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JMM Insights: Just Married! Goes Digital

Posted on May 22nd, 2020 by

I just learned that a colleague is having a digital wedding next week.

I do hope they take screenshots and send them to Joanna for our COVID 19 collection. It only goes to show that there is no stopping a June bride. This week we are turning back the clock three years to reprise and expand our 2017 exhibit Just Married!

Virtual weddings sound kind of cool by the way, but I am not at all sure about virtual honeymoons.


Image: The wedding dress above was worn by four Baltimore brides in two generations! Left: Rosalee Cohen Davison, 1952; right: Charlotte Cohen Weinberg, 1954. On loan from Rosalee Cohen Davison, Charlotte Cohen Weinberg, Joanna Davison Golden, and Gwynne Weinberg. JMM L2017.12.1.

Help us plan our digital museum offerings!


The warm weather has finally arrived, and we’ve officially entered wedding season!

While these ceremonies of commitment are looking a little different these days, it’s important to remember that throughout many hardships, crises, and challenges, love does its best to find a way. From weddings in a displaced persons camp to getting married three times just to be sure to fighting for their marriage to be recognized,  Jewish Marylanders have wedding stories to share!

We invite you to explore the new digital edition of the Just Married! exhibit.

Explore the changing customs and dearly cherished family traditions seen through the Jewish Maryland weddings featured here (my absolute favorite is the two different wedding dresses that were each worn by four different brides). Maybe pick up some new trivia tidbits (did you know in the early  20th century, Maryland was a hotspot for elopements?) Discover exactly what a trousseau actually is! There are also a number of fun “extras” that weren’t included in the original exhibit sprinkled throughout – like A Little Chuppah History and the dreaded Bridesmaid Gown.

You can also take a virtual walk through of the original gallery exhibit to see how the many objects, photos, and archival documents were displayed.

Interested in some behind-the-scenes peeks? Head to these JMM intern blog posts:

>Padding and Stuffing Galore: What It Really Takes to Exhibit Textiles

>Finding My Stories at JMM

>Can’t Touch This: Voices from the Basement

> It’s the Little Things

And one bonus post from non-intern Joanna: When the Collections are NOT what they seem

But this exhibit is not just pictures of pretty dresses (though there are plenty of those!). We’ve incorporated some brain-teasing activities for your enjoyment:

>Anyone who has planned a wedding knows it can take some major switching, swapping, and sighing to perfect the seating chart – are you ready to take the challenge?

>Can you match these newlyweds to their anniversary photos? This is great practice for taking a look at some of your own family albums!

>You might also enjoy re-visiting this behind-the-scenes look at developing these two interactives.

And, of course, we’re always looking to add to our Marrying Maryland collection.

Our goal? To collect at least one photo and invitation from every Jewish wedding in Maryland, past, present, and future. You can explore previous submissions and highlights from the JMM collections, and submit your own family photos and invitations. Help us document all the wedding stories of Jewish Maryland!


An Intergenerational Conversation
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 1:00pm

The weight of the age of COVID19 has put a strain on every aspect of our lives: personal, professional, spiritual. For many of us, it’s also taking a toll on our social and racial justice commitments.

Recognizing that generation is one of the many intersectional identities affecting us right now, let’s get together as Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials for a deep dive conversation about the opportunities and obstacles for social justice work in a time of quarantine.

Register for this Live Stream Event here!

Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 3:30pm

Join us for a unique program where we will explore the stories in our collection and create stories about what is happening today through writing, drawing, and photography. This program is designed for participants aged five to ten.

Register for this Live Stream Event here!


We look at the sun rising every day.

It’s bright, it’s big, and it warms us up. Our sun gives us light, heat, and energy. A sunny day makes us happy. Our sun happens to be the brightest object in our sky and we are really curious to know more about it.

Wonder about the sun and make a suncatcher to brighten your window!


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

My Family Story- We Have a Winner!

Posted on May 18th, 2020 by

A blog post by Director of Education Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click here.

Wow, February 27, 2020 feels like a lifetime ago when over 300 people came together  to celebrate students from three area schools who participated in the My Family Story exhibit;  an international educational initiative offered by Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of Jewish People in Tel Aviv, Israel. My Family Story offers an opportunity for students along with their families to learn about their family history and delve into the past of the Jewish people, creating a sense of belonging between their own family and the Jewish people all over the world.  The program is celebrating its 25th anniversary and connects families and Jewish communities from over 40 different countries.

Over ninety students from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, Bolton Street Synagogue and Ohr Chadash Academy participated in the annual event that has taken place at the JMM over the past six years.  Students are tasked with interviewing family members to learn about their family history and stories. The students create art installations that represent his/her family history with the help of teachers and families.

The students celebrate their work at the My Family Story exhibit here at JMM!

These projects are judged at the JMM and each school submits two winning projects to Beit Hatfutsot.  These students along with other students from around the world have the opportunity to be selected as part of the My Family Story competition in Memory of Manuel Hirsh Grosskopf in Israel. The winning students have the chance to participate in the My Family Story international awards ceremony that is held in Israel in June every year.

Some of the excellent projects presented at the 2020 My Family Story exhibit at JMM.

The participants are divided into four categories – Israel, English speaking countries, Spanish speaking countries, and Russian speaking and European countries. A small group of students was selected as winners from each category, and from these the first, second and third place will be selected. The winning works were selected by judging committees in the fields of education, art and the Jewish professional world, from among the hundreds of works submitted.

Since 2014, students from the Baltimore area have been chosen to be a part of the international exhibition, and we are so pleased to announce once again  a student from the Baltimore Jewish community has been chosen.

Mazel Tov to BZ Openden and Ohr Chadash Academy to be chosen as one of the winning projects!

Each student writes an artist statement about their project.  BZ’s statement was personal and really explains why he created the guitar that means so much to him and his family.

“The piece that I made represents how my grandfather’s guitar helped connect him to his heritage and inspired him to learn more about Judaism. If my grandfather didn’t have such a love of music, he may never have met Shlomo Carlebach, who was a large part of why my grandfather decided to learn more about his religion. The reason why I put two wolves on the front of the guitar is because I, Baruch Zev Openden, was named “Zev” after my grandfather, and “Zev” is the Hebrew word for “wolf.” The song that the wolves are singing is from the song “Am Yisrael Chai,” which was written and sung by Shlomo Carlebach.”

Due to COVID-19, students and their families are invited at attend a virtual ceremony this year that will announce the winners of the competition and to congratulate all participants from all over the world. The ceremony will be held on Wednesday June 10th .We are so proud of all of the area students that participated in the My Family Story exhibit and we are grateful to the Ronnie and Alli Russel Charitable Foundation for their support of the project.


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

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