Mah Jongg Madness!

Posted on December 22nd, 2011 by

A blog post by Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink.

I’ve long been fascinated by the beautiful tiles of the MahJongg set, but I’ve never had the patience to sit down and learn the rules. Will 2012 be the year that I learn how to play?

A few months ago I was catching up with my hometown friend Vivian. With the last names Ng and Okin, we were together in alphabetical homeroom throughout high school, and there was plenty to catch up on at our reunion. I asked about her family and she mentioned that her mother was playing MahJongg. Excitedly I asked, “Is your mother Jewish?” Vivian looked at me like I had lost my mind—or hadn’t ever met her mom—and said “She’s Chinese.” Right! I knew that. Somehow I had forgotten that MahJongg is a traditional Chinese game and not a specifically Jewish game.  Since it’s about a 4 hour drive back to Ringwood, I decided NOT to ask Vivian if her mother would teach me how to play the game.

Jobi and her high school friends Tim, Vivian and Heather.

A few years ago former JMM Curator Melissa Martens curated “Project Mah Jongg” at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Her exhibition text explained that May Jongg was “introduced to American audiences by Joseph P. Babcock who began importing sets en masse around 1922, the game delighted players with its beautifully adorned tiles, associations with other lands, and mysterious rules…. In the post-war years, the game was embraced enthusiastically throughout circles of Eastern European Jewish women and became a favorite activity of bungalow colonies of the Catskills. Mahjongg became an entertainment ritual in suburban Jewish homes—where it has been lovingly transfixed in the memories of the contemporary generation. Today, hundreds of thousands of people play mahjongg, and it continues to be a vital part of communal, personal, and cultural life.” [http:///projectmahjongg.com/about.html]

The exhibition was beautiful and delightful, but I didn’t have enough time to sit down and learn the rules. Check out this slide show of others playing MahJongg.

Then last week at our Collections Committee meeting Board Member Irene Russel mentioned that she plays MahJongg with her girlfriends every Tuesday night. I practically invited myself over to play!

Barbara Marlin, Sheila Derman, Myra Gershon, Irene Russel play a regular game of Mah Jongg.

Instead, I think I will come to the JMM on Christmas Day for our event Chanukah, Christmas, and all things Chinese and learn the basics. I hope to see you there.

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Love, Israeli Breakfast Style

Posted on December 16th, 2011 by

A blog post by Education and Program Director Ilene Dackman-Alon.

I can honestly say that no two weeks are ever the same at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  Each week I am usually consumed with planning meetings and group visits, so I usually jump at the chance to do something different and last Sunday was one of those occasions to do something a little different.

A few days after Thanksgiving, the Executive Director of the JMM asked me if my family and I would be willing to participate in a photo-shoot for the Museum in connection with our current exhibition, Chosen Food: Cuisine, Culture and American Jewish Identity.  My first instinct was to ask- why my family and exactly what would we be doing… The answer… . Having an Israeli breakfast at home with family and friends….  With an offer like this- how could I refuse?

There are many things that I love about Israel-(besides my husband, Shay who LOVES to cook) and one of them is the very extravagant Israeli breakfast.   In the United States, a traditional breakfast is, bagel, lox, cream cheese, a slice of tomato and some cucumbers, or eggs served with breakfast meat and hash browns.  This is NOT the traditional breakfast fare that we served at our house this past Sunday………

Photo by Elena Rosemond-Hoerr

There was not a bagel in sight- just a few loaves of earthy, crusty bread.  Lots of veggies, sliced tomatoes, onions, cukes, red peppers on a platter in addition to Israeli salad with tomatoes, cucumbers onions and lettuce slices in very small pieces drizzled with olive oil, lemon and salt and pepper.

We served homemade burekas (that my friend Ayela taught me how to make almost 20 years ago).  Burekas are small puffed pastries that can be filled with anything that you like, sweet or savory.  I made cheese burekas and added some garlic to the cheese and we also served potato burekas.

Eggs came in a lot of varieties at our breakfast.  First, Shay made haveeta (omelette) with lots and lots of parsley and feta cheese.  It was cooked to perfection with such a beautiful green color.

We served hard boiled eggs that are traditionally served with burekas. In addition, Shay made shakshooka –a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, and lots of cumin.  It is believed to have Algerian and Tunisian origins.  It was yummy and pretty as a picture.

We served jachnun – a traditional Yemenite Jewish dish prepared from rolled dough  which is baked on very low heat for about ten hours. The dough is rolled out thinly, brushed with shortening  and rolled up, similar to puff pastry.  It turns a dark amber color and has a slightly sweet taste. It is traditionally served with a crushed/grated tomato dip, hard boiled eggs and schkrug, a hot sauce.

We celebrated the morning with mimosas.  We drank Turkish coffee and finished the meal with fruit salad, coffee cake and rugelach. A perfect way to start our Sunday with family and friends!  -Israeli Breakfast Style!

Above photos by Will Kirk.

 

 

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MS 132 and MS 182

Posted on October 27th, 2011 by

Two for the price of one!  The following post has two related collections: MS 132 and MS 182 both of which contain materials related the Joseph M. Zamoiski Co. and the Zamoiski family.

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Calman J. Zamoiski (1896-c. 1970),

Papers, n.d., 1918-1972

Joseph M. Zamoiski Co.

Papers, n.d., 1919-1972

MS 132

ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

This collection of documents and letters concerning Calman J. Zamoiski, his family and the Joseph M. Zamoiski Co. was donated in two parts.   Letters and papers relating to Mr.Zamoiski’s service in World War I were donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland by Mr. and Mrs. James L. Zamoiski in 1990 as accession 1990.57.  Additional personal papers were donated by Ernestine K. Wiesenfeld in 1988 as accession 1988.51.  Documents relating to the Joseph M. Zamoiski Co., its founder, Joseph M. Zamoiski, Sr., and company executives, were donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland by the Zamoiski Company in 1987 as accession 1987.065. Myrna Siegel processed the collection in December 2003.

Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.  Papers may be copied in accordance with the library’s usual procedures.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL NOTE

Calman J. Zamoiski, Sr. (1896 – circa 1970) was born inBaltimoreto Joseph M. and Tena Zamoiski.  The elder Zamoiski established Joseph M. Zamoiski Co. as an electrical supply and construction business.  Calman, Sr. worked in the business until his service in World War I.  After the War he returned to the business and became interested in radio.  The Zamoiski Company began stocking radio parts and Calman, Sr. received a radio operator’s license in 1921.  In that same year, he establishedBaltimore’s first commercial radio station (WKC) in a room in his home at2527 Madison Avenue.  The station ceased broadcasting in 1924.  About the time of Joseph’s death in 1927, Calman, Sr. took over as head of the family business.  He ran the business until at least 1956, when his son, Calman, Jr., succeeded him.

Nathan Ullman, a long-time employee at the Joseph Zamoiski Company. 1987.065.10

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The Zamoiski papers contain memorabilia of Calman Sr.’s service in the U.S. Army during World War I.  There are letters from family and friends, diaries, and other souvenirs of his war service inFrance.  There are also copies of his radio operator’s license as well as articles describing his foray into broadcasting.  Also included are memorial tributes to Calman, Sr.’s mother and father, Joseph and Tena who died in 1927 and 1952, respectively.

The Zamoiski Company papers consist of information about products sold by the Company, Company advertising and sales brochures, and the Company’s annual convention booklets.  There is also some documentation of Calman Sr.’s involvement in other business ventures including a patent application of M.W. Askin and service by Calman Sr.’s brother, Joseph M. Zamoiski, to the Big Brothers of the National Capital Region.

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The collection has been organized into three series:  Series I.  Personal Papers, n.d., 1903-1972; Series II.  Zamoiski Company Papers, n.d., 1932-1972; and Series III. Photographs, n.d., 1952-1956.  Material in Series I. and Series II. is arranged alphabetically by the name of the person or business creating or receiving the material, and then chronologically within each name.  Series III is arranged alphabetically.

employees of the Joseph M. Zamoiski Company in front of the company building. 1987.65.27

The Joseph M. Zamoiski Co.

Minute Book Collection

1909-1975

MS 182

ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

The Joseph M. Zamoiski Co. Minute Book Collection was donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland in 2007 as accession 2007.072 by the Zamoiski family. The collection was processed by Jennifer Vess in February 2010

Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.  Papers may be copied in accordance with the library’s usual procedures.

Zamoiski company meeting minutes. 2007.72.1

HISTORICAL NOTE

Joseph M. Zamoiski established the Joseph M. Zamoiski Co. as an electrical supply company in 1896.  In the early years the company distributed batteries, lighting fixtures and accessories, and also participated in electrical contracting.  The original building burnt down in the 1904Baltimorefire, but continued to operate in temporary quarters.  The Joseph M. Zamoiski Company incorporated in 1909.  In the 1920s the company added radios and phonographs to their stock and continued to expand the variety of products over the decades to include, among other things, home appliances, and televisions.  By the 1970s the company had multiple product divisions with warehouses inBaltimore,MDandWashington,D.C.and its own fleet of delivery trucks.

From 1946 meeting minutes book. 2007.72.1

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The collection contains six minutes books ranging in years from 1909-1974 and two additional books containing articles of incorporation and meeting minutes for the Joseph M. Zamoiski Co. and the Gigi and Cal Zamoiski Foundation, Inc.  The papers are generally organized chronologically and contain Board of Directors and Stockholders meeting minutes as well as by-laws from various years.

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