iris is also a journalism and relationship studies professor at American University in Washington, DC.

Our board now connects us to 12 different neighborhoods in Baltimore City and Maryland.  Home base neighborhoods include Locust Point, Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Mt. Washington, Roland Park/Cross Keys, Druid Hill/Bolton Hill, Remington/Hampden, Pikesville, Reisterstown, Columbia, Owings Mills, and Annapolis.

And while staff offer insight into museum operations, Board Members bring a breadth of professional experiences and community connections to the Museum.

Represented among our FY 2020 Board Members’ professional affiliations are fields ranging from medicine and health to real estate, construction, and law. Our Board Members’ backgrounds include nonprofit work and education—representing everything from cultural programming, museums, academia, to Jewish communal services. Also represented is expertise in fine art, interior design, marketing and public relations, investment banking, engineering, and public service. JMM’s Board Members serve on the Boards of local synagogues as well as on Boards and in volunteer capacities with other community organizations.

FY2019 Year in Review

The JMM board and past presidents are, as a whole, a very engaged group, active in in all aspects of JMM stewardship! Throughout the year board members participate with museum life in a myriad of ways.  Each member of our board serves on one or more committees including: Board Education, Board Nominating, Collections, Development, Finance & Auditing, Visioning, Facilities, Marketing, and the Executive Committee.  More than a third of our board members made time this year to enthusiastically welcome museum visitors, introducing films, speakers, and programs.

Public programs are not the only places you’ll see Board Members regularly lending their expertise and passion to the Museum’s daily operations. We also have four active Board Members serving on our JMM volunteer team: one welcoming visitors at the Front Desk, one leading historic synagogue tours as a Docent, one working in the Archives, and one supporting Outreach and Programs. The only volunteer-supported department currently without a Board Member volunteer is the Gift Shop (maybe in fiscal year 2020…let Jess know if you’re interested!).

In fiscal year 2019, the Board Education Committee—comprised of six Board Members and three staff members—introduced a series of Board engagement sessions designed to offer Board Members behind-the-scenes experiences and deepen Board Members’ knowledge of museum management, exhibit design, collections management, and education, connecting Board more closely with the daily projects of JMM staff.

The committee successfully launched three engagement series focused on different aspects of the Museum:

>In January, six Board Members attended the first Tuesdays with Marvin lunchtime lecture with Executive Director Marvin Pinkert, where they learned about museum management, ethics, mentors, and more.

>In March, three Board Members (including one Past President) and three eager staff members joined collections staff Joanna Church and Lorie Rombro in an exploration of purple objects from the collection—a total of nine objects including Pikesville High School cheerleading pom-poms, a Baltimore user’s guide from Jewish College Services, and a beaded handbag originally belonging to Henrietta Szold.

>In April two Board Members joined 43 seventh graders and four teachers from John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School to see JMM’s lively school programs in action—led by staff members Ilene Dackman-Alon and Paige Woodhouse. Board members joined students as they conducted research and created stories based on objects on display in the Fashion Statement exhibit, observing as students thought critically about what we can (and can’t) learn about someone based on their clothing choices. The class also experienced the Lloyd Street Synagogue through the eyes of a student learning about the Jonestown neighborhood and the immigrant community.

Already on the calendar (for Noon on September 10th) is the next Tuesdays with Marvin lecture, titled “31 Years, 80 Exhibits and a Few Lessons Learned.” The Committee is currently working on planning a neighborhood walking tour, the next object study session, and another opportunity to observe school programming in action.

In addition to the series, the committee helped make our Board Retreat possible. On November 13, 2018, at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, seventeen board members joined four staff and one facilitator (Acharai’s Beth Gansky) for a three-hour process of discovery and discourse, as we learned more about the whys, whats, hows, and how-I-loves of JMM. (Watch for another board retreat this September, tentatively scheduled for September 17th.)

Thank you to our fantastic board for their counsel and guidance in the year ahead: Robert Keehn (President), Nancy Kutler (Senior Vice President), Jeffrey Scherr (Vice President), Len Weinberg (Vice President), Jerry Macks (Treasurer), Arnold Fruman (Secretary), Duke Zimmerman (Immediate Past President), Toby Gordon, Saralynn Glass, Judy Pachino, Ira Malis, Bob Gehman, Erica Breslau, Robert Manekin, Stuart Rosenzwog, Angela Wells-Sims, Steven Hawtof, Alan Dorenfeld, Bonnie Heneson, Abe Kronsberg, Lola Hahn, Lee Rosenberg, Claire Tesh, Roberta Greenstein, Suzanne Levin-Lapides, Sheldon Bearman, Neri Cohen, Rikki Spector, Iris Krasnow, and Anita Kassof.

We are looking forward to an exciting new year together!

~Tracey & Jess

Jonestown Festival 2019

Join us Sunday, June 23rd at the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House for a day-long, neighborhood celebration!

Not yet a member – or know someone who you think should join the family? Share this link and help grow the family today!

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Museum Matters: June 2019

Posted on June 7th, 2019 by

We Get the Job Done!

This month we celebrate the contribution of immigrants from around the globe to the American story. We kick things off on June 20, by welcoming the latest group of Americans as they take their oaths of citizenship at the JMM.

The following Sunday, Hamiltunes will help us sing the praises of Alexander Hamilton, who fans of the Broadway show will know was a Jewish-educated, Caribbean immigrant. Hamiltunes, where we the people have a chance to rap the iconic musical, is the centerpiece of this year’s Jonestown Festival. This year the festival is being held at the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, just a short walk from JMM. It’s a great way to share your pride in America’s immigrant roots with your whole family.

We finish the month with stories of refugees – both those of the Holocaust period, and those who are coming to America today.

Don’t throw away your shot. Come join us in June.


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 Jonestown Festival

Hamilton Comes to Jonestown
Sunday, June 23, 2019


Creating Our American Story
Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 6:30pm
Speakers: Senai Abella Obang and Hari Maya Dhamala
Get Tickets

Talk & Screening

Stories of Survival: Schindler’s List
Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Lola Hahn
Film Screening at 2:45pm
Get Tickets

>>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  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit or check out BIYA on Facebook.

Esther’s Place

The warm weather is here and at Esther’s Place, we’re ready to celebrate June traditions that bring people together—everything from Shavuot to Father’s Day to Pride Month, HONFest, and JMM summer programming. As you’re planning summer get-togethers and outdoor trips, we hope you’ll visit Esther’s Place Shop to check out our selection of festive tabletop items, great reads, and JMM “fashion statements.”


Exhibits on display include Fashion Statement, Stitching History from the Holocaust, Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks.

Hours and Tour Times

Combination tours of the 1845 Lloyd Street Synagogue and the 1876 Synagogue Building now home to B’nai Israel are offered: Sunday through Thursday at 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm and 3:00pm.

Click Here for complete hours and tour times


Make it official! Become a Member of the JMM.
Learn More about membership.
Already ready? Join Here.

Get Involved

The JMM is always looking for volunteers!
Click Here to learn more.

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JMM Insights: Recovery & Renewal

Posted on May 17th, 2019 by

This month’s edition of JMM Insights comes from Program Manager Trillion Attwood, as she shares a look at the development of our newest program series, Recovery & Renewal: The Immigration Experience. Missed any previous editions of JMM Insights? You can catch up here!

This Sunday, May 19th at 1:00 pm, we open a new series of programs in partnership with Baltimore Hebrew Congregation with generous support from the Lois Rosenfield Caring Fund of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

The series, titled Recovery & Renewal: The Immigration Experience, has been in development since 2018 and is inspired by our current exhibit Stitching History from the Holocaust. This exhibit, on loan from the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, explores the attempts made by one woman and her husband to escape from Nazi persecution and find refuge in America. The exhibit reminds viewers that the staggering loss of life during the Holocaust denied the world not merely of millions of human beings, but of the potential achievements of those individuals—whether artistic, scientific, political, philosophical, or otherwise.

At the JMM we use programming to add to the conversations that are started within our exhibits. In the case of Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini we decided to explore in greater detail subjects such as Houdini’s wife Bess, his time in Hollywood, and his place in Vaudeville history.

As we began to think about programing to accompany Stitching History from the Holocaust, and the national debate surrounding immigration was increasingly noisy, impassioned, and complicated, we saw an opportunity. We decided to use our programming to not just explore the past, but also explore how the lessons that were learned (or at least should have been learned) during the Holocaust– apply to our current situation.

Much of the current political rhetoric around immigration mirrors that of the 1930s and 1940s. For example, the way in which individuals’ religion was perceived to be indicative of their potential negative impact upon society, or the way in which individuals, regardless of religion, were denied access to safe havens despite facing intolerable and dangerous conditions in their homes.

As we explored our options in this vein, we learned that Baltimore Hebrew Congregation was also looking to explore similar themes. This led to a collaboration and the development of this series. Both the Museum and Baltimore Hebrew wanted a series that was easily accessible and would explore both the history of the Holocaust and contemporary stories of immigration.

We hope this series will encourage greater understanding and empathy for those who are trying to enter our country today, while dispelling some of the myths and misinformation within some political rhetoric. By encouraging visitors to act now, we hope to avoid future generations having to ask the same questions: What could have been? What achievements were lost?

The generous funding provided by the Lois Rosenfield Caring Fund to support this series means we are able to offer additional features for the series’ programs. All the presentations will be followed by a light reception, during which we will continue to discuss the themes explored within the presentations. We will take time to really reflect upon what we have heard and think about how we might best be able to apply the lessons learned to the current immigration situation and our own lives.

Additionally, a free bus will be offered from Baltimore Hebrew Congregation to the JMM for all programs — you don’t have to worry about finding parking downtown. This bus is available for anyone attending the programs, not just Baltimore Hebrew Congregation members!

This is certain to be an excellent, thought provoking, and inspiring series. Please join us for one or more of the upcoming programs – I would especially encourage you to try to attend one from each era of immigration explored.

You can find a full list of the programs in this series which are taking place both at the JMM and Baltimore Hebrew Congregation here.

Above images of immigration selected from the collections of the Jewish Museum of Maryland.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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