Posted on August 31st, 2012 by Rachel
A blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon.
This time of year always seems so bittersweet for me with the end of summer upon us, the kids going back to school. The specific date of August 29th has so many meanings for me….. this year would be my mom, Barbara Sue Levy Dackman’s 83rdbirthday. It was also the day 7 years ago when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans; which coincided with the first day that I started to work at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.
My employment at the JMM was not something that I had intended…My connection with the JMM seven years ago was only that I had made an appointment to meet with the JMM’s family historian, Dr. Deborah Weiner of the Robert L. Weinberg Family History Center to help me in my search for my own family’s past. My father was always fascinated with his own family genealogy and was quite proud that his father, Zelig Dachmann travelled alone at age 20, to Baltimore from Dvinsk, Latvia on the Munchen, a ship that was a part of the Bremen Lines and arrived in Baltimore in March, 1899. I was delighted that I able to get a copy of the ship’s manifest from the JMM and show it to my father.
I was amazed by the breadth of information that was available for researchers at the Family History Center. Researchers have access to Baltimore City directories dating from 1752-1963; US census records for Baltimore from 1900-1930; passenger manifests of ships that arrived in the Port of Baltimore; records of Jewish cemeteries in the Greater Baltimore area; along with the communal records of birth, circumcisions, marriages and death and so much more……. I felt like a kid in a candy store- and also thought that I could spend so much time here at the JMM trying to really document my own family’s journey to Baltimore.
Fast forward -Seven years have passed since my first introduction to the Jewish Museum of Maryland and I am sad to say that I have not finished researching all that there is -but every once in awhile something reminds to go back and delve deeper into my own family’s roots.
There are places outside the JMM where you can do research from the confines of your home. The website of Jewish-Gen which is an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York offers access into many databases all over the world. I was able to locate the surname of Dachmann from Dvinsk and I found the names of my own paternal great grandfather-Jankel Mowscha and his father-Simon Dachmann. I also noted that Simon had a brother Mordechai.
The internet has really allowed us to have such an easy access to information and I decided to “google” my last name (maiden name)-and I discovered that there were many people with names are quite similar to mine, and I started to contact each one…..
Ilene Dackman and Barbara Dachman.
Last weekend-I had the opportunity to meet one of the descendants of Mordechai Dachmann-my great-great grandfather’s brother. I met Barbara Mae Dachman (a similar name to my mother) who grew up in Queens, New York and has lived in Puerto Rico over the past 25 years. Barbara was here in the US visiting her mom and sister Ileen (so weird that there are two Ilene Dackman/Dachman walking around on this planet).
Ilene and Barbara on the boardwalk – Far Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY.
I travelled to NYC and hopped on the A train to Far Rockaway Beach in Queens. We had such a delightful visit-one of those moments that you take with you and just smile….. I found Barbara to be a lovely person-her mom Lorraine was able to give us both an insight to Barbara’s father, Seymour and life living with Barbara’s paternal grandfather – Samuel Dachman, who was the only son of Mordechai Dachmann-and the nephew to my great-great grandfather, Simon Dachmann. Our visit only lasted for two hours- but I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to meet a new relative- but I also think that I have also made a life-long friend.
Ilene, Lorraine Dachman (Barbara’s mom) and Barbara.
I encourage you to visit the Robert L. Weinberg Family Research Center-it is so fascinating to touch documents from the past that bear the names of relatives that have lived before us… All of us have an immigration story-past and present. The JMM is a great place to start on your own family adventure.
Posted on July 27th, 2012 by Rachel
A blog post by Ilene Dackman-Alon, Director of Education
During the month of June, I was out of the office the entire month. On June 3rd, the JMM held its Annual Meeting and we welcomed the new Executive Director, Marvin Pinkert. Two days later, I left with my family and we travelled to Amsterdam for three days and then travelled to Tel Aviv, to stay with my husband’s family for two more weeks. My family always teases me whenever we go anywhere, I always seem to find some connection to the Museum… so I thought I would share some of the connections…….
When we travel, I love to just walk the cities to really get a feel as to how the locals live. I enjoy shopping at the flea markets and seeing all of the yummy local foods available. In Amsterdam, we wandered through many of the neighborhoods throughout the city. On our first day, we walked over to the Jordaan neighborhood where the Anne Frank Museum is located. It was raining too hard and the line was too long so we went to a flea market near the Waterlooplein and we saw local vendors selling yummy cheese and fresh fish, Holland’s Chosen Food.
Across the street from the flea market, I noticed a sign Joods Historich Museum and we ran over to the Jewish Historical Museum. We arrived five minutes too late-after Museum hours so we opted for pictures from the outside. Across the street, we saw a sign that said Portugese Synagogue. We ran to the entrance of the building- once again, the building was closed to the public - we were too late! We did notice that the building was open to a private tour – once again we opted to take pictures from the outside.
Another JMM connection – In 1665, the Portuguese Jewish Community commissioned the Portugees-Israëlietische Synagoge, an elegant brick structure within an existing courtyard. Construction took place from 1671 to 1675 under Elias Bouwman and Danield Stalpaert. When completed, the Portuguese Synagogue was the largest synagogue in the world. The synagogue was restored in the 1850s and 1950s, but has been well-preserved in its original form. Miraculously, the synagogue survived the Nazi invasion of Amsterdam in 1940 unscathed. This building dates back to 1675. I thought, WOW, this building has the JMM beat by 170 years!
From Amsterdam, we travelled east to Tel Aviv to visit with my husband’s family for the rest of our vacation. It’s hard finding time to do “touristy” things when we visit, as we have so many family obligations and commitments. However, we did manage to get to the beach a few times – a short 10 minute ride by bus – and we went to the famous Shuk HaCarmel. I love seeing the fresh produce, the amazing colors of the fruits and veggies- everything always looks so vibrant. We stopped by the Druze woman who was making fresh pita and then filled it with labane (sour cheese) and zaatar (spices). We ate our fresh pita with hummus and tabuleh…. Israel’s Chosen Food…….
One day we travelled to Jerusalem-one of the world’s oldest cities. I love walking through the streets of the Old City. I love the smells and the exotic feeling going through the shuk. I love to haggle with shop vendors.
We stopped at the Kotel (Western Wall) and stood before this impressive remnant of the outside wall surrounding the Temple Mount that was destroyed in 70 CE. by the Romans. This is one of Judaism’s most holy places and millions of people come each year to place notes and offer prayers at this historic site. JMM Connection – Another place that is older than the Lloyd Street Synagogue… This time by a whopping 1775 years!
We arrived back to the United States, I recovered quickly from jet lag and the next thing I knew I was on a train to New York City to spend a week at Columbia University as an Alfred Lerner Fellow. I attended a week-long conference on Holocaust education sponsored by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. I spent five days in intensive sessions learning about the many facets of history and pedagogy by leading scholars in their field of expertise. Many days I was wiped out by the emotionally charged sessions.
One evening, we ventured downtown and toured the National 9-11 Memorial. We were all moved by the impressive site and peacefulness of the sound of running water in the pools…. It’s still a work in progress – Something everyone should see…..
I returned to Baltimore for one night and then our home was one of the lucky tens of thousands throughout the State of Maryland that lost power. The week was exceptionally challenging with no power and record high temperatures. Last Friday evening, my husband and I went to Fells Point for dinner- to get away from the heat in the house and feel some cooler breezes from the water. After dinner, we were walking along Thames Street and I noticed a building with a bicycle dangling in the air with lots of colored glass. My friend, Loring Cornish opened three floors of gallery space with his very creative art and mosaics and I was once again reminded of the JMM- we exhibited Loring’s work in 2011, In Each Others Shoes. Friday night, Fells Point, after hours… I am reminded of work… at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.
Posted on December 16th, 2011 by Rachel
A blog post by Education and Program Director Ilene Dackman-Alon.
I can honestly say that no two weeks are ever the same at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Each week I am usually consumed with planning meetings and group visits, so I usually jump at the chance to do something different and last Sunday was one of those occasions to do something a little different.
A few days after Thanksgiving, the Executive Director of the JMM asked me if my family and I would be willing to participate in a photo-shoot for the Museum in connection with our current exhibition, Chosen Food: Cuisine, Culture and American Jewish Identity. My first instinct was to ask- why my family and exactly what would we be doing… The answer… . Having an Israeli breakfast at home with family and friends…. With an offer like this- how could I refuse?
There are many things that I love about Israel-(besides my husband, Shay who LOVES to cook) and one of them is the very extravagant Israeli breakfast. In the United States, a traditional breakfast is, bagel, lox, cream cheese, a slice of tomato and some cucumbers, or eggs served with breakfast meat and hash browns. This is NOT the traditional breakfast fare that we served at our house this past Sunday………
Photo by Elena Rosemond-Hoerr
There was not a bagel in sight- just a few loaves of earthy, crusty bread. Lots of veggies, sliced tomatoes, onions, cukes, red peppers on a platter in addition to Israeli salad with tomatoes, cucumbers onions and lettuce slices in very small pieces drizzled with olive oil, lemon and salt and pepper.
We served homemade burekas (that my friend Ayela taught me how to make almost 20 years ago). Burekas are small puffed pastries that can be filled with anything that you like, sweet or savory. I made cheese burekas and added some garlic to the cheese and we also served potato burekas.
Eggs came in a lot of varieties at our breakfast. First, Shay made haveeta (omelette) with lots and lots of parsley and feta cheese. It was cooked to perfection with such a beautiful green color.
We served hard boiled eggs that are traditionally served with burekas. In addition, Shay made shakshooka –a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, and lots of cumin. It is believed to have Algerian and Tunisian origins. It was yummy and pretty as a picture.
We served jachnun – a traditional Yemenite Jewish dish prepared from rolled dough which is baked on very low heat for about ten hours. The dough is rolled out thinly, brushed with shortening and rolled up, similar to puff pastry. It turns a dark amber color and has a slightly sweet taste. It is traditionally served with a crushed/grated tomato dip, hard boiled eggs and schkrug, a hot sauce.
We celebrated the morning with mimosas. We drank Turkish coffee and finished the meal with fruit salad, coffee cake and rugelach. A perfect way to start our Sunday with family and friends! -Israeli Breakfast Style!
Above photos by Will Kirk.