Ride for Mike 2011

Posted on October 17th, 2011 by

A blog post by Esther Weiner.

In May, 2008, we lost our son, Mike Weiner, to kidney cancer. Our family, like many families, is extremely close-knit and everyone, including our daughter and son, their spouses, their children, rallied around one another for support. The many cousins and their families felt the loss of Mike deeply. How could they deal with this emptiness and yet celebrate the special supportive person that was Mike?

The family got together and decided that there had to be some way to memorialize Mike and also to find a way to help someone else, some other family, who find themselves fighting a disease.  The idea was born to raise money for kidney cancer research through a bicycle marathon, an idea that struck a responsive cord with everyone, even those who were not bikers!  In 2009 it was decided to join the Seagull Century 100K bicycle marathon in Salisbury, Maryland.

We set up a website, wrote to family, friends, told people about what we were doing, and amazingly, we raised thousands of dollars for kidney cancer research. In 2010, we found a wonderful Farm House where we could all stay for the weekend, participate in the Seagull Century, ride as many miles as we could, and raise more money for cancer research. In the process, we all felt that Mike approved of what we were doing, and the weekend became a close-knit event for those that could come. We had t-shirts printed, Ride for Mike 2010, and raised even more money, all going to kidney cancer research.

This year, 2011, we trekked back to the Farm House on Deal Island, those that were biking registered for the Seagull Century Marathon. Some family members traveled 8 hours or more to be with us…some as close as 1 ½ hours away. We were 19 people this year, all gathered together to signal our willingness to fight a disease that needs to be conquered. We are committed. We are a Family.

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Once Upon a Time…02.11.2011

Posted on October 11th, 2011 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. Click here to see the most recent photo on their website. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager and Registrar at 410.732.6400 x226 or jzink@jewishmuseummd.org.

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: February 11, 2011

PastPerfect Accession #: 1995.128.079d.24

Status: Louis Brenner celebrating his 100th birthday! Identified! Back Row L-R:  1. Herbert Shannon 2. Sandra Shannon 3. Bessie Hoffman 4. Elja Hoffman 5. Marcy Hoffman 6. Nelson Hoffman Front Row L-R: 1. Louis Rosenthal 2. unidentified 3. Merla Brenner 4. Louis Brenner

Special Thanks: Beatty Saettle, Marcy Hoffman, Ira Albert, Sandra Shannon

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Mr. and Mrs. Velvel Ruderman from Radoshkovichi

Posted on September 9th, 2011 by

A blog post by Amy Smith, Administrative & Development Coordinator

With Yom Kippur coming up next month, I find myself discussing with colleagues and friends how everyone plans to break the fast.  In a virtuous attempt to avoid the annual Baltimore Marathon, our Education & Program Coordinator planned a traditional Eastern North Carolina barbeque on Yom Kippur.  Quite a few staff members agreed that this would be an exciting, albeit unusual, way to break the fast and not sacrilegious as long as someone brought kosher bagels.  Another friend (from Long Island) added that her family traditionally breaks the fast with New York style pizza.  It turns out that there are plenty of options in terms of how, where, and with whom you can break the fast.  What I found most interesting was that the dialogue surrounding Yom Kippur presented an opportunity to discuss Jewish traditions.

As I pondered my own family traditions, I thought of a wedding gift my husband and I received this past May, a set of brass candlesticks brought to America by my great-great grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Velvel (William) Ruderman, when they immigrated to Middletown, Connecticut in the 1880s.  In her note card, Elaine Ruderman, the wife of a distant relative, urged me to carry on the Ruderman traditions, which seemed an odd request because I had no idea what these traditions were.  I grew up in a household where we identified as culturally Jewish, but were essentially non-practicing.  Now that I was married and starting my own family, it was up to me to define my own traditions. 

After receiving a modern set of Shabbat candlesticks as an engagement present, my husband and I started lighting candles on Friday nights.  For us, Shabbat means unwinding after a long week and sharing a home cooked meal together.  While we use the candlesticks that were brought to America by my great-great grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Velvel Ruderman, we are also forming new traditions, such as breaking bread with a Triscuit rather than the traditional Challah because neither of us likes to eat a lot of bread.  In this way, our Shabbat is a blend of the traditional and the modern. 

In exploring my roots, I wanted to know more about where the maternal side of my family came from.  Specifically, I wanted to locate Radoshkovichi on a map and determine whether it was part of Poland or Russia.  To that end, I enlisted the help of JMM Research Historian & Family History Coordinator, Deb Weiner.  Dr. Weiner explained that because Eastern European towns often have multiple spellings, it could be hard to find the right town.  Fortunately, I knew the town was just outside of Minsk, the capital of Belarus.  Using the Encyclopaedia Judaica in our library, we found that Radoshkovichi is a town in Belarus, which was located within Poland until the partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, and then again between the two world wars.  To make the matter more complicated, using Jewish Gen, I found that from the 1790s to 1915, Radoshkovichi was part of the Russian Empire, and for part of that time, from 1842 to the First World War, it was governed from the Vilna Gubernia, part of Lithuania.  In conclusion, when my great-great grandparents emigrated in the 1880s, Radoshkovichi was neither Russia nor Poland as we know it today.     

What started with a discussion about how I was going to break the fast after Yom Kippur, turned into the start of a research project about the history of my family and their roots in Radoshkovichi, Belarus.  After many hours researching this subject, I began to understand what was driving me to connect an object (brass candlesticks) to a name (Ruderman) to a place (Radoshkovichi).  In order to continue the traditions I was never really taught growing up in a non-practicing Jewish household, I needed something solid to latch onto.  And, Mr. and Mrs. Velvel Ruderman from Radoshkovichi, Belarus might just be enough.

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