Volunteer Spotlight: Betsey Kahn

Posted on November 4th, 2013 by

It’s time to highlight another volunteer at the JMM:

Betsey

Betsey

Betsey Kahn has been a volunteer at the JMM for close to 20 years.  Her interest in the JMM came as a natural progression in her family.  Her father, Moses W. Rosenfeld was a founding member of the Jewish Historical Society.  He handled the legal work; Betsey is of the belief that he offered his services pro-Bono.  She remembers him putting in a lot of effort and the entire family became very familiar with the place.  Betsey is a long-time Baltimore Hebrew Congregation member.  She and her sister, her daughters, and her granddaughters were all confirmed at BHC.
When she first began volunteering at the JMM she worked on photo projects.  She admits it wasn’t the best fit.  So, she became a Docent, which she loved.  Unfortunately, due to mobility issues, she’s no longer able to take visitors on tours.  Now, she greets visitors and answers the telephone as a Front Desk Receptionist.
It was a particularly good fit for Betsey to act as a docent as she taught Social Studies and English to middle school students for many years.  In addition to volunteering at the JMM, Betsey volunteers twice a week in the Ophthalmology department at Sinai Hospital.  She also likes to spend time knitting and needle pointing, plus, some of her very favorite activities are cooking and entertaining as well as flower arranging.  She and a friend formed a garden club years ago, which came with the added bonus of flower arrangement lessons by her co-chairman.
Betsey has had a positive impact on the JMM in her many years of involvement.  She is often willing to answer a last-minute plea for extra volunteer shifts.  She ‘s proud to share that she contributes financially to the Museum in addition to her donating time.  She is a wonderful role model for our entire volunteer corps.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday 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




A Visit to Rhodes

Posted on October 7th, 2013 by

While recently on vacation in Turkey and Greece I had the opportunity to visit the Synagogue and Jewish Museum of Rhodes, Greece.

interior

interior

The Kahal Shalom is the oldest Jewish synagogue in Greece, and the sole remaining synagogue on the Island of Rhodes used for services. It is located in the Jewish Quarter (called “La Juderia”) and is believed to have been built in the year 1577. The full name of the building is “Kahal Kadosh Shalom” (Holy Congregation of Peace).  Our docent, Schmuel Modiano, was a survivor of Birkenau.  He spoke to a group of visitors, similar to the way the JMM arranges for Holocaust survivors speak to visiting groups.

Docent with visitors

Docent with visitors

The Jewish community of Rhodes has an historical background dating back to ancient times. During the past five hundred years, the background of the Jews of Rhodes was influenced principally by the Jews who fled Spain at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Large numbers of Sephardim traveled across the Mediterranean Sea to the Island of Rhodes, as well as other cities such as Salonica, Istanbul and Izmir. During its height in the 1930’s, the Jewish community had a population of approximately 4,000 people.

The interior of the Kahal Shalom synagogue follows the traditional Sephardic style of having the bima in the center of the sanctuary facing southeast toward Jerusalem. The floor is decorated with graceful black and white mosaic stone patterns, which is a distinctive design motif used throughout the Old City of Rhodes.  One decorative pattern includes the year 5601 or 1840-41.  An intriguing feature of the Kahal Shalom sanctuary is that it is decorated with numerous religious wall paintings.

During the 1930’s, a balcony was built in the Kahal Shalom sanctuary for seating of the women. Prior to that time the women sat in rooms adjoining the south wall of the synagogue. The women’s prayer rooms  viewed the sanctuary through windowed openings adorned by latticework.

Docent with Group

Docent with Group

In the courtyard on the east side of the synagogue, there is a plaque above where a water fountain once existed, and it bears an inscription dated the month of Kislev, 5338 (1577). Apparently, this fountain was constructed at the same time as the synagogue. On the west side of the synagogue there was a religious school, however it was destroyed during World War II.

Today there are about 40 Jews living in Rhodes, who practice their religion in the Synagogue.  However, it is worth mentioning that the Synagogue is also open to the public that visit it because of its great historic and architectural interest. In 2002 the Municipality approved the erection of a Monument of the Victims of the Holocaust in the Jewish Martyrs square, in the place where the Jewish quarter used to be. The Jewish cemetery of the island is still preserved.

Holocaust Memorial

Holocaust Memorial

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. To see more posts from Ilene click here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Volunteer Spotlight: Marvin Spector

Posted on September 9th, 2013 by

Marvin Spector has been volunteering at the JMM for just over one year.  He volunteers in the Archives and Collections departments and can be seen at the museum multiple days each week.  He’s no longer employed and came to the JMM as he felt there was a need and he was available to help.  He used to be a member of the Board of Directors of the JMM, over 30 years ago, before there was even a museum building.  At that time he was also involved in the docent program and he trained local boy scouts to give tours of the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Marvin Spector

Marvin

His main volunteer duties at the JMM involve scanning photos, and taking inventory of folders to make certain that they actually contain what is listed in their content pages.  He is also amenable to other less interesting jobs, such as staple pulling.

In his free time, Marvin likes to go camping with his wife.  Of the many sites they enjoy, they are particularly fond of the Lancaster and Gettysburg, PA areas.   He’s also kept very busy at Chizuk Amuno Congregation as a gabbai, as treasurer of the men’s brotherhood organization and in the kitchen once a week.   Marvin has two children, four grandchildren and three step grand-children.

Scanning photographs.

Scanning photographs.

Although the honeymoon period may have just expired, we hope Marvin will stay happy and continue to contribute his valuable time and skills for many years to come at the JMM.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday 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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