Collaboration is Key at Esther’s Place

Posted on June 11th, 2018 by

A blog post by JMM Office Manager and Shop Assistant Jessica Konigsberg. For more posts from Jessica, click HERE.

One of my favorite comments from Gift Shop visitors is the observation that the Shop is ever-changing and dynamic with something new to see whether you visit once a year or once a month. I take pride in this feedback because there is much behind-the-scenes work that goes into our changing displays and merchandise.

Much of this effort is led by JMM’s Deputy Director Tracie Guy-Decker, who works hard to develop new custom products, meet with vendors, and develop creative merchandising ideas such as our “But First, Coffee” sale. But so much of the day-to-day rearranging and creative merchandising is done by our wonderful Esther’s Place volunteers. They are the ones who help me create new displays, and tackle daunting organizational projects such as fixing inventory issues and re-arranging boxes and merchandise in shop storage.

In honor of JMM’s upcoming annual volunteer appreciation event, I couldn’t resist sharing some of our Shop volunteers’ projects and achievements. Here are some of the highlights:

New Non-Kosher Mezuzah Scrolls

Long-time Esther’s Place volunteer Maxine Cohen recently took on the re-design of our free, non-kosher, mezuzah scrolls.

Maxine designed a computer template that could be easily printed double-sided so that both sides of the parchment are featured. She also came up with the idea to print the scrolls on yellow, parchment-style paper—giving them a more authentic, nicer look. These scrolls are also smaller and fit better into our smaller mezuzot. (Note, we also offer beautiful kosher parchments for $36.)

New and Changing Displays

In addition to our new scrolls, we also have many new mezuzot in the Gift Shop and volunteer Robin Kaplan has played an integral roll in merchandising these new items. Whatever your price point and personal tastes, I’m sure we can find the perfect mezuzah for you and this is all thanks to the volunteers who help me keep up with the constant flow of new inventory.

Volunteer Laraine Fisher also helped merchandise this display, adding our new selection of tallit clips, while former volunteer Doreen Eisenberg lent a hand to our display of anodized mezuzot.

Robin also helped develop our Shavuot display a few weeks ago, somehow maximizing the small amount of shop real estate available (no easy feat!) during this busy time when our Amending America exhibit merchandise was also on display.

Robin also merchandised our new supply of greeting cards.

Public Programs

Volunteer Rachel Jablon ran the Gift Shop during one of our busiest public programs of the year so far: the launch of new book On Middle Ground. At that program we sold over 40 copies of the book. Also, Rachel frequently gives the most detailed and thoughtful explanations of the various books and Judaica on sale for our inquiring customers.

Shop Administration

Volunteers Laraine Fisher and Jacob Davenport help with much of the attention to detail and day-to-day organization of Esther’s Place—everything from refining shop systems and inventories and managing records to keeping our display supplies organized and accessible to both myself and our program/education staff.

Laraine also recently updated our children’s reading corner to feature our book titles for little artists and makers.

At Esther’s Place, we are here to share in your excitement and discovery as you experience the Museum, to help spark your curiosity in Judaism and Jewish history, and to help you find beautiful and special mementos of your visit. I simply could not work towards these goals without the Esther’s Place volunteers – thank you!

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Better Than Chocolate: Museum Matters May 2018

Posted on May 4th, 2018 by

Just ten days until Mother’s Day and I know that many of you are still looking for that last minute gift (and many of you are hinting to spouses or kids what might make a nice treat). But before you jump to that high caloric alternative, let me suggest what JMM has to offer.

First, we have great programs by (and about) distinguished women…like your mother. There are still tickets available for Sunday’s discussion of “Justice and Faith” with Judge Chaya Friedman. It’s also not too early to make a reservation for our Annual Meeting on May 17th, featuring a pair of biographers of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. You can pick up a signed copy of My Own Words for your mother and I Dissent for your kids.

But if you can’t make the programs maybe you just want to come down to see Amending America before it moves on at the end of the month. Trivia note: President Wilson proclaimed the first Mother’s Day in May 1914, six years before the 19th Amendment was ratified giving women the right to vote – perhaps a more tangible way to honor his mother. We will be open on Mother’s Day and both the Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend, but don’t try to visit on Sunday/Monday of May 20/21 as we close up shop for Shavuot.

Finally, if you need something you can wrap, stop by the shop – we have books for kids to illustrate called “Amazing Mom” and “Grandma is a Superhero” (and you can get a jumpstart on Father’s Day with “Dad Can Do Anything”); every type of Mah Jongg merchandise you can imagine (except actual Mah Jongg sets); and I’m delighted to report that last month’s sell-out book The Woman’s Hour by Elaine Weiss is back in stock. You can always put a piece of chocolate on top of the wrapping.

~Marvin


Upcoming programs
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact our Programs Manager at tattwood@jewishmuseummd.org / 443-873-5177 with any questions or for more information.

MAY

Sunday, May 6th

The Intersection Between Justice and Faith
Sunday, May 6th at 1:00pm
Speaker: Judge Karen “Chaya” Friedman
Get Tickets Now (JMM Members, reserve your seats)

Wednesday, May 9th

Myth vs. Reality:
The Maryland Jew Bill in Historical Context
Wednesday, May 9th at 7:00pm
Speaker: Author Dr. Eric Goldstein
Get Tickets Now (JMM Members, reserve your seats)

Thursday, May 17th

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Across the Generations
JMM 2018 Annual Meeting
Thursday, May 17th at 6:30pm
Samuel Boltansky Memorial Keynote Speakers:
Authors Mary Hartnett and Debbie Levy
FREE – Register to Reserve Your Seats

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

Wednesday, May 23rd

Americans and the Nazi Threat: What Did Marylanders Know?
Wednesday, May 23rd at 7:00pm
Location: Gordon Center for Performing Arts
3506 Gwynnbrook Ave, Owings Mills, MD   21117

While media around the United States provided frequent and vivid accounts of rising Nazi brutality in Europe, Americans tended to focus inward in the 1930–40s. Step back in time with Museum and local experts to explore headlines and artifacts from that time period, including news articles from around Maryland unearthed by volunteer citizen historians.

Sunday, May 6th

Sefardi Kirtan: Devotional Song
Creative Alliance at B’nai Israel
Sunday, May 6th at 4:30pm
Location: B’nai Israel Synagogue
Get Tickets Now


Esther’s Place

Mother’s Day is coming!

Celebrate your Mom, Mama, Ema, Mommy, Grandma, Bubby, or Nana with a gift from Esther’s Place. From mom-themed mugs and activity books to photo frames to jewelry and more, Esther’s Place can help you make Sunday, May 13 just right for the special mother in your life.

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Celebrate Upstanders at Esther’s Place!

Posted on April 27th, 2018 by

A blog post by JMM Office Manager and Shop Assistant Jessica Konigsberg. For more posts from Jessica, click HERE.

At Esther’s Place (JMM’s Gift Shop), we love “upstanders” (defined by Oxford Dictionary as “a person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause,” commonly understood as the opposite of “bystander”). At Esther’s Place, we celebrate courageous civic engagement in everything from books about daring rescues and escapes during the Holocaust to our beautiful and inspiring See America products that recognize the beginnings of the Jewish community in Baltimore and the strength of those who worked to build, organize, and fight for equal rights for the Baltimore Jewish community.

From the exhibit: “The Constitution is a sacred document…Over the years, we have tried to make it more and more inclusive. We cannot turn back.” -John Lewis, 2006

So naturally, we were excited to celebrate JMM’s latest exhibit, Amending America, in the Gift Shop. We absolutely love our new civics titles that tell important stories of real-life upstanders such as Clara Lemlich, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Here are some of our favorites alongside some of the direct connections to the Amending America exhibit:

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist – by Cynthia Levinson, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.

This children’s title tells the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks who, as a nine-year-old, spoke out against Birmingham’s segregation laws, joined the pickets and was ultimately arrested and sent to jail.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark – by Debbie Levy, Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley.

This children’s book is a delightful history of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s long history of speaking her mind, using her voice, and dissenting to the discrimination and prejudice she faced as a Jewish woman seeking to make her mark in the legal world. Our upcoming Annual Meeting on May 17 will be a larger exploration of Justice Ginsburg’s life and accomplishments as we hear from I Dissent author Debbie Levy and Mary Hartnett, co-author of My Own Words. Sign up to attend the program here.

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 – by Michelle Markel, illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

This children’s title chronicles the achievements of Ukrainian immigrant Clara Lemlich, addressing topics such as activism, labor rights, safe working conditions, immigration, women’s rights, and education.

This book and others can also be enjoyed in our Amending America reading corner, located in the exhibit itself.

From the exhibit: “A government is invigorated when each of us is willing to participate in shaping the future of this nation.” -Barbara Jordon, 1976

As you’re browsing our great selection of civics titles, don’t forget to check out our gorgeous children’s book about the Lloyd Street Synagogue, The Synagogue Speaks by Anita Kassof, illustrated by Jonathon Scott Fuqua.

This children’s book tells the story of the Lloyd Street Synagogue from the perspective of the synagogue itself—as it grew and moved through its career as founding Baltimore synagogue for the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, to St. John the Baptist Lithuanian Catholic Church, to synagogue for the Shomrei Mishmeres Ha Kodesh congregation, all the way to museum and educational site. Charmingly, the upstanders in this story are the many individuals who acted to keep the Synagogue building alive for the communities that it would shelter and support.

We’ve got so many great titles on display!

Our next book talk, on May 3, also celebrates upstanders as it features the story of America’s efforts to save European Jews during the Holocaust, as told by Rebecca Erbelding’s new book, Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America’s Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe.

Learn more and sign up to attend the program hereAnd don’t worry, we’ll have copies of this one in the shop for you too!

Finally, for many upstanders, coffee and sustenance are essential.

So please, visit the Gift Shop and be inspired by the civics titles available, then check out our “But first, coffee” display, where you can find a huge selection of beautiful, whimsical, and commemorative mugs (some heavily discounted!) to help kick start your civic aspirations.

 

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