Volunteer Spotlight on: Jack Light

Posted on April 13th, 2015 by

In honor of National Volunteer Week, I would like to thank all of our JMM volunteers.  Now, as I do once a month, I’d like to highlight one volunteer in particular…

Jack Light was a captain in the Korean War who served on the front lines as a dentist.  He received his B.S. and D.D.S. at Indiana University, plus an M.S. in Cancer Prosthetics dentistry from NYU and an M.P.H. Johns Hopkins University.  He practiced dentistry in NYC prior to moving to the Washington, DC area with his wife, a writer and nutrition educator who was offered a job on Capitol Hill.  While in the DC area, Jack had a dental practice in Bethesda plus worked at Howard University on the Cancer Rehabilitation team.  He also served as the director of an East Baltimore Medical Plan.

Volunteer Jack Light helps out as a Front Desk Receptionist, greeting visitors to the Museum.

Volunteer Jack Light helps out as a Front Desk Receptionist, greeting visitors to the Museum.

He has always loved art and music.  In his spare time he paints with oils and acrylics and plays guitar and banjo.  He used to study guitar with a Yiddish folk singer. He volunteered as a docent at the Hirshhorn Museum for 15 years and always believed that museums should be fun.  He took care to know what level of interest and knowledge his visitors possessed and would break down and relate the contemporary art collection to them.  He personally collects Nepalese, Tibetan, and Indian Art.  He also collects European Choir music manuscripts from Italy, France and Spain.  He volunteered at Arena Stage and Wolf Trap for 20 years.  He currently volunteers at the Walters Art Museum in addition to the JMM.

Jack admits that he lives a much diversified life.   He has two daughters, one in NYC who is in product development for L’Oreal and the other who lives outside of Seattle and is an artist and writer.  He moved to Baltimore two years ago when his wife passed away. He enjoys spending time as a Front Desk Receptionist at the JMM as it offers him a chance to speak with all kinds of people.   He especially enjoyed meeting a visitor from New York who had some similar childhood experiences to his own.

Happy National Volunteer Week from the JMM!

Happy National Volunteer Week from the JMM!

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Volunteer Spotlight: Marna Walters

Posted on March 9th, 2015 by

marna picMarilyn is Marna Walter’s given name but she only uses that when signing checks. She obtained the nickname from her niece who couldn’t say Marilyn and came up with Marna as the substitute.  What we call her is dependable.  She volunteers at the JMM as a Front Desk Receptionist and can be spied at the JMM on most Sundays throughout the year.  She has been volunteering at the JMM since early 1997.  She began as a Docent for the exhibit Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities which was shown in temporary exhibition space in Owings Mills during renovations at the JMM campus on Lloyd Street.  A while after, she switched to working at the Front Desk.

Marna volunteers elsewhere in the community too.  She is a volunteer for a program her family helped initiate at then Montebello Hospital, now Kernan’s, for patients with Multiple Sclerosis.  She helps patients who spend the day at the center with their meals, playing games, exercising, Tai Chi, and just plain having fun.  One volunteer per day assists the staff with the patients when the center is open, Mondays through Thursdays.  On another day during the week, Marna volunteers at Weinberg Place in their food market.  Her original participation in the project was through her affiliation with the National Council on Jewish Women (who gave the original seed money for the program).  She mans the register and used to do all of the purchasing.  Plus, she enlisted two of JMM’s other volunteers; Ernie Silversmith and Renate Milewich to help out too.

Prior to volunteering, Marna worked as a medical technologist.  She worked at D.C. General Hospital while her husband, Paul a lawyer, was stationed in Northern Virginia, and at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.  She has lived in the same house since 1963, where she currently hosts Shabbat dinner every week for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. It’s usually a crowd of 8 – 10 people. She works every Thursday and Friday to prepare for the family.  If a family member is lucky enough to have a birthday that week they get to choose the menu. This week the menu selected by a lucky birthday girl is brisket, twice baked potatoes, cream of spinach, and sour cream coffee cake (the kind with nuts and cinnamon) for dessert.

Marna helped us celebrate at the Museum's 50th birthday a few years ago!

Marna helped us celebrate at the Museum’s 50th birthday a few years ago!

Marna’s favorite aspect of volunteering at the JMM is the rapport between the visitors, staff and volunteers.  She has had a very positive experience while volunteering with us.  She enjoys the opportunity to give advice and receive a glimpse of appreciation when she suggests just the right thing.  She loves it at the JMM and we love having her as a member of our volunteer corps.  She considers it an honor but I assure you, the honor is all ours.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Volunteer Spotlight on Barbara Cohen!

Posted on February 2nd, 2015 by

Barbara Cohen volunteers as both a Front Desk Receptionist and Docent at the JMM.  She grew up not far from the Museum, less than 2 miles to the west and likes to think of it as her return to the inner city.

Hard at work!

Hard at work!

When asked to share some interesting facts about her, the first reply was that she has a wonderful family.  She is a widow, mother of 3 sons and daughters-in-law, and grandmother of 7. She spent a career in education, over 60 years as a teacher.  She always loved teaching and began teaching the children in her South Baltimore neighborhood when she was only 10 years old.  While in high school, she worked in the office at the Board of Jewish Education and at 15 years of age, they asked her to do some substitute teaching and tutoring for students in afternoon Hebrew schools. She trained in General Education in college and began her adult teaching career as a 5th grade teacher in Prince Georges County, MD.  In addition, while her husband was in graduate school, and recognized he was too busy to handle a 2nd job, she took over his hours as an afternoon Hebrew school teacher.  While raising her young children, she began teaching Judaics in their Jewish Day School.  The family moved to Israel and while there, she had already been teaching English to neighbors when the principal of the local school asked her to teach English as an after-school activity.  She taught all levels of students in what felt like a one-room schoolhouse, since students didn’t receive instruction in English as part of the school curriculum until 5th grade. When she returned to Baltimore she worked at Krieger Schechter Day School as a first grade teacher and Principal of Lower School Judaics.

Barbara Cohen

Barbara Cohen

In her last year prior to retirement at Krieger Schecther Day School she saw and advertisement placed by the JMM for Educators.  She replied and offered to volunteer as such.  She also volunteers at Greater Baltimore Medical Center in the family waiting room where people wait for loved ones who are in surgery. She is responsible for keeping them updated during the entire surgery process.  She volunteers at Millbrook Elementary as a tutor in the 2nd grade in both reading and math.  She also volunteers on the Chizuk Amuno team at Our Daily Bread serving meals to those in need.

Her favorite engagement with visitors to the JMM is with those from church groups and city public schools.  She notes that since the members of the church groups possess an interest in religious life although not Judaism, they present interesting questions.  She recalls an incident when explaining the background of the Torah scrolls in the Lloyd Street Synagogue to Baltimore city school students.  One child asked if she thought any of the Tuskegee Airmen had helped the Jewish people.  She was charmed by the connection he made between his own culture and identity and others.

Barbara volunteers at the JMM because she likes keeping busy and busy she is.  She especially enjoys meeting interesting people and providing a service.  We gladly accept her donation of time and appreciate that we are included on her list that is so full of activity.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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