A Busy Week for Education at the JMM!

Posted on March 15th, 2013 by

ileneA blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon.

The JMM’s education program provides high quality experiential education experiences for students of all backgrounds in grades PreK-12. Education is an integral part of the Museum’s mission, and we consider school groups to be our highest priority audience.  Each year we serve approximately 7,000 students and teachers from public, private, and parochial schools through on-site field trips and outreach services. The majority of participating students are not Jewish, and our educational programs introduce students to Jewish history, traditions, and religion as a means increasing their awareness and appreciation of the culture and experiences of a minority group.   front

All JMM educational programs align with the Maryland State Curriculum’s social studies and English language arts goals and standards. Our resources also align with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts/Literacy. Furthermore, the JMM is a member of the Maryland State Department of Education’s prestigious State Aided Educational Institutions (SAI) program, a testimony to the high quality of our educational programs and their relevance to classroom learning state-wide.

Because we believe in the importance of cultural enrichment programs for all children, regardless of income or background, the JMM has invested heavily in subsidized programming for students in City schools. We are proud of our track record of providing free field trips and outreach activities to all participating Baltimore City schools including unlimited admission and program fee waivers and transportation subsidies. For many schools, this valuable financial assistance is needed in order to make field trips possible.

This past week has been a wonderful example of our education department in action.  Our Museum educators welcomed adult and school groups everyday this week (including Sunday) from all part of the State of Maryland and beyond.

This past Sunday, we welcomed an adult group from Tiferet Israel, a synagogue group from  the Washington D.C. area that was interested in learning about the history of Jewish life in Maryland – and in particular The Jew Bill.  The group met with JMM’s Executive Director, Marvin Pinkert about one of Maryland’s most important bills in early American life in this country.  With the adoption of the federal Bill of Rights in 1787, which ensured freedom of religion to all American citizens, such restrictions on the holding of public office in Maryland–including military service and the practice of law–became blatantly unconstitutional to the Jewish people, as it required that public office holders to swear an oath of allegiance to Christianity. Not until the Maryland legislature passed the “Jew Bill” in 1826, Jewish public officials were allowed to swear a substitute oath, and Jews achieved full civic equality in the state.


On Monday, we welcomed Israeli teens from Ashkelon (our sister city in Israel) that are participating in the Diller Baltimore Teen Fellows, a leadership program of the Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC) through THE ASSOCIATED.   This innovative program for 11th graders is designed to inspire leadership among Jewish youth in our community. Focusing on social action, community involvement and Jewish learning, this year-long program includes a three-week summer seminar in Israel. These teens and their Baltimore counterparts visited the JMM to learn about the history of the Jewish life in Baltimore and to see the travelling exhibit, Zap, Pow, Bam: The Superhero: Comic Books from 1938-1950.

On Tuesday, the entire student body of the Baltimore Hebrew Day School came to see the exhibit, Zap, Pow, Bam and learned about the Jewish creators and illustrators of the early comic book heroes.  The students also learned about the hero’s journey and compared that journey to heroes mentioned in the Bible.


On Wednesday, we welcomed high-school students from St. Francis Academy who came to participate in one of our core-programs – Introduction to Judaism – an exploration of Jewish history, religion, and culture that takes place in the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue (Maryland’s first synagogue, built in 1845) along with The Immigrant Experience – A tour of both the Lloyd Street and B’nai Israel (1876) Synagogues that focuses on Baltimore’s role as a vibrant gateway for Jewish immigrants and how these buildings are reflections of the diverse immigrant communities – including a Lithuanian Catholic congregation – that occupied them.

On Thursday, we welcomed a small group from the Calvary Christian Academy located in Cumberland, Maryland who also came to the JMM to participate in our Introduction to Judaism program and to learn about the creators and illustrators of the comic books of the Golden Age. Following their visit, to us, the group travelled over to the other side of the Inner Harbor to explore the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Finally, on Friday, we welcomed over 100 fourth graders from Hamilton Elementary who also come to the JMM to learn about the synagogue buildings and the immigrant groups that used them.  After their experience at the Museum, the students and their teachers walked over to one of the local delicatessens to enjoy a good old corned beef sandwich on Lombard Street!  All in all over 250 students and adults visited the JMM to participate in our education programs!


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Be A Super Hero: Part-Time Museum Educators at the JMM

Posted on January 20th, 2013 by

The Jewish Museum of Maryland has part-time Museum Educator positions available! The Museum Educator will be expected to give a variety of tours   to a wide range of school audiences. This spring, the galleries will house the Voices of Lombard Street exhibitZap, Pow, Bam and The Synagogue Speaks.  Museum Educators will  also help facilitate education programs in our exhibition galleries.  In addition to facilitating school groups, the Museum Educator will help with the creation of developmentally  appropriate activities that are relevant to our exhibits and our historic sites.  Museum Educators will also have opportunities to  lead general  public tours.  Museum Educators will be paid at the rate of $15.00 per hour.

Please email Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon at idackmanalon@jewishmuseummd.org to apply. Include the subject line: Museum Educator Positions and attach a resume, cover letter, and three references.

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Happy New Year and Happy Birthday!

Posted on January 4th, 2013 by

A blog post by Director of Education Ilene Dackman-Alon.

Happy  New Year!  I believe that this is the first blog post for 2013….  Many families are returning from celebrating the holidays and are enjoying getting back to the routine of school and work.  I am secretly still celebrating even after the first of the year – because my birthday (SHHH… don’t tell anyone  J) follows a few days after New Year’s Day!

I love birthdays – I love celebrating with family and friends;  I love blowing out the candles on the cake; and I even love getting presents…  I wondered if there were examples of how birthdays might have been celebrated in the past.  I checked out Past Perfect  (a search engine  on the JMM’s website)- http:///jmm.pastperfect-online.com/00005cgi/mweb.exe?request=ks –  and I entered the search term “birthday” .  I was so amazed that I found 209 “hits” or items came up that were part of the JMM’s vast collection.   Here is just a smattering of some of the interesting things that I found.


This is a porcelain vase showing Blanche Bamburger in the photograph, with signatures of her friends. The vase was presented to Blanche on her 18th birthday in 1893. I guess this type of gift predates the “autograph doll.”

Close up of signatures, 1996.029.001



This is a silver Kiddush cup, with  goldwashed interior, made by the Baltimore Sterling Silver Company (Steiff Co.).  The cup includes  Hebrew text: “From the Board of Rabbis this cup has been prepared as a blessing. It is given on the occasion of the 70th birthday to its chief, our teacher, Rabbi Benjamin Szold, 1899, the 18th day in Heshvan.”  I thought this was very cool- I have my mom’s Stieff silver and everyday coming home from work, I  see the neon sign that says STIEFF as you travel north on the Jones Falls Expressway!


This picture is from the collection of Rabbi Benjamin Szold’s papers – and shows Henrietta Szold planting the 83rd tree in the Henrietta Szold Forest at Maaleh HaChamishah on the occasion of her 82nd birthday, December 21, 1942. ” She’s Baltimore’s own Hometown Girl!


This is a black and white photograph of the window display at Enoch Pratt Free Library for Israel’s 10th Birthday, from April 15 through May 5, 1958. Photography by Sussman-Ochs.  This picture is from the Lester Levy Family Papers.  I don’t think that the staff at the library did an accurate fact check…. Israel became an independent state on May 14/15 1948.


This is black and white photograph of Rose Kornblatt with  some of her students receiving birthday spankings at Public School #20, Baltimore, MD; caption on reverse:  ” Happy Birthday” - I am certain that today that this Mrs. Kornblatt would be terminated from teaching if she gave out “birthday spankings” with a switch to her students.


This is a black and white photograph of Louis E. Shecter holding a Japanese drawing wishing Pablo Picasso a happy birthday. The drawing was created in Osaka, Japan and mailed to Picasso by Shecter in October 1966. How COOL is that!


A birthday celebration for Dr. Louis Kaplan on the occasion of his 90th birthday. Take a look at who is standing on the podium with Dr. Kaplan- Elie Wiesel spoke that evening at the celebration honoring Dr. Kaplan, who was a leading Jewish educator here in Baltimore.


This color photograph is of Jenya Berdichevsky, Sophia Richen, at Fania’s apartment for celebration of Fania’s son Tamenie’s first birthday, June 1993. I love how busy this photograph is….. with so much food and libation!


This is a Pin the Tail on the Donkey game made of paper. It belonged to Naomi B. Cohen (my friend Maxine’s mother) it was used at birthday parties for both Maxine and her brothers, Dr. Howard B. Cohen and Jack S. Cohen. I played this game at birthday parties when I was a youngster many years ago!

Here’s to another birthday for me but more importantly –best wishes to all for a Happy & Healthy New Year 2013!l

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