9th Annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration: Stateless

Posted on April 30th, 2015 by

Stateless

Stateless

On Sunday, April 26, the JMM in partnership with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore, the Gordon Center for Performing Arts and the Baltimore Jewish Film Festival held the 9th annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration. Each year, thanks the generosity of Helen and Frank Risch, the JMM holds a program exploring immigration. Past programs have featured scholars, activists, storytellers and performers. This year we presented a film screening, Stateless, that documents a little known story that impacted tens of thousands of Soviet Jewish immigrants who sought safe haven in the US in the late 1980s.

Michael and Victoria Drob with Frank Risch

Michael and Victoria Drob with Frank Risch

Stateless’s director, Michael Drob, was inspired by his own personal experiences as a child when his parents made the difficult decision to emigrate from Latvia to the US in 1988. The document features interviews with several families – including his parents – who describe how difficult life was under the Soviets, the challenges they faced leaving and the chaos they encountered as they passed through customs and boarded trains on their way to Vienna and then Italy. Sadly for many immigrants, the situation did not improve in Italy as their applications for visas to the US were denied because they were forced to prove that they had been persecuted in the Soviet Union. Thousands of immigrants found themselves stranded in Italy for many months until the US policy changed following the passage of legislation and they were allowed to proceed to the US.

Panelists fielding questions from the audience.

Panelists fielding questions from the audience

Audience member asking question

Audience member asking question

We were privileged to have three distinguished guests in attendance with ties to the film– director, Michael Drob; author, Lev Golinkin; and HIAS director, Mark Hetfield – who participated in a panel discussion following the film. The three panelists shared additional insight about the events depicted in the film and fielded questions from curious audience members. Attendees also had the opportunity to purchase copies of Mr. Golinkin’s book, A Backpack, A Bear and Eight Crates of Vodka which details his experiences as a child refugee from the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Author Lev Golinkin

Author Lev Golinkin

The Gordon Center proved to be a beautiful setting for the program and we were delighted to see more than 400 people in attendance including representation from Baltimore’s Russian community. I was moved to hear so many people speak of their own personal experiences as immigrants during this time period. Many more talked about how surprised they were to learn about the events depicted in the film.

Frank and Helen Risch

Frank and Helen Risch

Frank and Helen Risch established the Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program in order to honor Frank’s parents who were refugees from Germany who escaped to Baltimore in the 1930s. Each year’s program shines a light on the importance of immigration to contemporary Jewish life and inspires conversation and dialog on this topic. We are grateful to the Risches for giving us this opportunity.

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Once Upon a Time…08.02.2013

Posted on February 4th, 2014 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager and Registrar at 410.732.6400 x226 or jzink@jewishmuseummd.org.

2006.013.2195.Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: August 2, 2013

PastPerfect Accession #:  2006.013.2195

 

Status: Do you know them? Drop us a line if you recognize any of these babysitters or children from the JCC. Photo taken in August, 1977.

 

 

 

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Student Visits to the JMM!

Posted on October 28th, 2013 by

This week, the Jewish Museum of Maryland welcomed students from Mount Washington Middle School and the Jewish Community Center to visit our exhibitions and synagogue.

6th grade students learning about the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue (Photo courtesy of Mr. Kaiser).

6th grade students learning about the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue (Photo courtesy of Mr. Kaiser).

On Monday, students from the 6th grade class at Mt Washington Middle School, along with their wonderful teacher Mr.Kaiser, learned about the American Civil War, American immigration history from here in Baltimore, and toured the Lloyd Street synagogue, the oldest synagogue in our entire state.

While in our new exhibition “Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War,” the students saw a glimpse of the war that most had not seen, the role of Jewish people in the Civil War. Here the students participated in two hands-on learning activities. First, students read a letter written by a girl to her father who was off in the war and then the students wrote a similar letter of their own. Second, the 6th graders created their own civil war monument just like the many monuments that can be found at battlefields across the country.

Next, the students learned more about the life of a Jewish immigrant right here in Baltimore, Maryland in the Voices of Lombard Street exhibition. While making their way through the exhibition, the students participated in a scavenger hunt to enhance the tour.

Finally, the 6th grade took a tour of the Lloyd Street synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the state of Maryland and the third oldest synagogue in the entire country. On their tour, the students learned about the essential parts of a synagogue, the history of the building, and hidden aspects of the building that have been revealed through archeological work. To go along with the tour, the students participated in an archeological activity in which they did a mock excavation to find artifacts that are in the museum’s collection.

For more information on the 6th grade’s visit to the museum, head over to Mr. Kaiser’s blog.

Searching through the Voices of Lombard Street exhibition while on a scavenger hunt (Photo courtesy of Mr. Kaiser).

Searching through the Voices of Lombard Street exhibition while on a scavenger hunt (Photo courtesy of Mr. Kaiser).

Gettysburg might have over 1200 monuments and markers, but its got nothing on this one made by Mount Washington Middle (Photo courtesy of Mr. Kaiser).

Gettysburg might have over 1200 monuments and markers, but its got nothing on this one made by Mount Washington Middle (Photo courtesy of Mr. Kaiser).

Smile and say "Synagogue!"

Smile and say “Synagogue!”

On Wednesday, kindergartners from the Jewish Community Center (JCC) came to learn about immigration here in Baltimore and tour the historic Lloyd Street synagogue

First, the students toured the upstairs of the synagogue and participated in a scavenger hunt activity. Next, the students went downstairs to the Synagogue Speaks exhibition to learn more about the history of the building and participate in hands-on learning activities. The kindergartners built a new synagogue of out blocks, modified the Star of David stained glass window that can be found in the synagogue, and used matching cards to learn more about Jewish religious objects.

After their tour of the synagogue, the students explored the Voices of Lombard Street exhibition to learn more about life of Jewish immigrants here in Baltimore, Maryland. In the exhibit, the kindergartners played dress up with historic clothes and partook in another scavenger hunt.

Students viewing a copy of the Torah.

Students viewing a copy of the Torah.

Redesigning a new version of the Lloyd Street Synagogue out of blocks.

Redesigning a new version of the Lloyd Street Synagogue out of blocks.

Students making their own version of the Star of David stained glass window found in the upstairs of the synagogue.

Students making their own version of the Star of David stained glass window found in the upstairs of the synagogue.

Looking into the chicken cage in the market section of Voices of Lombard Street.

Looking into the chicken cage in the market section of Voices of Lombard Street.

Both groups of students seemed to have a great time exploring and learning at the museum this week. It was truly a pleasure to have both groups at the museum and we can’t wait for them to come back again soon!

A blog post by fall education intern Andrew Hallman. To read more posts by interns, click here.

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