Shoebox Synagogues

Posted on May 4th, 2016 by

As an educator at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, my job has different facets. I give tours about the Lloyd Street Synagogue and the Jonestown neighborhood to school groups, I help create content for new exhibitions, make flyers and promotional material, and one of my favorite things, crafting. Gluing, cutting, stenciling, folding, coloring, and designing are some of the things that went into our All American Synagogue craft.

On May 1, 2016 the All American Synagogue was the first program of many to denote how different parts of the third oldest synagogue in the United States had aspects of it made in America. The All American Synagogue is in association with MADE: In America and Carroll Mansion, this years’ All American Home. The Education team brainstormed collectively as to what we could create to celebrate our All American Synagogue, the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Out of a shoebox, a jewelry box, paper, felt, stencils, and photographs printed on labels, became a diorama of a synagogue.

Examples of synagogues the Education team created

Examples of synagogues the Education team created

A lot of effort was put into creating this craft and I could not have done it without the entire Education team. Pinterest did not offer a pre-made solution so we needed to create our own. Thank you to our Programs Manager, Trillion Attwood who created the triangle pediment that went on top of our ark. Our Education Director, Ilene Dackman-Alon who found a photograph of what the murals on the ceiling of the Lloyd Street Synagogue used to look like. The photographs that I took of the stained glass windows, the Hebrew writing on the pediment, and the bricks needed to be printed and cut. Thank you to our interns, Shoshana and Leah who helped me with this task.

The Education Staff cutting out the different aspects of the synagogue

The Education Staff cutting out the different aspects of the synagogue

All of our hard work and effort was worth it this past Sunday. It was great to see families at the museum creating their own synagogues. Everybody has a different way of viewing and creating art and I believe these synagogues that our visitors created will be a long lasting memory of their time spent at the Jewish Museum of Maryland! We hope more visitors will come see our other programs associated with the All American Synagogue. On Sunday, May 29, 2016 we are having a block party called Welcome to Jonestown and on Sunday, June 26, 2016 we are having a part lecture/workshop called A Glimpse into the World of Sofer. Bell, Book, and Candle is our specialty tour that will occur every Sunday at 3 pm. Come be a history detective and we hope to see you there!

Some examples of some of the synagogues our visitors created

Some examples of some of the synagogues our visitors created

A blog post by Museum Educator Kelly Suredam. To read more posts by Kelly click HERE.

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My Family Story Project, 2016

Posted on March 17th, 2016 by

I love to visit area schools and I felt such joy over the past two weekends visiting three local religious school programs that are participating in the My Family Story project, an initiative from Beit Hatfutsot’s International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies which has been funded and supported by the Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education.  The students participating in this project have embarked on a journey to the past, an exploration of heritage, and a project that goes beyond the usual family tree.  This journey has connected students to their personal stories, their family stories and to their story within the greater story of the Jewish People.  These students are not alone in this adventure.  Students and teachers throughout the Jewish world and Israel have also been on their own family explorations and are participating in this project.

Student project

Student project

During the 1990’s, a prominent psychologist at Emory University, Dr. Marshall Duke was tasked with researching the nature of “myth and ritual in American families.”  From his research, Dr. Duke discovered that one of the most important things a family can do is to develop a strong family narrative.  There was a lot of research at the time into the dissipation of the family.  Duke  was more interested in what families could do to counteract those forces.  Dr. Duke set out to help families build and talk about their history; it proved to be quite a breakthrough.  Digging deeper in his research, Duke said, “children who have the most self-confidence have what he calls a “’strong intergenerational self”.  They know they belong to something bigger then themselves.  Leaders in other fields have found similar results, many groups use what sociologists call sense-making, the building of a narrative that explains what the group is about.

Student project

Student project

In speaking to the students from Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Bolton Street Synagogue and Beit Tikvah, these children really seem to have a sense of pride about their stories that they shared with me.  They learned about places throughout the world where their ancestors emigrated from along with stories that hopefully they will pass on to future generations. One of the students told me that one of her ancestors shared in a pail of beer with President Lincoln… How cool is that!!!

Student project

Student project

The projects will be judged at the My Family Story Exhibition that will take place on Thursday evening, April 7 at the JMM.    Projects will be judged based on a rubric in areas of,   Jewish peoplehood, depth of research, aesthetics and creativity.  The projects will be scored and two winners will be picked and sent to Beit Hatfutsot in Israel along with other projects from students participating throughout the world.  The staff at Beit Hatfutsot will pick 40 winners and those winners will receive a free trip to Israel in June and meet with the international winners who also won from their communities.

Student project

Student project

The students have been really working hard on their projects….. Hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek at some of their works in progress……..  We hope you will make your way to the JMM to see the creativity of area students and the interpretations of their family narratives.  Want to learn more about this awesome project? Contact Ilene Dackman-Alon, Director of Education; idackmanalon@jewishmuseummd.org

ileneA blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

 

 

 

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Stepping Back in Time

Posted on February 24th, 2016 by

Walking into the Krieger Schechter Day School on a dreary and snowy February day, my colleagues Trillion, Joanna and I felt as though we had traveled back in time. Students wearing poodle skirts and letter jackets roamed the halls and the sounds of rock and roll played in the background. We had come to participate in the middle school’s Learning Festival, a three-day break from normal academics when the entire student body immerses itself in the study of a specific theme through speakers, field trips and a variety of hands-on activities. This year’s theme, “The 1950s: From Prosperity to Protest”, was an especially rich topic, one that was clearly embraced by students and teachers alike.

The JMM was thrilled to be invited to participate. To help shed light on an important 1950s trend, suburbanization, we installed our traveling exhibition, Jews on the Move, which examines the history of the move of Baltimore’s Jewish community from the city to the suburbs from 1945-68. The exhibition was on view for two weeks in a hallway near Chizuk Amuno’s sanctuary where it was enjoyed by both the school community as well as by synagogue congregants.

Jews on the Move was developed as a collaborative project with The Program in Museums and Society at the Johns Hopkins University. It was originally installed in 2012 at the Johns Hopkins University. It has since been featured at many additional venues including the main branch of the Enoch Pratt Library and several synagogues.

Jews on the Move was developed as a collaborative project with The Program in Museums and Society at the Johns Hopkins University. It was originally installed in 2012 at the Johns Hopkins University. It has since been featured at many additional venues including the main branch of the Enoch Pratt Library and several synagogues.

In addition to having the exhibit on view, Trillion and I led two workshops for students during which they had an opportunity to look for photos and stories in the exhibit (bonus points for finding a 1960s photo of Chizuk Amuno!).

Students viewing the exhibit.

Students viewing the exhibit.

Students viewing the exhibit.

Students viewing the exhibit.

They then worked together in groups to review 1950s era advertisements from real estate companies that ran in the Jewish Times that tried to entice suburban home buyers. Students were asked to identify what features were highlighted to appeal to potential buyers (spacious floor plans, new and modern appliances, yards, etc) and how the use of images and typography helped make the case.

Ads like this one from the Jewish Times in 1960 appealed to families looking to move out of crowded homes in the city.

Ads like this one from the Jewish Times in 1960 appealed to families looking to move out of crowded homes in the city.

After they had analyzed their photos, students then designed their own ad for a 1950s-era suburban development that they shared with classmates.  We loved the enthusiasm with which the students tackled this assignment and were even treated to an advertising jingle and dance by one of the groups.

deborahA blog post by Deputy Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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