Become an Upstander!

Volunteer Opportunities
in partnership with
Jewish Volunteer Connection

Summer Teachers Institute Goes Virtual!

Posted on June 18th, 2020 by

A blog post by Director of Education Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click here.

JMM has been adapting to the new realities of classroom learning very quickly. The ability for our team to provide educational virtual experiences is quite new; and this spring was the first time that we were invited into the digital classroom to speak on topics like Jewish immigration to Baltimore, Scrap and the Holocaust. We are watching what other institutions are doing, so we know that the time investment in developing both in person and digital education experiences for the classroom only makea our programs more accessible for teachers. Over the past few months the amount of time we would have spent with children at the Museum has been devoted to developing online presentations for the digital classroom. We believe that even if schools do open up in the fall that taking field trips to JMM may still not be an option, so we hope that these digital offerings will be the way to connect with the students until COVID-19 is over.

During the first week of August, JMM will hold our Annual Summer Teachers Institute (STI), presented in partnership with the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC), the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Center for Jewish Education (CJE). STI is a professional development opportunity for teachers in the area of Holocaust Education. The goal of the program is to give educators the opportunity to meet with scholars and experts who are in the trenches of teaching best practices of Holocaust history and genocide studies. The topics associated with the Holocaust are vast, and over the years we have touched on topics like Persecution to Liberation, Rescue and Resistance, Propaganda, and last year’s theme: Women and the Holocaust, in connection with the powerful exhibit Stitching History from the Holocaust on loan from the Jewish Museum of Milwaukee (the other JMM!).

STI 2019 participants in the Stitching History from the Holocaust Exhibit.

This year’s program will look different than in previous years due to the world health crisis and the inability for groups to gather. This summer we will be offering a virtual three-day workshop for teachersSummer Teachers Institute 2020: Teaching Students to be Upstanders.

An Upstander is a person who speaks, acts or intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied. All students can learn to be upstanders by developing skills in social awareness, empathy and courage that can be applied in different situations. As educators, we must have the tools to teach upstander skills across all grade levels and provide opportunities for kids to practice the skills throughout the school year. We can provide examples of Upstanders using current events and historical examples, through role play and the arts, use peer-to-peer teaching, and connect it to the home and to the community.

Prior to COVID-19, we chose the topic of Upstanders for this year’s Summer Teachers Institute and over the past few months, we have been able to reach out to a diverse group of people for the workshop. One of the benefits of creating a virtual conference is that we are not limited to the number of participants due to the limits of physical space. Also, we do not have to worry about travel costs and we have outstanding presenters from all around the world participating in the conference this year.

Our first day of STI will kick-off with keynote speaker, Ellen Kennedy, Ph.D., from World Without Genocide, based in St Paul, MN.

Participants will learn about the organization’s mission to protect innocent people around the world and prevent genocide by combating racism and prejudice. Teachers will hear from child-survivor, Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Dr. Kassenoff is the Director of the Holocaust Teachers Institute, School of Education and Human Development at the University of Miami and will share her family’s story of escape from Europe. The afternoon will be spent with Paul Kutner, Upper School Director of Global Learning at the Bullis School who will transport the teachers to Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in south-central France. During World War II the residents of the village made a haven for Jews fleeing from Nazi persecution. Throughout the three days, teachers will have the opportunity to get into breakout sessions for discussion about classroom strategies and possible lesson plans and implementation plans.

Day Two will include presentations from our colleagues at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Center for Jewish Education.  The afternoon will include a three hour with our partners from Echoes & Reflections: Teaching the Holocaust, Inspiring the Classroom. Our teachers will be participating in a new program, Choices Matter: Complicity and Action During the Holocaust.  Our last day is a travel day in that our teachers will wake-up and go to Warsaw, Poland to meet our colleagues from the organization, Forum of Dialogue. Our teachers will learn about The School for Dialog, an innovative education program for students in secondary-level Polish schools. Students learn specifically about the role that Jewish people played in their own towns and about local history that often is completely unknown to them Presenters will share with teachers how they have succeeded in creating a unique educational initiative that combines exploring local history with confronting stereotypes, while also encouraging local activism.

Following this presentation, our teachers will have the privilege to hear second-generation testimony featuring Lola Hahn, a community member and JMM Board member. Ms. Hahn’s mother and aunt were both workers in Oskar Schindler’s factory in Poland, Teachers will have the opportunity to ask questions following Ms. Hahn’s testimony. The afternoon session will be spent with JMM educators who will share lessons plans that will be available for the classroom in fall 2020.

JMM Museum Educator Marisa Shultz demonstrating a lesson at STI2019.

Our final session, teachers will travel to Boise, Idaho to the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights and the Anne Frank Memorial. Teachers will have a virtual tour of the site and learn about the education programs at the Human Rights Center. Participants will have the opportunity to hear testimonies from survivors of contemporary genocide, and learn classroom strategies to teach about the “Spiral of Injustice” and being an Upstander.

We have a full three days planned for this year’s Summer Teachers Institute. If you know at teacher that would benefit from this professional development opportunity, please share the STI2020 Flyer along with the registration link:!

Download our Summer Teachers Institute 2020 Flier

The Summer Teachers Institute is made possible, in part, through the generous support of Judy and Jerry Macks and the Joan and Joseph Klein, Jr. Foundation. We are also very greatful for our partner organizations, including Echoes & Reflects, the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, World Without Genocide, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Forum for Dialogue.

If you have any questions about this year’s program or the Summer Teachers Institute in general, please feel free to contact the JMM’s Education Director, Ilene Dackman-Alon, email


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

My Family Story- We Have a Winner!

Posted on May 18th, 2020 by

A blog post by Director of Education Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click here.

Wow, February 27, 2020 feels like a lifetime ago when over 300 people came together  to celebrate students from three area schools who participated in the My Family Story exhibit;  an international educational initiative offered by Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of Jewish People in Tel Aviv, Israel. My Family Story offers an opportunity for students along with their families to learn about their family history and delve into the past of the Jewish people, creating a sense of belonging between their own family and the Jewish people all over the world.  The program is celebrating its 25th anniversary and connects families and Jewish communities from over 40 different countries.

Over ninety students from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, Bolton Street Synagogue and Ohr Chadash Academy participated in the annual event that has taken place at the JMM over the past six years.  Students are tasked with interviewing family members to learn about their family history and stories. The students create art installations that represent his/her family history with the help of teachers and families.

The students celebrate their work at the My Family Story exhibit here at JMM!

These projects are judged at the JMM and each school submits two winning projects to Beit Hatfutsot.  These students along with other students from around the world have the opportunity to be selected as part of the My Family Story competition in Memory of Manuel Hirsh Grosskopf in Israel. The winning students have the chance to participate in the My Family Story international awards ceremony that is held in Israel in June every year.

Some of the excellent projects presented at the 2020 My Family Story exhibit at JMM.

The participants are divided into four categories – Israel, English speaking countries, Spanish speaking countries, and Russian speaking and European countries. A small group of students was selected as winners from each category, and from these the first, second and third place will be selected. The winning works were selected by judging committees in the fields of education, art and the Jewish professional world, from among the hundreds of works submitted.

Since 2014, students from the Baltimore area have been chosen to be a part of the international exhibition, and we are so pleased to announce once again  a student from the Baltimore Jewish community has been chosen.

Mazel Tov to BZ Openden and Ohr Chadash Academy to be chosen as one of the winning projects!

Each student writes an artist statement about their project.  BZ’s statement was personal and really explains why he created the guitar that means so much to him and his family.

“The piece that I made represents how my grandfather’s guitar helped connect him to his heritage and inspired him to learn more about Judaism. If my grandfather didn’t have such a love of music, he may never have met Shlomo Carlebach, who was a large part of why my grandfather decided to learn more about his religion. The reason why I put two wolves on the front of the guitar is because I, Baruch Zev Openden, was named “Zev” after my grandfather, and “Zev” is the Hebrew word for “wolf.” The song that the wolves are singing is from the song “Am Yisrael Chai,” which was written and sung by Shlomo Carlebach.”

Due to COVID-19, students and their families are invited at attend a virtual ceremony this year that will announce the winners of the competition and to congratulate all participants from all over the world. The ceremony will be held on Wednesday June 10th .We are so proud of all of the area students that participated in the My Family Story exhibit and we are grateful to the Ronnie and Alli Russel Charitable Foundation for their support of the project.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Posted on May 7th, 2020 by

A blog post by Director of Education Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click here.


Teacher Appreciation Week recognizes the dedicated educators across the United States. Teachers play such a critical role in shaping and educating our children, who will eventually be the future leaders of our country. Teachers are kind, funny, patient, hard-working, dedicated professionals who are entrusted with the social and emotional well-being of their students. Today teachers are working harder than ever during this time of social distancing. Not only are teachers trying to provide lessons and instruction to their students, they are also checking in on their students, making sure that their students and families have enough to eat and are safe.

The education team at JMM want to give a shout out to all of the teachers across the State of Maryland and beyond to let you know that we are inspired by your hard work during this incredible time. We miss you and your students tremendously. I am reminded of other moments in history where teachers have gone beyond the scope of their classroom. Here are a few videos from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum that inspire me to think about teachers working in extraordinary times.

Landsberg DP Camp 1945-46

Jewish children at the Whittinghame Fame School- Scotland 1939

One room schoolhouse in central Poland, 1936

Pupils at the Goldschmidt School, 1937

It’s a privilege to work with you to provide resources and lessons to your students. Please feel free to reach out to us so we can continue to support you in all of the wonderful work that you do for our children.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Next Page »