Volunteer Spotlight on Barbara Ezratty!

Posted on February 8th, 2016 by

Barbara Ezratty has been volunteering at the JMM for over 11 years. She works in the Museum Shop.  She always enjoyed attending programs at the Museum and agreed to volunteer in the Shop when she was recruited by former Shop Manager, Esther Weiner.

Barbara in "Esther's Place."

Barbara in “Esther’s Place.”

Barbara grew up in Baltimore but moved to New York with her family following her junior year at Western High School.  She then moved to Puerto Rico when she married Harry Ezratty, and they lived there for 25 years.  Harry occasionally volunteers at the JMM too, as a speaker. He is currently teaching courses at CCBC in Owings Mills, one on Jewish Art and one on the Spanish Inquisition. The Ezrattys returned to Baltimore because they missed their family, who were all living in the United States. They made a list of all the places they’d like to live on the East Coast and Baltimore prevailed, with its long list of cultural events and activities; similar to New York City but on a much smaller and more affordable scale.

While in Puerto Rico, Barbara was a newspaper reporter. She concentrated on the Features section first, and then transferred to the Food section, which became a weekly.  After working at the newspaper for 12 years, she started a magazine, Tables Magazine: Puerto Rico’s Guide to Great Dining.  It began as a bi-annual publication, and then tapered to annually.  She wrote it for 15 years and a version of it is still found online.  Then Barbara became a book publisher. She got her start when publishing a synagogue cookbook, next she published a cookbook for a hotel, and then for a chef.  She has also published children’s books and books that Harry has written.  She penned an oral history of Puerto Rico and published it as a book, Puerto Rico, an Oral History 1898 – 2008.

Puerto Rico: An Oral History

Puerto Rico: An Oral History

When not busy working, Barbara likes to travel. She especially likes to visit her children and grandchildren; between she and Harry they have 6 children altogether.  She is also very fond of cruising. Her very favorite journey was a re-positioning voyage, from Barcelona to Puerto Rico, for 14 days. Her calendar stays very busy with family events – from B’nai mitzvot to family reunions, all over the country.

Barbara enjoys spending time at the Museum. Being in the Shop provides her the opportunity to meet people from over the world.  She particularly likes making connections with others and playing Jewish geography. It seems to her that many New Yorkers she meets grew up near Harry and went to his same schools.  She’s met people who live near her family in California and others who have mutual friends in Puerto Rico.  She still thinks it’s funny that when Baltimore natives ask what “school” she went to – that they are referring to high school, while when others ask that, they refer to college. She appreciates the social aspects of volunteering in the Museum Shop at the JMM. While Harry may think she comes mainly to do her own shopping, she is glad to assist others with theirs too. Just the other day, she received a lovely thank you note from a friend, who she sent a museum purchased gift to. Whether buying or selling, attending lectures, or special programs and events, Barbara enjoys spending her time at the JMM.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. Every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Welcome to Esther’s Place!

Posted on January 13th, 2016 by

If I told you that someone’s retirement inspired multiple proclamations from elected officials, long-distance travel from former colleagues, a spontaneous sing-along of nearly 200 people, the naming of institutions in their honor, and open weeping from other adults, you might think I was referring to a superhero.

You’d be right.

Image shows Esther Weiner looking back towards the camera.

The incomparable Esther Weiner.

Esther Weiner has personally welcomed thousands of visitors to the Jewish Museum of Maryland over the past 23 years. People entered the Museum shop as visitors, but they left it as friends. She made sure that everyone—from Board members to first-time visitors to her fellow staff—had the best possible experience on Lloyd Street.

In my brief time at the Museum, I learned a lot from Esther. I learned about what has worked and what hasn’t in the shop. I was reminded of the right way to treat a customer. I also learned a lot about Esther’s beloved family!

Esther on left is holding a bouquet of flowers. On right Tracie Guy-Decker is holding the "esther's place" plaque.

Me presenting Esther with the plaque.

At her retirement party, Baltimore City Councilwoman (and JMM Board Member) Rochelle “Rikki” Spector read two proclamations from city officials. Her colleagues toasted her. Members of the Museum’s board praised her (and lamented what they’ll do without her). Nearly 200 people belted out a song written in her honor, “Esther” (to the tune of Paul Simon’s “Cecelia”). Marvin announced the shop’s new name “Esther’s Place,” and installed a plaque to that effect. Not least of all, Esther herself delighted her well-wishers with remarks that perfectly represented her: full of warmth and humor, recognizing everyone, and shining with love.

Esther Weiner leaves big shoes to fill in the JMM Shop Esther’s Place.

Luckily, Esther’s Place’s new manager, Tucker Hager, has large feet (metaphorically speaking).

Image of Tucker Hager standing in the museum shop.

Welcome Tucker!

Tucker brings nearly a quarter century of museum retail experience to Esther’s Place—the fifth Museum shop he’s managed. I have no doubt that Tucker will live up to the high bar for customer service that Esther left behind. I’m excited about the ways in which Tucker’s Museum experience can help us build upon the strong foundation Esther left us. Tucker is already thinking about ways to expand the offerings in the shop to enhance the mission of the Museum and the visitor experience.

See you at Esther's Place!

See you at Esther’s Place!

Stop by Esther’s Place sometime soon and help us celebrate Esther and welcome Tucker!

Tracie Guy-DeckerA 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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