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JMM Insights: 3…2…1…Blast Off!

Posted on September 11th, 2020 by

The Space Shuttle Endeavour blasts off from pad 39A at 8:56 am on May 16, 2011. This was the final flight for Endeavour. Courtesy of NASA.

Can you feel the excitement? We’re practically buzzing with it as we count down the hours until we open Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit! (72 hours from the launch of this newsletter, to be precise.) Coronavirus may have delayed us, but this exhibit was just too cool not to share and our team wasn’t going to let something like a pandemic stop us from creating a unique, engaging, and safe experience.

As a special thank-you to our members, we shared early access to reserving tickets to come and see the exhibit in person. As of today, however, we’ve opened up tickets to everyone. Entry is limited, to keep everyone safe, so we highly recommend you purchase your tickets asap to get the dates and times that work best for you.

For this edition of JMM Insights, we wanted to highlight some truly excellent Jews in Space experiences we think you’ll enjoy, plus some bonus gallery sneak peeks!

Just a few “peeks” into the gallery while the team is hard at work installing the exhibit.

Even with important safety precautions, we know that an in-person visit isn’t for everyone right now – which is why we’re offering special Jews in Space virtual tours, presented live with a JMM staff member. There are two different ways to experience this unique digital exploration:

1. Schedule an exclusive virtual tour for you and a group. Fill out this form and a staff member will contact you to schedule!

2. Register for one of our pre-scheduled virtual tours – we’ll be offering virtual tours once a month as part of our public programming.

>Register for a virtual tour on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 3:00pm HERE.

>Register for a virtual tour on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 3:00pm HERE.


Did you know that Jews in Space has a companion website?

Here you’ll find opportunities to explore more deeply some things from the exhibit itself, like the extensive timeline of Jews and space and the expanding map of Maryland’s space connections, as well as a handy list of our upcoming space-related public programs (plus links to previously recorded programs) and info on our available virtual education space offerings.

We’ve also included activities to deepen your engagement with Jews in Space beyond a museum (or virtual) visit. From our family-centered Wondernauts badge program to our Upstanders Bookworm project, we hope you’ll dive in and try out some hands-on fun.

Enjoy a “close encounter” with some of the exhibits objects and details!

Creating Klingon:

A Conversation with its Jewish Inventor
Members-Only Special Event

Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 7:00pm EST

Speaker: Marc Okrand

Registration for this Live Stream Event Opening Soon.

Not yet a member?

Sign up online at the JMM website or contact JMM Membership Coordinator Sue Foard at / 443-873-5162.

You already belong, why not make it official!

Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 7:00pm EST

Presented by the Stoop Storytelling Series

Register for this Live Stream Event Now.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm EST

Speaker: Dr. Arnold Blumberg

Register for this Live Stream Event Now

The Maryland presentation of this exhibit is made possible in part by the generous support of a gift in memory of Patrick J. Kelly Jr., a Baltimore Science Fiction Society Founder; The Joseph & Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds; PNC Greater Maryland; Larry Boltansky.

Additional funding from: Greif Family Fund; Kutler Family Philanthropic Fund; The Kaplan-Kronsberg Family Charitable Fund; A gift in memory of Jim Guy; Emelie Schwab & Family in Memory of James Schwab; Harriet Stulman; Philip Tulkoff; Julian H. Krolik and Elaine F. Weiss Philanthropic Fund; Annette and Michael Saxon Fund.  

Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 7:00 pm EST

Hosted Live by WYPR’s Sheilah Kast

Register for this Special Live Stream Event Here

This special online event will feature memories, stories, and statements from a host of characters with a connection to Maryland’s oldest synagogue. From its inception to its near eradication to its rebirth as a site of learning, by turns contentious, mundane, or spiritual, the stories of the Lloyd Street Synagogue will fascinate and inspire you. Be a part of the celebration honoring this one-of-a-kind landmark.



Posted in jewish museum of maryland

JMM Insights: The Wonders of Space in Maryland

Posted on July 31st, 2020 by

This week’s JMM Insights, the last in our space-focused series celebrating the anniversary of the first moon landing, is all about Maryland.

Did you know the Space Telescope Science Institute was established in Baltimore? This community-focused science center was instrumental in the creation and launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.

You might be surprised to discover just how many Maryland connections there are to the exploration, discovery, and research of space. From the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt to the International Latitude Observatory in Gaithersburg, Marylanders are committed to the Wonders of Space!

Image: The Hubble Space Telescope, with Earth in the background, in a photo taken by the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on May 19, 2009. Courtesy of NASA. 

In case you missed it or want to share the experience with friends and family, here’s the recording of last week’s dive into all the questions, big and small, about How to Be Jewish in Space.

In case you missed it or want to share the experience with friends and family, here’s the recording of last week’s dive into all the questions, big and small, about How to Be Jewish in Space. And we’ll have the recording for last night’s ultimate behind-the-scenes event with Tracie Guy-Decker and Trillion Attwood up soon!

Most importantly: Keep your eyes on the calendar for the official opening of Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit! This exciting exhibit will open for public visitation in September. We can’t wait to see you.

For this week’s hands-on feature, we want to build on your role as Citizen Scientists!

First, ask yourself: Why Do We Explore? Create your own explorer’s journal to capture your observations and adventures discovering the world and skies around you.

Then try the highlighted activities below focused on our own Maryland skies:

Bonus: Learn about space probes in this video from National Geographic, then try your hand at designing a probe of your own!

Exhibit Sneak Peek:

Don Engel and Marianne Cheportes were married in Baltimore on June 12, 2011.

“My wife and I (being physicists) made our ketubah together using deep space imagery. Our ketubah has an infinity in the foreground which the constellation Orion inside it and has the Orion nebula in the background. It’s tri-lingual because my wife is a Sephardic Jew from France, so we have English, French, and the traditional Aramaic.”

Ketubah, 2011. On loan from Don and Marianne Engel. JMM L2020.6.1.

A Name to Know:

“The Mother of Hubble,” astronomer Nancy Grace Roman (1925-2018), has strong Maryland ties: not only did she live in the DC suburbs as an adult, but she also attended Baltimore’s Western High School, graduating in 1943.

Roman was the first woman executive at NASA, serving as Chief of Astronomy in NASA’s Office of Space Science at Goddard, among other positions during her long career.

LEGO version of Nancy Grace Roman, with the Hubble Telescope and an image of a planetary nebula, 2017. On loan from the Church family. JMM L2020.3.2.


Celebrate Maryland and Baltimore with a new book or some custom swag! All purchases help support the Museum.

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

JMM Insights: Looking to the Stars

Posted on July 24th, 2020 by

Science fiction, science fact – this week’s JMM Insights looks back (and up) to the history of Judaism and astronomy!

Historically, the role of religious institutions in education meant science and religion were often intertwined. In particular, because Judaism uses a lunar calendar to determine important dates like holidays, being able to observe the skies (and understand what is being seen) made astronomy an important part of Jewish religious practice.

Image: Illustration from Helek Rishon Mi-Sefer Ha-‘olamot, O, Ma’aseh Toviyah, Toviyah Kats Vinits’ah: Bi-defus Bragadin, Venice, 1707. Collections of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Make sure to mark your calendar for next week’s insider sneak-peek at the exhibit with JMM’s own Tracie Guy-Decker and Trillion Attwood.

In case you missed it, or want to share the experience with friends and family, you should check out the recording of last week’s fascinating talk about Jewish thinking on extraterrestrial life (aka: Aliens!). And we’ll have the recording of last night’s How to Be Jewish in Space  up soon!

For this week’s hands-on feature, we invite you and your family to become Citizen Scientists!

Mapping Historic Skies is an online collaboration between the Adler Planetarium’s Collections department and the Adler-Zooniverse team. With this project you will be helping real researchers learn more about a collection of historic constellation imagery!

More great family activities for learning about the skies:

Constellations Across Cultures

Create Your Own Constellation

Making Milestones: Jewish Contributions to Space

*NEW* Star Notes – help transcribe the groundbreaking work of early women astronomers.

Bonus: Spend a little time exploring the wonderous images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. You can even find a specific image taken on your birthday!

Exhibit Sneak Peek:

Mendes Cohen (the nephew of the more famous Mendes I. Cohen of Baltimore) used this 50-year Jewish calendar book to track important family dates.

In the Jewish tradition of yahrzeit, mourners light candles on the anniversaries of the deaths of loved ones – and just like holidays, those anniversaries follow the lunar or Hebrew calendar.

A Jewish Calendar for Fifty Years, Jacques J. Lyons and Abraham de Sola. Montreal: John Lovell, 1854. Gift of Hymen Saye. JMM 1988.196.1.

A Name to Know:

This illustration is from the “Book of the Shape of the Earth,” by Abraham bar-Hiyya Savasorda.

Bar-Hiyya was a Catalan Jewish astronomer (and mathematician and philosopher) born in the late 11th century. He is believed to have made the earliest introduction of Arabic algebra to Christian Europe. He was also a pioneer in using the Hebrew language for scientific purposes. You can view a digitized version of this manuscript here!

Sefer Tsurat Ha-arets by Abraham bar-Hiyya Savasorda. Offenbach: Bi-defus Bona Fentura de-lo Nai, 480 [1720]. Collections of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.


Astronomy helps us determine the exact time of sundown for Shabbat observance!

Consider updating your Shabbat table with new candlesticks or a kiddush cup. All Esther’s Place purchases help support the Museum.

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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