From Side Shows to Spooky Seances

Posted on October 5th, 2018 by

Museum Matters: October 2018

October is the midpoint in our run of Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini and our programming has reached a feverish peak. We have something new to offer every Sunday this month all leading up to the big Halloween week.

We’ve even been researching JMM’s own vaults to find the “magic” hidden within, which led us to “A Little Magic from the Collections,” which is being installed today in our feature exhibit alcove, and will remain on display through Halloween.

Perhaps most magical of all – this month includes two free days. On October 21st we participate in Free Fall Baltimore and the entire Museum is free, including our 1pm program with Ken Trombley, Capturing Houdini. On October 7th the Lloyd Street Synagogue is available to the public all day (with docents, but no formal tours) as part of Doors Open Baltimore. (The Museum and our 1pm program with James Taylor will still have regular admission on the 7th, however.)

All this provides those of you who have seen the Houdini exhibit a good excuse to return (and bring a friend). And for those procrastinators who haven’t made it yet, don’t miss out on the best month to see the show!


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.


Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 1pm

Street Show, Sideshow, Stage Show:
Novelty & Variety Entertainment and its Spread
Speaker: James Taylor
Reserve Seats Now

Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 1pm

Magic and Monotheism
Speaker: Jonathan Dauber, Yeshiva University
Reserve Seats Now

Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 1pm

Free Fall Baltimore!
Capturing Houdini
Speaker: Ken Trombley
Reserve Seats Now

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Family Day!
Houdini’s Magical Halloween
Reserve Seats Now

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Official Houdini Sceance
Tickets: $50 ($25 for Museum Members)
Please note seating is extremely limited for this event.

Esther’s Place

Have you explored our Shabbat items recently?

We have many lovely, unique pieces guaranteed to make your Shabbat or holiday beautiful and meaningful. From embroidered challah covers to modern or contemporary candlestick sets, striking Kiddush cups to elegant Havdalah sets to a selection of glass and wood Shabbat trays. Our Shabbat candles—which come in a variety of color styles—make the perfect table addition or gift.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Highlights from the 2018 Summer Teachers Institute

Posted on August 17th, 2018 by

A shorter version of this post was shared via our JMM Insights e-newsletter on August 16, 2018. To read past editions of JMM insights, click here. To read other posts by Ilene Dackman-Alon, click here.

Last week, August 6-8, the 2018 Summer Teachers Institute celebrated a milestone, it’s “bar/bat mitzvah” year, in that for the past 13 years, a community of learners have come together to learn about best practices in teaching Holocaust education.  This year 30 teachers from public, private and parochial schools along with a few JMM Board members, staff, volunteers and interns attended the 3-day professional development opportunity.

This year’s program, Lessons of the Shoah: Primary Sources for the Classroom, provided participants with new ideas as well as new program and education resources to help make Holocaust Education more meaningful for students. The following are program highlights:

Day 1

Our first day convened at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  Howard Libit of the Baltimore Jewish Council and Marvin Pinkert, JMM Executive Director gave welcoming remarks to the group. Mary Johnson of Facing History & Ourselves opened the program and asked participants to think about the 1st anniversary of the white supremist rally in Charlottesville, VA.  She posed the question; how do we discuss this event with our students and how do we teach our students not to be apathetic and to be engaged in the conversation?  The topic was a natural segue to Mary’s presentation about the rise of Nazism during the 1920-30s.    Mary spoke about Doris Bergen’s Four Stages of the Holocaust and gave the teachers suggested readings to take back to the classroom from the Facing History curriculum.   The teachers participated in classroom activities to illustrate the four stages.

Following the break, the teachers heard survivor testimony from Mr. Herbert Hane, who shared his experiences growing up in Adolf Hitler’s Germany.  After lunch, we focused our learning on the thousands of people trying to leave Europe during the rise of Hitler and Nazism.   The teachers watched the JMM’s short documentary, Lives Lost: Lives Found: Baltimore’s German Jewish Refugees 1933-1945 and learned about the exhibition that uncovered the stories of more than 3000 Jewish refugees that were able to make a new home for themselves in Baltimore with the assistance of many local Jewish residents.  The teachers also participated in an archival exploration activity that is a popular resource for classroom teachers in helping students use more critical and analytical skills. At the end of the day, each teacher received a copy of the JMM’s 2017 publication, Holocaust Memory Reconstruction Project.

Lives Lost: Lives Found Archival Exploration, JMM L2003.63.3 courtesy of Rudolph Cohen.

Day 2

We spent our second day in Washington, DC at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition to viewing the permanent exhibits, we also were able to tour a new exhibit, Americans and the Holocaust.  The exhibit examines the motives, pressures and fears that shaped American attitudes and responses to the threats of Nazism and Hitler’s regime during the 1930’s and 1940’s.

The exhibit reveals how much information was available to Americans at the time and asks why rescuing Jews did not become a priority, except for a few individuals who took the risk to help.  The afternoon presentation by USHMM scholar, Rebecca Erbelding, focused on an on-line resource created as a companion to the exhibition.  Dr. Erbelding demonstrated many valuable features of the website which includes a vast array of educational resources.

Afternoon session with Dr. Rebecca Erbelding.

Day 3

Day Three took place at Towson University/Baltimore Hebrew Institute, with Dr. Hana Bor, Peggy Meyerhoff Pearlstone Professor sharing her research findings on The Impact of the Summer Teachers Institute: Teaching and Understanding the Holocaust.

Following the presentation, the participants toured the exhibition, Vergissmeinnicht – Forget Me Not on display in the Cook Library at Towson. The exhibit highlights the lives of 25 children that grew up in the Franconia area of Germany.

Ashley Todd Diaz- Head of Special Collections and Joyce Garczynski, University librarian gave an overview of the exhibit to the teachers.  Teachers were able to try out the sample lessons on iPads in connection with the exhibit.    Dr. Fred Katz, who is featured in the exhibit, spoke to the group of his experiences growing up in Germany but also about his later work as an author and sociologist. After lunch, the teachers headed to the University’s Special Collections and Archives.   Elaine Mael and Ashley Todd Diaz gave the teachers a presentation about the rich holdings that are available at the library in Holocaust education.

The day concluded with Goucher College professor, Dr. Uta Larkey giving a presentation, Working with Film in Holocaust Education.  Participants watched the Oscar winning film Toyland.

Each day of the Summer Teachers Institute, the teachers and participants submitted evaluations.  We were delighted by the responses and feedback we received from teachers. Comments such as, “very in-depth discussion of the 4 phases of the Nazism and the Holocaust.  Love the chronology activity with the anti-Jewish laws on notecards. Mary is very engaging and makes people think!  I loved that she modeled exactly how we could teach in our classroom.” “Mr. Hane’s story is spellbinding! A truly amazing man!”  “Some things I knew, but so much more I had no idea was going on in America, Great resource to know about!”  “Fabulous.  I’m so excited to bring this to my school. I’m sure our history teachers will use this exhibit too.”  These remarks demonstrate the extent to which our Summer Teachers Institute provides a high-quality educational experience for teachers.

Because our Summer Teachers Institute meets the qualifications of both the Maryland State Department of Education as well as Baltimore City Public Schools for high quality professional development (to qualify, we need to submit an application for review), we can offer participants professional development credit.  To be eligible for the credit, teachers must turn in a written reflection (for MSDE credit) as well as an implementation plan (i.e. lesson plan, for Baltimore City).  These reflections and teaching plans provide another measure for assessing programmatic impact for teachers and which resources they plan on using.  It was gratifying to learn from this year’s submissions that teachers plan on integrating content from each session as well and many of the websites, books and lesson plans they received.  Evaluation and reflections also provide important feedback as we plan for next year’s program.

We are grateful to our program partners: Baltimore Jewish Council, Towson University, the Louise D. and Morton J. Macks Center for Jewish Education and MSDE for their help in planning this year’s program. We are also grateful to our program funders, Judy and Jerry Macks and Family and the Joan and Joseph Klein, Jr., Foundation for enabling us to reach out to such a such a diverse group of educators and provide them with valuable classroom resources.

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The Tale End of the Year

Posted on August 3rd, 2018 by

Museum Matters, August 2018

I write to you smack in the middle between the end of our fiscal year (June 30) and the end of the Hebrew calendar year (September 8). This is typically a time of introspection – what have we accomplished? who have we touched? who has enabled our success? what work remains unfinished?

It is fitting that this is also the time of year when we publish our annual report to the community.  Members – your copy should arrive in your mailbox shortly.* Each year we set a theme for the report; this year’s theme is “storytelling,” a fundamental part of JMM’s identity.

Some of these stories should be very familiar to you – they are about YOU, as visitors, members, donors and volunteers. But my best guess is that if you read the report cover-to-cover you will find at least one or two stories that will surprise you.

That’s why I want to encourage you to not only read the report but pass it on to a friend. If you don’t want to part with your physical copy (it really is beautiful!), you can direct your friends to our website.

Have a great finish to your summer.


*Not a member? Join Now!

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.


August 6 – August 8, 2018

Summer Teachers Institute 2018
Lessons of the Shoah: Primary Sources in the Classroom
August 6 – August 8, 2018
Register Here

Welcome to the land of freedom – An ocean steamer passing the Statue of Liberty: Scene on the steerage deck / from a sketch by a staff artist. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

American Immigration During Houdini’s Day, 1878-1924
Sunday, August 19, 2018 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Dr. Nicholas Fessenden, Baltimore Immigration Museum
Get Tickets Now

Special FREE Preview Screening

Operation Finale
Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 7:00pm

Book signing after program!

My Shtetl Baltimore
Sunday, August 26, 2018 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Eli Schlossberg, author of ​My Shtetl Baltimore
Get Tickets Now


Book signing after program!

The Pursuit of Conjurors
Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Ian Flinn, author of Conjuring Curiosity
Get Tickets 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  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit or check out BIYA on Facebook.

Esther’s Place

At Esther’s Place, we have some beautiful and thought-provoking new products to inspire reflection as the fall holiday season approaches. Explore your intellectual side with challenging new reads such as A Rich Brew: How Cafés Created Modern Jewish Culture and Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City.

Enjoy our evolving holiday Judaica displays as they roll out over the next month. Or support art and social justice initiatives with the purchase of one of our new, Humanitarian Mezuzahs by The Human Element Project; each unique painted art piece honors a Holocaust survivor.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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