Always Something to Celebrate at JMM

Posted on October 19th, 2018 by

To read past editions of JMM insights, click here. To read other posts by Trillion Attwood, click here.

The Jewish holy days of September/October are behind us but this year (thanks in part to our exhibit Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini) we’re conjuring up holiday spirits nearly every week.

Below are just a few ways you can join us in celebrating holidays (secular, religious and everything in between)! This is just a small selection –  for more details, check out the events page on our website.


We don’t typically celebrate Halloween at the museum but with our current exhibit we couldn’t resist the opportunity. This year we will be celebrating with not one but two Halloween themed events.

On Sunday October 28th we will be hosting Houdini’s’ Magical Halloween, a fun filled day for the whole family.  We will learn a little magic, prepare some delicious treats and enjoy some marvelous crafts.  For those wishing to learn some of Houdini’s magic we have two special workshops planned on card tricks and lockpicking. However, the highlight of the day will be two performances by Harry Houdini himself (well actually, magician David London playing Ehrich Weiss/ Harry Houdini). Our “Harry” will have a few tricks up his sleeve as he brings to life the story of the Hungarian Jewish immigrant who transformed himself into an international superstar. No ghosts or goblins but plenty of chains and lots of spirit.

Then on Wednesday, October 31st we are excited to be hosting the Official Houdini Séance.

Houdini died 92 years ago on Halloween and this will be the 91st consecutive Official Houdini Séance – and it’s first occurrence in Baltimore. Join us for this special evening that includes roving magician performances, expert presentations, the official séance itself, and a spectacular finale, along with wine and a light dinner (dietary laws observed).

Tickets are now on sale but selling fast so reserve your seat today.

Veterans Day

This year we will also be marking Veteran’s day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with a very special presentation with JMM Archivist Lorie Rombro exploring the surprising records of the 39th British Royal Fusiliers. Why does the JMM have accounts of a British military unit from WWI?  This regiment, nicknamed the Jewish Legion, was made up entirely of volunteers, most of whom were Jewish, and many of whom were recruited here in Baltimore.

The Jewish Museum of Maryland is very fortunate to hold a number of items donated by the Legion’s Baltimore volunteers. In this special program we will discover how the collection can illuminate the lives of the Baltimoreans who served and the bond between them, which lasted their entire lives.


And what could you be more thankful for than chocolate!  On November 18, the Sunday prior to the holiday, Sheilah Kaufman, food writer and cookbook author will be presenting a History of the Jews and Chocolate with a chocolate tasting!

Chocolate is the most craved food in the United States and a truly global history. In this presentation Shelia explores the history of Jews and chocolate while also imparting her expert knowledge of using chocolate in the kitchen.


On December 2nd we bring you another exciting culinary championship – The Great Jewish Bake Off! This year we take inspiration from both the seasons and Jewish culinary tradition.  As the days grow shorter and the weather becomes colder, no food is more comforting than a great bake. From mandelbrot to bagels, and challah to rye we all have a favorite, almost all of which are improved with a generous schmeer of cream cheese or butter. This year we celebrate those bakes that are often, but not always, improved with a schmeer of something delicious or as we have named them schmeerables.

We invite Maryland’s greatest amateur bakers from newbies to bubbies to participate in this important statewide search: The Great Jewish Bake Off of 2018!

Even if you choose not to compete, we encourage you to join us at the JMM for a day dedicated to baking, with tastings, tips from professionals and the announcement of Maryland’s greatest amateur baker. We’ll also have hands-on activities for the family!

Mitzvah Day

For the sixth year in a row we are pleased to again celebrate Mitzvah Day on December 25th in partnership with JVC. Inspired by the life of Harry Houdini we are excited to work with the Esperanza Center. This Baltimore-based organizations mission is to welcome immigrants by offering hope, compassionate services, and the power to improve their lives. We will be working together to create backpacks filled with school supplies (and homemade stress balls!) for their students. Activities are suitable for all ages and no artistic talent is required.

We are looking for donations of the school supplies listed below to help fill the backpacks. If you are unable to attend, dropping off supplies in the weeks leading up is a great way to support the program!






Craft Scissors

White out


Colored Pencils

After our Mitzvah morning, sit back and relax as we screen the TV mini-series Houdini, starring Adrien Brody.

Please reach out to me directly if you have any questions about these or any of our upcoming programs at We hope to see you at the museum soon.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Rosh Hashanah Greetings 2018/5779

Posted on September 6th, 2018 by

A blog post by Director of Learning and Visitor Engagement Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

This coming Sunday evening, September 9th, Jewish people from all over the world will be celebrating the Jewish New Year! Rosh Hashanah (literally meaning the “head” of the year) is celebrated on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. It’s customary to extend greetings and sentiments to loved ones and friends on the holiday. The tradition of sending Jewish New Year greeting cards dates back to the Middle Ages, predating the Christian New Year card tradition, which only became popular in Europe and the United States during the 19th century!

Holiday greetings often include wishes for good health and a sweet new year. Shana Tova means “a good year” and is often extended to L ’Shana Tova umetuka, which means “To a good and sweet year.”  I wondered about the different New Year’s greetings that were in the JMM’s extensive collection – it turns out we have quite a few cards, and I wanted to share a few that I really liked.

In this 1908 card, a man with a white beard (probably symbolizing a rabbi) is blowing a shofar (ram’s horn) which is an important part of the Rosh Hashanah service.  The man is wearing white which is traditionally worn during the High Holidays to reflect the search for inner purity. I thought that this image really captured the essence of the holiday. JMM 1983.019.016b

I loved this card.  There is so much symbolism in the card – from the Statute of Liberty to the inclusion of both the American flag and the flag of Israel.  Interestingly, this card is from the 1940s – possibly before the State of Israel was officially established. One can infer that the sender of the card identified as both an American patriot and a supporter of Zionism. JMM 1990.014.001

Moses in Basket, ca.1911, addressed to the Hecht Family and Baby Hannah, JMM 1997.45.9

Children with Flowers ca 1912, addressed to Baby Hannah Hecht, JMM 1997.045.010

I thought that the two New Year’s greetings above were so sweet – especially since they were sent in sequential years (1911, 1912) to the Hecht Family and Baby Hannah of Havre de Grace, Maryland. The first postcard shows the traditional bible scene of Baby Moses and Miriam on the River Nile and is printed with Hebrew and German.  The second postcard, which is addressed only to Baby Hannah, features adorable children and flowers along with wishes for a New Year written in both Hebrew and English.

This greeting card looked very familiar to me with its mosaic pattern containing a menorah, torah scroll and shofar.  The thing that most caught my eye was that the familiar greeting of Shana Tova was not used.  Instead, the Hebrew phrase Hayom Harat Olam was used, which means “Today is the (birth) day of the world,” a prayer that traces back to Babylonian times and was included in the prayer book of Maimonides! JMM 2008.056.006

Let’s fast forward to 2018.  It is still customary to send greeting cards, however the way in which they are sent are very different than 100 years ago.  The Internet and social media outlets allow us to send our own personal messages to those we love and care about, like this Paperless Post e-card.

When I first got married my husband and I sent out our own greetings to friends and family through snail mail.  Today, we create our own cards to reflect our hopes and dreams for the New Year! I hope you enjoy Floyd modeling with our 2017 Alon Family Rosh Hashanah Card.

Happy New Year!  Chag Sameach!  Gut Yontiff and L’Shanah Tova…….  May we all be inscribed and sealed for a for a good year!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Once Upon a Time…11.24.2018

Posted on August 7th, 2018 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church by email at

JMM 2011.29.2018

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: November 24, 2018

PastPerfect Accession #: 2011.029.208

Status: Unidentified – do you recognize this young participant lighting candles at a c. 1980 Levindale Hanukkah party?

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

« Previous PageNext Page »