A Naturalization Ceremony to Remember

Posted on June 20th, 2017 by

A blog post by Education Interns Sara Philippe and Erin Penn.

Program

Program

Today, June 20th 2017, the Jewish Museum of Maryland was lucky and honored to host a Naturalization ceremony especially in light of the fact that today is also World Refugee Day. Twenty-eight new Americans were welcomed and embraced by their families and our community. The ceremony kicked off with a welcome from our executive director Marvin Pinkert. He shared his own family heritage as he told the story of his grandmother Ida, who emigrated from Lithuania. Then, Raha Mirzadegan led the crowd in the Star-Spangled Banner with her strong, beautiful voice. Her rich vocals struck a cord bringing many people to tears.  The Immigration Services Assistant, Iyabode Sodipo read the names of the seventeen countries from which the immigrants hailed. These countries included Nigeria, China, Belarus, and the Dominican Republic. The room vibrated with excitement as the candidates stood up and were applauded upon hearing the name of their country of origin. As the candidates recited the Oath of Allegiance, the gravity and the importance of this event rang true. The new Americans pronounced their love for the United States and their willingness to “support and defend” it.

Taking the Oath of Allegiance

Taking the Oath of Allegiance

Martha Weiman, this event’s keynote speaker, shared her own immigration story: she emigrated with her family from Germany to the United States during the Holocaust. She offered her personal ties to naturalization and the American Dream as a parallel to the stories of the 28 people being granted citizenship.  The Baltimore community jumped into the ceremony again as the Museum’s community partner, City Springs Elementary and Middle School students led the new citizens and the rest of the attendees in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. This wonderful ceremony concluded as Bari Myers from the local Immigration Services Office handed out the Certificates of citizenship. Each person joyfully leaped up to receive his or her document. Some walked up with their children, others with an American flag. One man collected his certificate in his wheel chair. All were excited to take pictures with their certificates, families, and the American flag following the end of the ceremony.

Some of the happy families celebrating their new citizen!

Some of the happy families celebrating their new citizen!

This ceremony brought to life the immigrant experience for us. While the Jewish Museum’s Voices of Lombard Street exhibit displays the life of the immigrants from the turn of the century, this event put into perspective the hopes, dreams, fears, and other emotions involved in the immigrant experience today. These people who were granted citizenship today accomplished a huge dream, surely having overcome many obstacles; they have left their country, learned a new language, and vowed to support the United States. Both of us have a great grandmother who emigrated from Lithuania. They and their families traveled across the ocean to an unknown world in order for a better life and security. This ceremony today reminded us of our history and provided a chance to discover the true significance and continuation of the American dream.

Die cut card of an immigration scene, 1909 by the Heb. Publishing Company. Lady Liberty opens a metal gate for the family, while an American eagle watches overhead. JMM 1997.101.3

Die cut card of an immigration scene, 1909 by the Heb. Publishing Company. Lady Liberty opens a metal gate for the family, while an American eagle watches overhead. JMM 1997.101.3

 

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Family Fare: Baltimore Jewish Food Businesses Side Bar 3

Posted on June 5th, 2017 by

Article by Jennifer Vess. Originally published in Generations 2011 – 2012: Jewish Foodways

Side Bar: Benjamin Bober: “Milkmen them days, it wasn’t like today”

Miss the beginning? Start here.

Unidentified woman posing with milk can, c.1924. JMM 1998.47.7.1

Unidentified woman posing with milk can, c.1924. JMM 1998.47.7.1

“We landed on Ellis Island, and they brought us from there here to Baltimore…to my aunt.  And her husband then was a milkman.  And milkmen them days it wasn’t like today.  It was small milkmen that used to go around with milk – two cans and a little pint measure.  And you had your customers.  There was a lot of them milkmen around…. And then when I came, the first thing my uncle did was, he took me along with him…. Now when it came to Highlandtown there was already bigger milkmen.  There was milkmen that had maybe fifty cows or more.  And they used to deliver to these little milkmen….  Everybody, amongst the Jewish milk people, mostly all walked.  I think there was one had a horse and wagon….. I used to carry a can and a pint measure.  And whatever the woman wanted I would come in the house and give her whatever she wanted…. I didn’t get paid from my uncle.  I just used to help him…

See now, my mother at that time she had a little milk store.  And there was some in that neighborhood they used to come for milk and she would also sell butter….

I was in the fourth grade when my mother married a man that used to have a little farm…. On Johnnycake Road.  And that was a little Jewish settlement, [Yaazor]…. Now my stepfather, he tried to make a living from the farm itself.  He used to raise what he could, like tomatoes and corn.  And he used to have a couple of cows.  They used to make cream and cheese…. Now later on, when I got older…stepfather allowed me to have cows.  And…my mother helped and I used to also make cream cheese and butter.  I used to come in town and I had my customers,….

And then I had a cousin that had a store in the city, a little dry goods store and…I used to take care of that little store…. it was easier for her to have somebody to look after the store while she was…in the house, she didn’t have to run back and forth….

I bought a great big farm with a hundred and seventy acres [on Old Annapolis Road].  And…course I had people working for us…. That was a different farm altogether.  That was a gentlemen’s farm…. And the men used to work on the farm.  The women used to do the picking….. And…we farmed in nineteen-twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two.  I think three years we farmed it…. I had a grocery store before I bought the farm.  I had a grocery store on Monroe Street.  That was during the war.  And the troops came out, and I had the flu, I was very sick.  A lot of people died.  When I came out I just wanted to get out…and that’s how this farm was advertised.  And we went and looked at it and we got together and we bought it.  We didn’t have enough money, we had to borrow money, get mortgages on the farm…. we used to send loads of stuff in.  To Marsh Market and they used to sell it…. Now when I bought the farm there was also a lot of cows.  I’d also run the dairy then…we used to sell the milk [to]…Snesil Dairy…. And then we used to raise a lot of vegetables, like we used to have mules and big wagons, we used to send them in to the wholesale market….

Then, we left the farm, and I went, went back to the grocery business.  And my partner was a baker and he went back to the bakery business…. I held onto the farm for about forty years…. I owned it.  And I, I had this farmer that used to farm it….”

~Excerpted from Oral History 161, Benjamin Bober July 29, 1982

Continue to Side Bar: Gordon Salganik: “People in Washington didn’t know what to do with a brisket”

 

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Family Fare: Baltimore Jewish Food Businesses Part 5

Posted on May 22nd, 2017 by

Article by Jennifer Vess. Originally published in Generations 2011 – 2012: Jewish Foodways

Part V: Mechanization and Innovation: “He had to get more machines to keep producing.”[1]

Miss parts 1-4? Start here.

Hendler’s Creamery brochure, “A Picture Story of One of Baltimore’s Leading Industries: The Most Modern Ice Cream Plant in the World.” Hendler’s has been called the first fully automated ice-cream plant. Courtesy of Samuel Boltansky. JMM 2001.50.1

Hendler’s Creamery brochure, “A Picture Story of One of Baltimore’s Leading Industries: The Most Modern Ice Cream Plant in the World.” Hendler’s has been called the first fully automated ice-cream plant. Courtesy of Samuel Boltansky. JMM 2001.50.1

In 1900 electricity and automobiles were exciting and new and beyond the reach of most people and businesses.  New immigrants didn’t just start small, they started low-tech by today’s standards – sometimes even by the standards of their day.  Bakers used wood-burning stoves, dairymen delivered on foot or, if they were lucky, by horse and cart, sausages were stuffed by hand, and delis used iceboxes.  But as soon as money and technology allowed, small and large businesses alike took up electricity and mechanization.  This wasn’t just a fad, it was a necessity to keep pace with the rest of the business world, and even more necessary for those who wanted to expand.

Oven inside Pariser’s Bakery, 2011 – a big change from the early days of wood burning ovens. Photo by Ilene Dackman-Alon. JMM CP 28.2011.001

Oven inside Pariser’s Bakery, 2011 – a big change from the early days of wood burning ovens. Photo by Ilene Dackman-Alon. JMM CP 28.2011.001

While most family businesses installed electric ovens, refrigerators, and packing machines invented by others, some Baltimore families created their own machines and systems to handle the unique needs of their businesses.  Both Hendlers Creamery and Tulkoff’s Horseradish Products Company had engineers (by practice or training) in the family.  Martin Tulkoff, son of the founder of the company, did not have an advanced degree in engineering but he invented several pieces of equipment to make the plant more efficient.  Other companies bought these patented machines for their own production, in particular the Shrink-O-Matic.[2]  Hendler’s was so proud of being the first fully automated ice-cream plant that they created a brochure that described the electrification and mechanization of their plant on Baltimore Street.  The company claimed a number of ‘firsts’—the first to install the Fast Frozen method, the first to use refrigerated trucks for transportation (which they developed in their own plant), and more.[3] Albert Hendler remembered that his father, L. Manuel Hendler, “though he didn’t know it, designed the first air conditioning system.  That was not his original intention.  His purpose was to devise a method for protecting the ice cream plant from flies.  To compensate for closing it off to the outside, he ventilated the building by blowing in air which traveled through ducts connected to coils.  In wintertime heat was produced by steam, and in summer brine pumped through the coils cooled the interior.”[4]

CP 22.2011.001 – Shrink-O-Matic

CP 22.2011.001 – Shrink-O-Matic

Mechanization was only one way to keep up.  Business innovation takes many forms and even if Baltimore Jewish food businesses weren’t at the pinnacle of technological advancements they were sometimes innovators in terms of products.  Before Tulkoff no one had bottled horseradish, before Gustav Brunn no one had Old Bay, before Fannie Cohen no had tasted a coddie.  Product development was, and still is, as important to business as technological change.

Continue to Part VI: Marketing and Expansion: “We have to expand whether we want to or not.”

Notes:

[1] Ralph Brunn speaking  about his father, Gustav and Ralph Brunn interview, May 7, 1980, OH 112, JMM.

[2]  Martin Morse Wooster, “Roots to Riches: The Tulkoff Family has made horseradish a big business,” Country, May 1984, pg. 21-23; Paula Span, “The Tigers of Lombard Street” Baltimore Magazine, November 1979 pg. 178-180

[3] Baltimore Jewish Times, May 1, 1941, pg. 17

[4] Albert Henlder with Amalie Ascher, “Ice Cream Days,” The Sun Magazine, July 26, 1981

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