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JMM Insights: Mother’s Day

Posted on May 8th, 2020 by

Our gift to you this Mother’s Day is a (mostly) stereotype-free celebration of mothers (both Jewish and not). Even those of us who enjoy the antics of Mrs. Maizel, her mother and mother-in-law, can recognize that those are comic exaggerations of more subtle behavioral quirks.

A great place to begin is to enjoy Pam Nadell’s book, America’s Jewish Women. Dr. Nadell, who spoke on this topic at JMM last fall, recently told us that her book is now out in paperback just in time for Mother’s Day (though we think the hardback makes an especially lovely gift).

In the meantime, we are pleased to share reflections on mom from our staff and our collections, and to offer some ideas on how to connect with your mothers on this social distancing Mother’s Day.


From the JMM collections: Picture postcard of Carrie Katy Weinberg, including child’s drawing on reverse. Gift of the Estate of Carolyn Weinberg, JMM 1991.65.3.1.

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Mother, Mom, Momma, Madre, Maman, Ma, матушка אמא,

Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, Sisters, Cousins, Family Friends …this weekend is a time to honor, remember, and celebrate the mother figures in our lives. There are lots of ways to be a mom – and even more ways to be someone’s kid. In today’s JMM Insights, we’re going to get personal, peek into the collections for some great mom-related content, and share some ideas for celebrating at home!

For Mother’s Day this year, we asked our staff to share memories, stories, and thanks for the mother-figures in their lives. We hope this might inspire you to share your memories and stories with us as well. Post as a comment on the blog, on our Facebook page or on Twitter – use the hashtag #JMMMoms so we’ll be sure to see it.

Here’s one of the stories shared by JMM archivist Lorie Rombro:

My mother has always been a wonderful mother but as a grandmother she has incredible patience for her grandchildren. Spending hours reading, playing and just being with them.  Occasionally I notice myself saying somethings that I swore I never would and when I tell her, she laughs and says “Now you understand what I went through!”

You can enjoy the rest of our JMM Mom stories here.

Pictured, left to right:

Anna Kornblatt with her daughter Rose, ca. 1907. Gift of Susan Grosser, JMM 1995.13.18. 
Bessie Rifman with her son Avrum, 1926. Gift of Ruth Rifman, JMM 1996.108.7. 
Roseline Blacher with her son Fred, 1918. Gift of Steven Blacher, JMM 2008.118.19.

Looking for a little more history in your Mother’s Day celebrations? Then you’ll definitely want to peruse our collections! Joanna took a dive into the archives to find some absolutely lovely photos to share. The 3 images here were her top picks, but we’ve got a whole lot more for you to enjoy here.

Since running out to the store for last minute flowers, gifts, and cards isn’t a great idea this year, we thought you might like a few hands-on crafting options to help make the day special!

Flowers are always a lovely gift – particularly the kind that don’t wilt! You might particularly like our recycled paper flowers project (you can find the instructions here). Or try out this paper plate flower basket, thumbprint flower bouquet, or pipe cleaner flower card.

A handmade card never goes awry – pull out your fanciest paper, markers, pens, and stickers to share a message from your heart. You could even tuck in a personalized “Notable Woman” card (find the instructions here) or maybe an original poem, like Max Heppner’s Lieve Moeder from our collections (which, if you can translate it, we’d love to know exactly what it says).

Poem by Max Heppner to his mother Irene. JMM 1995.47.27.


While a space probe may not have a human pilot, it takes a whole team of people to make one!

Try this Wondernauts activity and work together as a family to create your very own space probe. We can’t wait to see your awesome designs!


Jewish Women’s History, Class Photos, and Meaningful Objects – many of this past week’s blog posts are about looking back to the past and connecting to our present.


Don’t see something you’re interested in at the online shop? Contact Shop Manager Chris Sniezek at and let us know.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

JMM Insights: Gray in Black and White

Posted on May 1st, 2020 by

There are times we are reminded that history is nothing more (or less) than the collection of lived experience. 

Over the last six weeks our curatorial team has been gathering stories and ephemera about the responses of Maryland’s Jewish community to COVID 19 (more on this in an upcoming issue of this newsletter). But it reminds me of the effort we made to collect materials on Jewish responses to the Baltimore Uprising.

Before we closed on March 17, we had been planning the launch of a small photography exhibit of works by documentarian J.M. Giordano, marking the 5th anniversary of these events. Giordano was collaborating with fellow Baltimore photographer Devin Allen on the exhibit and JMM was partnering with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum on companion programs – you may even remember receiving a postcard about it.

While the virus stood in the way of presenting the physical exhibit here at the Museum, it has challenged us to reach a much larger audience through our digital work. I hope you will join us on May 7 for our first livestream event since the start of quarantine, when both photographers join us for a meaningful discussion.


Image from the JMM Collections: Protest sign from a march/rally/protest held on May 1, 2015 in response to the ongoing uprising/unrest in Baltimore after the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray. Rally organized by Baltimore United for Change, SEIU, and CASA. JMM K2015.2.3.


On the fifth anniversary of the Baltimore Uprising that followed Freddie Gray’s death in police custody in April 2015, the Jewish Museum of Maryland is proud to host a digital collaboration between two Baltimore photographers, J.M. Giordano and Devin Allen.

Through this collection of photographs from the Uprising, Giordano, who is white, and Allen, who is black, collaborate to shed light and insight on their fellow Baltimoreans.We invite you to explore the moving photographs captured by Giordano, along with Allen’s curatorial statement and a special introduction from Evan Serpick.

At JMM we believe that people, place, things, learning, and actions all matter.  We feel strongly that we are not just located in Baltimore, but we are also integral to the fabric of the city and the state. If we’re going to be true to that notion, we must do what we can to respond to or amplify the voices of our neighbors.

On Thursday evening, May 7, 2020, one week from today, we hope you will join us for a special live stream event with both Giordano and Allen. Presented in partnership with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, the two photographers will discuss their work, the anniversary of Gray’s death, and the lessons that still need to be learned.

This program is supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute-Baltimore.

To help support our teachers, educators, and parent (and grandparent!) facilitators, we have also created a variety of activities to help students think deeply about the photos in this exhibit and the events they depict.


Scientists, writers, adventurers, and, yes, photographers, are just some of the many explorers in our world.

Try this Wondernauts activity and see what kind of explorer you are! We can’t wait to hear what you discover.


WWe think you’ll enjoy learning a lot from some of this week’s blog posts sharing stories from different voices, like the Disability Visibility Project  and Sadie Jacobs Crockin.


Explore some of the many stories of Baltimore, from Voices of Lombard Street to Glimpses of Jewish Baltimore to the   JMM collections at Esther’s Place: Online.

Don’t see something you’re interested in at the online shop? Contact Shop Manager Chris Sniezek at and let us know.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

JMM Insights: Holocaust Remembrance

Posted on April 24th, 2020 by

I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery and death…I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come out right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again. In the meantime I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out. ~Anne Frank

On Yom HaShoah we remember a terrible tragedy, a tragedy not only for the Jewish people but for all of humanity. One might be forgiven if, at a time when our evening news consists of a recitation of contemporary instances of “confusion, misery and death” (COVID body counts, mass unemployment, racial and religious attacks), we chose to look away from the horrors of the past.

But perhaps the Yom HaShoah we need in these times is the one that honors life and “upholds ideals.” In that spirit this issue of JMM Insights links to artwork and stories of individuals who survived, and activities you can do as a family at home to bring a little joy into the world in a time of darkness.



This week in communities all over the world, people are gathering to remember the lives of those that were murdered during the Holocaust.  Yom HaShoah (also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day) was created by Israel’s Knesset (parliament) as a memorial to the 6 million Jewish people that were killed by the Nazis between 1933-1945. It falls on the 27th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

As part of our Yom HaShoah observance, JMM has created a digital gallery of our Holocaust Memory Reconstruction Project. These moving collages, created by Holocaust survivors and their families, were originally displayed during our Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity exhibit in 2017, as well as published in a book of the same name.

We invite you to explore these collages and their accompanying stories here.

Our program team has also put together a family activity pack on Becoming an Upstander, which includes a special Yom HaShoah activity.

This year, Yom HaShoah marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps. And while we may not be able to gather together in person, the Baltimore Jewish Council, JMM, and other partner agencies are committed to continuing the tradition of coming together to remember as a community. On Sunday, April 19th, BJC premiered Baltimore’s first online Yom HaShoah experience, to collectively remember and honor all of those who were lost in the Holocaust. The experience includes excerpts of video interviews with local Survivors who were liberated from the concentration camps.

You can experience this very moving and thoughtful program during this week of Holocaust Remembrance here.

Explore a small round up of additional Yom HaShoah and Holocaust Remembrance resources here.


As we think about remembrances, and stories from our past, and how the future will remember us, this Wondernauts activity, Imagine Earth Artifacts, is worth exploring! This Wondernauts activity is recommended for ages 7 and up.


Did you know it’s Volunteer Appreciation Week?

We think you’ll love these stories some of our volunteers have shared with us this week about meaningful objects in their homes!


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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