Make It A Day!

Posted on November 4th, 2016 by

Museum Matters: November 2016

We’re opening November with a triple-header – three separate events on one Sunday (and you can enjoy all three for the same basic admission fee).  In the morning – indulge your creativity at our art workshop, midday – get topical as we explore gender and medicine in a Jewish context, and in the late afternoon – go international with our special guest from the National Library of Israel.  Add a corned beef sandwich for lunch and you’ve created a feast for your brain as well as your stomach.  You can even use the breaks between programs to enhance your feast with a little shopping at Esther’s Place.  Hanukah merchandise has started to come in, so it’s not too early to pick up something special!

Be sure to look for our promotion of JMM at Strathmore’s Museum Shop-Around, November 10-13.


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



B’nai Israel, JMM 1984.045.001

B’nai Israel, JMM 1984.045.001

Sketching inside B’nai Israel Synagogue
Doodlers, Dabblers and Artists: Art-Making Workshops at the JMM
Sunday, November 6th from 10:30 am
Instructor Matthew Adelberg
Included with admission – Buy Tickets Now!
Don’t miss this final opportunity to tap your inner artist and explore a new way of looking at the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s campus and collections. All skill levels are welcome, and our instructor is experienced in teaching all age ranges so please bring your entire family for a day of relaxation and creation.

Dr. Lucille Liberles examines a young girl, JMM 1980.29.99b

Dr. Lucille Liberles examines a young girl, JMM 1980.29.99b

Our Bodies Our Health: Jewish Women’s Healing Rituals

Sunday, November 6th at 1:00 pm

Speaker Cara Rock-Singer, PhD Candidate Columbia University

Included with admission – Buy Tickets Now!

What place in 21st century life do ancient purity laws governing menstruation have? Join author Cara Rock Singer on an exploration of ways in which 21st century Jewish people (women, in particular) have increasingly turned to the use of the mikveh (ritual bath) to mark major life transitions, from menarche to menopause or fertility challenges to hysterectomies.

National Library of Israel

National Library of Israel

Curating the Past, Creating the Future

Sunday, November 6, 3:00-4:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Aviad Stollman, Head of Collections, National Library of Israel

Included with admission

Join us for an inside glimpse into the historic initiative underway in Israel – establishing the National Library of Israel.


Community Kristallnacht Commemoration

Saturday, November 12, 7:00-8:30pm

RSVP to Noah Mitchel at / 410-542-4850

Sponsored by the Baltimore Jewish Council

Location: Beth El Congregation, Gorn Chapel, 8101 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21208


The evening includes a screening of the film Memories of Kristallnacht, chronicling the experiences of six survivors of the Holocaust who lived through Kristallnacht – including a local Baltimorean.

Old School Oral History Equipment

Old School Oral History Equipment

Preserving their Voices: Stories of Holocaust Survival

Sunday, November 13th at 3:00 pm

Included with admission

Dr. Uta Larkey and Goucher University students will present projects from their class Oral Histories of Holocaust Survivors – An Experiential Approach. Projects are based upon the oral histories from Holocaust survivors of our local community—many of whom have since passed away. Join us as we hear these powerful stories of survival from our shared history, helping us to reflect upon current events today.

Following the presentation, attendees are invited to join us for light refreshments, dietary laws observed.



Jewish and Muslim Refugees in Baltimore: Connecting Past to Present

Teacher Training Workshop

Tuesday, November 15, 5:00-9:00pm

Free admission – Registration required at

Co-sponsored by Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies

Light dinner served (dietary laws observed)

Teachers will explore the history of Jewish refugees in Baltimore, discuss current debates and share experiences of Muslim refugees in Maryland, contextualized within both national and global frameworks. Representatives of local refugee organizations will offer examples and suggestions on how students can build relationships with local refugees.




Downtown Dollar Day: Healthcare Heroes

Sunday, December 4th from 10 am

Museum Admission $1

 Join us for a hands-on day at the Jewish Museum of Maryland!

First explore the skills needed to become a healthcare professional with a series of hands on activities. Try your hand at some scientific experiments, keyhole surgery and plaster cast application.

Later, learn from professional animator Eliezer Medina how to draw and ink some of your favorite cartoon characters. Recreate your favorite superheroes and hear about their Jewish roots!


Cordials, Schnapps, and L’chaims: Let thy beverage be thy medicine

Thursday, December 8th

Facilitated by Casey Yurow, Pearlstone Center

Included with Admission

Join Pearlstone Center’s Program Director, Casey Yurow,  for a multi-sensory and mind-altering evening to explore the relationship between Jews, plants, and therapeutic beverages. We’ll get to taste a variety of cordials made from the seven species of Israel – dates, figs, grapes, pomegranates, olives, wheat, and barley – and look into some historical uses of fruit, herb, and spice infused beverages in Jewish tradition and beyond. The evening will include opportunities for hands-on beverage blending for folks to take home with them.

This program is designed for participants aged 21 and over. Dietary laws will be observed. Places are limited so please book your space in advance by contacting Trillion Attwood at or call 443-873-5177.


Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing

Sunday, December 11th at 1 pm

Speaker Mike Silver author of Stars in the Ring

Included with Admission

More Jewish athletes have competed as boxers than all other professional sports combined. From 1901 to 1939, 29 Jewish boxers were recognized as world champions and nearly 200 others were ranked among the top contenders in their respective weight divisions. Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing chronicles an era when boxers named “Slapsie Maxie” Rosenbloom, Ruby Goldstein (“The Jewel of the Ghetto”), Leach Cross (“The Fighting Dentist”), Joe Bernstein (“The Pride of the Bowery”) and hundreds of other fabulous Jewish boxers literally fought their way out of poverty to become instant heroes to a generation of immigrants struggling to break out of poverty and enter the American mainstream. Author and historian Mike Silver presents this vibrant social history in an entertaining and informative presentation.


Mitzvah Day

Sunday, December 25th from 10 am

Included with Admission

 Join us for Mitzvah Day in partnership with the Jewish Volunteer Connection. Bring your family and give back to our community with thousands of other volunteers across Baltimore.


Family New Year’s Hanukkah Party

Saturday, December 31st, from 5:00 pm

Included with Admission

 Imagine yourself on December 31st.  It’s the last night of Hanukkah.  It’s the eve of a brand New Year.  It’s Newyearsikkah!!

If your family is looking for an early start to this once in a decade event, head our way.  Candle lighting, songs and activities will start at 5pm.  The countdown for our “star” drop will begin at 6:45pm with a dramatic finish 15 minutes later – just in time for New Year’s (in London, of course) and then get the kids home in bed by 8:00.

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.


Ongoing at the JMM


Exhibits currently on display include Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America (through January 16, 2017), 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 and 2:00pm.

Click Here for complete hours and tour times


Esther’s Place in a temporary space!

The Strathmore Mansion

The Strathmore Mansion

The JMM shop is going on the road! We’ll be joining 17 of our colleagues at the Strathmore Mansion’s 27th annual Museum Shop Around.  On Thursday, November 10 through Sunday, November 13, all of our great merchandise—elegant Judaica, unique gifts, and fun toys and games—will look even more amazing in the context of the fabulous Strathmore Mansion! Please come by to visit us and do some holiday shopping. When you do, you’ll support not only JMM but lots of other local and regional museums.



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.

Click Here for complete hours and tour times

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Greetings Graham: Halloween Edition

Posted on October 21st, 2016 by

No Tricks, Just Treats!

Greetings Graham,

I am always on the hunt for other worldly spirits and was looking for a new location to explore. Do you have any suggestions?

The Ghost Busters


Dear GB:

While we have not heard of our Museum campus being haunted, I would encourage you to take one of our regularly scheduled tours of our two historic synagogues, Lloyd Street Synagogue and B’nai Israel, to learn about the different congregations that worshipped there as well as to admire the beautiful architecture. On the tour, you will also be able to appreciate the building in a whole new light (with fewer dark shadows) as we have recently completed some improvements to the Lloyd Street Synagogue. We have repaired missing lamps, installed new carpeting, cleaned the cushions for the pew seats, and repainted areas that suffered scars and scuffs from wear. There is also a new mezuzah affixed to the doorpost of the synagogue. While we did not find any ghosts, we did uncover a beautiful spiritual place.

A spruced up synagogue!

A spruced up synagogue!


Greetings Graham,

In my travels around the world, I overheard you have a wonderful exhibit on Jews and Medicine.  Could you tell me a bit more about it?

The Golem

Dear TG:

Yes, we are in the last ninety days of the Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America exhibit, as the exhibit closes on January, 16, 2017! Inside the exhibit, you’ll journey through the worlds of health in the mid-20th century, from med school to the doctor’s office, hospital, lab and pharmacy-and even a trip to the gym. You will also view rarely seen historic manuscripts, experience hands-on encounters with medicine and ethics, and examine the links between traditions and contemporary practices. You may also learn some surprising facts in the exhibit. For instance, did you know that in the 20th century, Jewish nurses were expected both to learn to serve tea properly AND to sing Christmas carols! Or that in the 19th century, anyone who could afford to pay tuition could attend medical school (a high school diploma was not even needed). If you would like to find out more, please visit our website. We hope you will visit soon, and maybe you can even bring a friend or two!

Come explore Beyond Chicken Soup!

Come explore Beyond Chicken Soup!


Greetings Graham,

I am the headmaster of a wizarding school and a student of mine told me that he flew into your Museum last month to see the world premiere of Henrietta Szold’s performance. Can you tell me more about Henrietta and how can I arrange the actress to perform at my school?

Professor Dumledore

Dear PD:

We launched our newest living history character, Henrietta Szold, last month to rave reviews. Henrietta Szold, was the daughter of a rabbi who broke with the traditional role of women to become a champion of Jewish engagement. Her tenacity and courage played a vital role in the expansion of social services, medical services and the founding of the state of Israel.

Natalie Pilcher Smith as Henrietta

Natalie Pilcher Smith as Henrietta

Henrietta is eager to begin performing at schools, senior centers, synagogues and other organizations. Please contact me at 443-873-5167 or by email at to schedule your visit. The cost is $300 plus mileage per performance, but we also offer subsides for schools. If you are at the Museum you may also try and spot the bust and plaque of Henrietta!


Greetings Graham,

I’m normally pretty busy this time of year, but a few of my friends are asking of things to do in the area. I usually go drinking on Halloween itself, but do you have anything to get me in the mood the day before?

Count D

Dear CD:

We have planned our ghoulish stuff for pre-Halloween, Sunday, Oct. 30th (which is also our Free Fall Day, freaky, right?) Our special lecture will be “Collecting, Preserving and Exhibiting: Exploring the Collections of the Nation’s Medical Museum”. You never know what lurks in their basement. When you are in the Museum, check out our shop where we have some medically themed merchandise, some of which might make nice gifts for Dr. Moreau or Dr. Frankenstein or other similarly disposed physicians on your Halloween treat list.

Some perfectly spooky options for this Halloween!

Some perfectly spooky options for this Halloween!

For more creepy fun you can also stay connected to the JMM by visiting our social media pages where we are featuring the hashtag #PageFrights, which is a month long social media celebration of Halloween. And if you need a break from the radio’s endless repetition of Monster Mash – we have something for you too: The ShowTime Singers will also be offering a free after hours concert at 5pm where they will be performing songs that audiences can easily relate to – and perhaps even sing along with – like Broadway tunes, patriotic numbers and even a little rock and roll.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Modernizing the JMM: Behind the Scenes

Posted on October 14th, 2016 by

At the Jewish Museum of Maryland we are dedicated to preserving the past.  We have a great appreciation for classic artifacts.  But we are drawing the line on “antiques” when it comes to our electronic infrastructure.

Because we have grown steadily but slowly from our early days as the Jewish Historical Society, our business operations were patched together as needs arose (and budgets allowed). When we needed software to track memberships, we found one (actually, it was a module of the software we were already using to track our collections). When we wanted better software to track donations, we bought the best we could afford. When we wanted to be able to offer online ticketing, we found yet another third party software. We needed a way to process transactions at the front desk. We owned a cash register already. We made do.  As recently as a year ago, if a visitor wanted to buy their admission with a credit card, we had to send them into the Gift Shop to complete their transaction.

The net result of this patchwork process was that the Museum found itself in a situation where we had a host of solutions which all worked, but didn’t work together. When we wanted to learn more about a member or donor—so that we could make sure we were inviting them to engage in the most appropriate ways—we had to look them up in multiple places to get a full picture. In order to report on attendance data or fundraising progress or basic metrics like average revenue per visitor, JMM staff were spending a great deal of energy tabulating, calculating and second-guessing manual reports.

The new "daily sales screen"

The new “daily sales screen”

About a year ago, I began the search for a new Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system that would allow us to maintain a single “database of record.” My goal was to find a system would allow us to see an individual’s membership history, giving history, and event attendance all in the same place. I wanted to find a software that would allow us to create reports both at regular intervals and on the fly so that the management and the Board can make informed decisions about strategy and business operations.

I interviewed a number of systems. Some did a great job at tracking donations, but had weak front desk and ticketing solutions. Others were amazing ticketing solutions, but didn’t serve the membership needs. Still others did both fundraising and membership, but couldn’t help with some of our other revenue sources, such as facility rental and group sales. In the end, we found a product called Altru, produced by Blackbaud, the same company that built the CRM used by our colleagues at the Associated.

At the end of last month, Altru went live.

Altru does (almost) everything that we need, including:

– a robust system of membership tracking that will allow us to create a nuanced renewal process that provides members with opportunities to renew online;

– a comprehensive (if slightly slower) front desk operation that accommodates all of our various admissions fees, member discounts, special programs and tours;

– an e-commerce solution for tickets, memberships and gifts that integrates with our website, and for which Blackbaud maintains the security, ensuring that our customers are as safe as possible;

– a module for group sales that will allow us to track reservations, special requests, amounts owed, and even contracts;

– a point-of-sale solution for Esther’s Place that will allow members and other special categories to receive their discounts automatically (or to renew their memberships right there in the gift shop!); and

– the capability to export data in a very report-friendly way. This will allow us to overlay external data (e.g. weather or Ravens home games) with data on our admissions, membership or fundraising.

The daily events calendar

The daily events calendar

What’s more, because Altru is cloud-based, we are able to take it on the road to events where we might want to sell merchandise (e.g. the annual JCC Block Party or the upcoming Strathmore Shop Around where we’ll be selling merchandise from Esther’s Place). (Sadly, one thing it doesn’t do is online merchandise sales. We are investigating other options to allow you to browse and select Esther’s Place merchandise from home.)

We began the implementation back in May as members of a cohort of four museums and/or cultural institutions who were adopting the software at the same time. We started processing transactions through Altru in the second week of September. During those nearly five months, there were regular webinar calls and lots of homework for JMM staff. We needed to articulate our business rules and then configure the software to match those rules. The implementation required between five and fifteen staff hours per week, and we’re not done. We are still ironing out kinks, and discovering new scenarios we didn’t anticipate.

All of this time investment will pay off over the coming months and years as the JMM develops more and more (accurate) data about our extended family (members, donors, visitors).

As we continue to ferret out the bugs in the new system, we hope you’ll be patient with us—it will get so much better! If you have any questions about how Altru works, why we went with the solution we chose, or what it will allow us to do, please feel free to reach out to me about it.

Front desk volunteer Betsey Kahn poses with the new touch screen system!

Front desk volunteer Betsey Kahn poses with the new touch screen system!

In the meantime, I hope I’ll see you at the new touchscreen at our front desk!

A blog post by Associate Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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