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JMM Insights: 3…2…1…Blast Off!

Posted on September 11th, 2020 by

The Space Shuttle Endeavour blasts off from pad 39A at 8:56 am on May 16, 2011. This was the final flight for Endeavour. Courtesy of NASA.

Can you feel the excitement? We’re practically buzzing with it as we count down the hours until we open Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit! (72 hours from the launch of this newsletter, to be precise.) Coronavirus may have delayed us, but this exhibit was just too cool not to share and our team wasn’t going to let something like a pandemic stop us from creating a unique, engaging, and safe experience.

As a special thank-you to our members, we shared early access to reserving tickets to come and see the exhibit in person. As of today, however, we’ve opened up tickets to everyone. Entry is limited, to keep everyone safe, so we highly recommend you purchase your tickets asap to get the dates and times that work best for you.

For this edition of JMM Insights, we wanted to highlight some truly excellent Jews in Space experiences we think you’ll enjoy, plus some bonus gallery sneak peeks!

Just a few “peeks” into the gallery while the team is hard at work installing the exhibit.

Even with important safety precautions, we know that an in-person visit isn’t for everyone right now – which is why we’re offering special Jews in Space virtual tours, presented live with a JMM staff member. There are two different ways to experience this unique digital exploration:

1. Schedule an exclusive virtual tour for you and a group. Fill out this form and a staff member will contact you to schedule!

2. Register for one of our pre-scheduled virtual tours – we’ll be offering virtual tours once a month as part of our public programming.

>Register for a virtual tour on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 3:00pm HERE.

>Register for a virtual tour on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 3:00pm HERE.


Did you know that Jews in Space has a companion website?

Here you’ll find opportunities to explore more deeply some things from the exhibit itself, like the extensive timeline of Jews and space and the expanding map of Maryland’s space connections, as well as a handy list of our upcoming space-related public programs (plus links to previously recorded programs) and info on our available virtual education space offerings.

We’ve also included activities to deepen your engagement with Jews in Space beyond a museum (or virtual) visit. From our family-centered Wondernauts badge program to our Upstanders Bookworm project, we hope you’ll dive in and try out some hands-on fun.

Enjoy a “close encounter” with some of the exhibits objects and details!

Creating Klingon:

A Conversation with its Jewish Inventor
Members-Only Special Event

Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 7:00pm EST

Speaker: Marc Okrand

Registration for this Live Stream Event Opening Soon.

Not yet a member?

Sign up online at the JMM website or contact JMM Membership Coordinator Sue Foard at / 443-873-5162.

You already belong, why not make it official!

Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 7:00pm EST

Presented by the Stoop Storytelling Series

Register for this Live Stream Event Now.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm EST

Speaker: Dr. Arnold Blumberg

Register for this Live Stream Event Now

The Maryland presentation of this exhibit is made possible in part by the generous support of a gift in memory of Patrick J. Kelly Jr., a Baltimore Science Fiction Society Founder; The Joseph & Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds; PNC Greater Maryland; Larry Boltansky.

Additional funding from: Greif Family Fund; Kutler Family Philanthropic Fund; The Kaplan-Kronsberg Family Charitable Fund; A gift in memory of Jim Guy; Emelie Schwab & Family in Memory of James Schwab; Harriet Stulman; Philip Tulkoff; Julian H. Krolik and Elaine F. Weiss Philanthropic Fund; Annette and Michael Saxon Fund.  

Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 7:00 pm EST

Hosted Live by WYPR’s Sheilah Kast

Register for this Special Live Stream Event Here

This special online event will feature memories, stories, and statements from a host of characters with a connection to Maryland’s oldest synagogue. From its inception to its near eradication to its rebirth as a site of learning, by turns contentious, mundane, or spiritual, the stories of the Lloyd Street Synagogue will fascinate and inspire you. Be a part of the celebration honoring this one-of-a-kind landmark.



Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Space from the Sunshine State

Posted on August 27th, 2020 by

Blog post by Program Assistant Laura Grant. To read more posts from Laura, click here.

As we at JMM anticipate the opening of our next exhibit, Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit, I’m drawn to reminisce about the role space exploration has played in my own life.  One of the unique things about growing up in Central Florida was the ability to see space shuttle and rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center, located in Cape Canaveral. Most of the time, I saw the launches from afar, either at my home with my family or with teachers and students at school.

View of a rocket launch from my front yard

I loved the ritual we created for the launches. My family and I would turn on the TV to watch the countdown on the large clock and listen to the pre-launch checks and preparations. A few minutes before the launch, we would place our shoes by the front door so that we would be ready to run outside following a successful “lift off.” Once outside, we would have to wait a few moments before the exhaust was visible in the sky. We would be joined by our neighbors and would gather in the street looking up and the sky and asking, “Can you see anything yet?” Suddenly, a cloud of exhaust and a small speck of the shuttle would emerge from the trees. My family along with our neighbors would all look and point upwards, and occasionally someone would bring out a telescope so we could get a closer look.

The big countdown clock at Kennedy Space Center

Once, as a small child, I got the special treat of watching a space shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral. Unfortunately, I was only 18 months old at the time, so I don’t remember the experience. According to my mom, my family got tickets to see the launch because my grandfather worked with an uncle of one of the astronauts, Kevin Kregel.

View of the launch from Kennedy Space Center

The launch was set for 10:49AM, and we tried to get there 2 hours ahead of time to ensure we could get a good viewing spot. As you might be able to tell from this photo of me before the launch, it was a typical hot summer Florida day. Not only was I too young to remember the launch, I also fell asleep right before takeoff.

Me, looking hot and tired while waiting for the launch

However, I do have fond memories of coming together with my neighbors or classmates to watch space shuttle and rocket launches over the years. I was reminded of this sense of shared connection and wonder recently with the launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at the end of May. While, I couldn’t see the launch from my parent’s home in Florida, I tuned in along with countless others across the United States and the world to watch astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley become the first humans to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. My parents reported that they ran outside just like we used to in order to see the launch in the sky. Their favorite part, though, was catching up with neighbors (at a distance) who they hadn’t seen or spoken to in months due to COVID-19. Growing up, that was always my favorite part too. While the space shuttle or rocket and its smoke trails were only visible for a few minutes, conversation could linger for an hour. And while I couldn’t participate in-person this time, it was nice to be reminded of this shared sense of connection and community as I witnessed millions of people watching and commenting on the live broadcast of the launch.

SpaceX launch from May

I think that sense of awe and fascination we all feel watching launches or seeing astronauts on the International Space Station, provides a sense of connectedness, which now is more important than ever. And, I hope you will feel that same sense of connection,  whether over the first Jewish astronauts in space, the long history of Jewish involvement in the genre of science fiction, or the important role Marylanders have played in space exploration, when you experience the Jews in Space exhibit, in-person and/or virtually.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

JMM Insights: The Wonders of Space in Maryland

Posted on July 31st, 2020 by

This week’s JMM Insights, the last in our space-focused series celebrating the anniversary of the first moon landing, is all about Maryland.

Did you know the Space Telescope Science Institute was established in Baltimore? This community-focused science center was instrumental in the creation and launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.

You might be surprised to discover just how many Maryland connections there are to the exploration, discovery, and research of space. From the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt to the International Latitude Observatory in Gaithersburg, Marylanders are committed to the Wonders of Space!

Image: The Hubble Space Telescope, with Earth in the background, in a photo taken by the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on May 19, 2009. Courtesy of NASA. 

In case you missed it or want to share the experience with friends and family, here’s the recording of last week’s dive into all the questions, big and small, about How to Be Jewish in Space.

In case you missed it or want to share the experience with friends and family, here’s the recording of last week’s dive into all the questions, big and small, about How to Be Jewish in Space. And we’ll have the recording for last night’s ultimate behind-the-scenes event with Tracie Guy-Decker and Trillion Attwood up soon!

Most importantly: Keep your eyes on the calendar for the official opening of Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit! This exciting exhibit will open for public visitation in September. We can’t wait to see you.

For this week’s hands-on feature, we want to build on your role as Citizen Scientists!

First, ask yourself: Why Do We Explore? Create your own explorer’s journal to capture your observations and adventures discovering the world and skies around you.

Then try the highlighted activities below focused on our own Maryland skies:

Bonus: Learn about space probes in this video from National Geographic, then try your hand at designing a probe of your own!

Exhibit Sneak Peek:

Don Engel and Marianne Cheportes were married in Baltimore on June 12, 2011.

“My wife and I (being physicists) made our ketubah together using deep space imagery. Our ketubah has an infinity in the foreground which the constellation Orion inside it and has the Orion nebula in the background. It’s tri-lingual because my wife is a Sephardic Jew from France, so we have English, French, and the traditional Aramaic.”

Ketubah, 2011. On loan from Don and Marianne Engel. JMM L2020.6.1.

A Name to Know:

“The Mother of Hubble,” astronomer Nancy Grace Roman (1925-2018), has strong Maryland ties: not only did she live in the DC suburbs as an adult, but she also attended Baltimore’s Western High School, graduating in 1943.

Roman was the first woman executive at NASA, serving as Chief of Astronomy in NASA’s Office of Space Science at Goddard, among other positions during her long career.

LEGO version of Nancy Grace Roman, with the Hubble Telescope and an image of a planetary nebula, 2017. On loan from the Church family. JMM L2020.3.2.


Celebrate Maryland and Baltimore with a new book or some custom swag! All purchases help support the Museum.

Don’t see something you’re interested in at the online shop? Contact Shop Manager Chris Sniezek at and let us know.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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