JMM Insights: Shammes or Shamus?*

Posted on April 15th, 2016 by

Starting May 1st!

From May 1 to July 10, 2016, our Historic Jonestown neighbor, the Carroll Mansion will be transformed into a showcase for some of the most innovative manufacturers and craftsmen in Baltimore and across the nation. The Mansion has been designated the “All American House” by the MADE: In America organization.  To celebrate, the city invited other historic sites to participate in presenting “Baltimore’s American Treasures.”  We couldn’t resist recognizing our own Lloyd Street Synagogue as the “All American Synagogue.

Built in 1845, the Lloyd Street Synagogue is the third oldest Jewish house of worship still standing in the United States.  The building was designed by Robert Cary Long Jr., a prominent architect of churches during that time. Nearly every component of the original building along with the 1860 renovation and addition were the result of American craft and manufacturers.

For several months a great team of interns and staff have been scouring  through records and photos related to the material culture of the building and its contents.  By “material culture” we mean the physical evidence of a culture; and the interpretation of objects and the social context in which they were made and employed.

Article on re-dedication of the Lloyd Street Synagogue, 1905

Our research included Baltimore City Directories from 1843-1845; newspapers, congregational  minutes, Maryland Historical Society archives, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Archives, and the JMM’s own thorough research files, etc. The building has had such an extensive history, serving first as a traditional synagogue founded by German immigrants, and transformed later into a congregation that embraced reform traditions. The building was later sold to a Lithuanian Catholic Church and years later sold again to immigrants from Eastern Europe that transformed the building into a thriving center for Jewish tradition in East Baltimore.  Each of the congregations used local manufacturers and craftsmen to build and design many of the elements featured in the buildings like the Holy Ark, the organ, and the pews.

Bell illustration by Jonathon Scott Fuqua

We’ve come up with many fresh insights, but found ourselves still struggling with a few unanswered questions.  Where did the original torah scroll come from, what happened to the church’s bell, and how did we get conflicting stories of how the current chandeliers were acquired?  We decided that the best way to resolve these mysteries was to “crowdsource” the clues.  And that has led to the idea of putting together – “The Book, Bell and Candle Mystery” experience, a tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue with an interactive twist.  Part of the Book, Bell and Candle Mystery, will be to share with you the new stories and clues we’ve uncovered about the ritual objects used in the building.  But part will also be to get your input on unanswered questions that we still have pertaining to the objects, so we can crack the mysteries.

Rendering of LSS chandelier

The Book, Bell and Candle Mystery will debut on Sunday May 1st @ 3:00 p.m., and continue at that same hour every Sunday through July 3.  Whether you identify with a synagogue shammes or an investigative shamus, you’ll find something in this experience that opens a new window on this great historic site. So put on your “gumshoes” and your thinking caps and join us in our search for answers.

*For those of you struggling with the pun in the title – click here to see the explanation (and have no “shame.” Half our staff couldn’t figure it out either. -MP)!

 

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Greetings Graham – The “Beyond Chicken Soup” Edition

Posted on March 18th, 2016 by

Today’s JMM Insights features our quarterly highlights of fictional messages to visitor services manager, Graham Humphrey.  Any resemblance to real people is pure coincidence.  Hey, it’s almost Purim.

We do have one real announcement to share however.  We have rescheduled our Annual Meeting.  The new date for the Annual Meeting is Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.  Our featured speaker will be Dr. Jay Perman, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.  We look forward to seeing many of you there.

 

Greetings Graham,

I visited the Museum last month, but was so disappointed to find out that the Paul Simon exhibit about my buddy had closed. What is the next exhibit you’ll have and how long will it run?

Yours Artfully

 

“Artfully”,

Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America opened on March 13 and will remain at the Museum until January 16th, 2017. Inside, you’ll find interactive activities, multimedia effects and more than 400 artifacts, documents and images. You will get to journey through the worlds of health in the mid-20th century, from med school to the doctor’s office, hospital, pharmacy –and even a trip to the gym.  You can also experience hands-on encounters with medicine and ethics, explore stories at the juncture of science and culture and examine the links between traditions and contemporary practices. Please visit our website, http://chickensoupexhibit.org/, to learn more. You’ll have the option of buying tickets in advance by visiting https://jmm.tixato.com/buy. However, advance tickets are not required and you can still buy them when you arrive at the Museum.

Can't wait to see you!

Can’t wait to see you!

Greetings Graham,

OK, what is this I hear about books from overseas being imported into an exhibit about American medicine!  First it was undocumented foreigners, now its foreign documents. Kindly explain yourself.

Fanny Farmisht

Dear Ms. Farmisht,

It is true that our exhibit on Jews and Medicine in America has rare manuscripts from the National Library of Israel, but there is a perfectly logical explanation.  They are part of a collection originally gathered by Dr. Harry Friedenwald right here in Baltimore.  Dr. Friedenwald was inspired by his father (both eye doctors) to explore the question of the connection between medicine and Jewish experience.  His documents included Latin translations of Maimonedes and a medical diploma from an Italian renaissance university.  Dr. Friedenwald gave his collection of hundreds of documents to the National Library of Israel in 1947.  The NLI has sent JMM a few of these originals which we will display in a recreation of Dr. Friedenwald’s study

Some of the fabulous books the National Library of Israel has lent us.

Some of the fabulous books the National Library of Israel has lent us.

Greetings Graham,

I bought a Graceland CD and Paul Simon mug during the Paul Simon exhibit. What merchandise will you have in stock for the Medicine exhibit?

JMM Shopaholic

 

JMM Shopaholic,

We had a great time shopping for this exhibit and we believe you will have a blast too browsing through our shop! We will sell medically themed trays, water bottles, coasters, storage tins, plates and greeting cards. We also have scientific flask style dishware, chemistry lab notebooks, posters and the newly published Beyond Chicken Soup exhibition catalogue. You can still purchase Paul Simon merchandise at a great discount such as journals, magnets, vinyl design clocks, folk music themed CDs. We even a few mugs left if you wished to purchase another for a friend! You may also notice one other addition to the shop as it has been renamed “Esther’s Place,” after our long time shop manager, Esther Weiner, who retired last year.

All this and more could be yours! Remember, JMM members get a 10% discount in the shop.

All this and more could be yours! Remember, JMM members get a 10% discount in the shop.

Greetings Graham,

I see all this information your Beyond Chicken Soup exhibit. I have an award winning matzah ball soup recipe. Would you like my recipe?

Mrs.  Manischewitz

 

Mrs. Manischewitz,

Thank you for offering your matzah ball soup recipe, however the exhibit is more about the intersection of Jewish culture and medicine than about actual chicken soup. Yet, we will have a cook off in the fall…stay tuned for details. In the meantime, here are a few other programs coming up. This weekend, we’ll have a lecture by Dr. Edward Halperin on the Rise and Fall of the American Jewish Hospital. On April 6th, health professionals have the opportunity to network and learn more about the exhibit and then on April 17th, there will be a talk about the American Jews and the early Birth Control Movement.

Keep an eye on the calendar because this is another fun program coming up!

Keep an eye on the calendar because this is another fun program coming up!

 

Greetings Graham,

We are traveling a lot but we expect to be in Maryland in April.  Our schedule is very busy these days –so we really would like to know more about your exhibit before we make a commitment to come and visit.  Where can we find out more?

Hillary and Bernie

 

Dear Hillary and Bernie,

While nothing beats seeing the exhibit with your own eyes, we do have some really great background information at our special website: www.chickensoupexhibit.org.  Try clicking on the “Explore” tab to learn more about each section of the exhibit (it’s also a great way to extend your experience after the visit).  When the exhibit travels, we’ll be posting its upcoming schedule here too.   Who knows, it might go to Washington, DC and maybe that will be a more convenient site for one of you.

The Homepage

The Homepage

 

 

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




JMM Insights: Not Just for Anniversary Years

Posted on February 19th, 2016 by

Last year to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz we presented a program with Shiri Sandler on the exhibit developed by the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York titled A Town Known as Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community. Shiri shared the story of town in which Jews had resided for centuries that has come to be known as a symbol of the Holocaust. While we wanted to create a special program for the anniversary year, JMM’s commitment to Holocaust education and fostering a deeper understanding of the impact of that history on our community and wider world is ongoing.

Fron the Kulturebund

Fron the Kulturebund

For the past ten years we have partnered with the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC) in leading a highly successful collaborative Holocaust professional development opportunity. Our annual Summer Teachers Institute is a workshop teaching best practices in Holocaust education. Presenters are invited from around the country to share their knowledge and resources with our local educators. This year STI is planned for Monday, August 1st thru Wednesday, August 3rd and will focus on the art of the Holocaust. While the program is geared for educators, it is open to anyone interested in participating. For more information please contact Deborah Cardin at dcardin@jewishmuseummd.org.

Book Cover

Book Cover

This February we decided to offer three programs highlighting personal dimensions of the Holocaust story.  Last week Susan Sullam shared the story of her father Joel Fisher ,who following the war worked as a Monuments Man locating goods plundered by the Nazis. This Sunday at 1:00pm we have our rescheduled lecture with Gail Prensky titled Playing For Life: Art Under Tyranny, exploring the story of a group of Jewish musicians and artists who survived Nazi Germany. Then next week, in conjunction with Chizuk Amuno, we welcome Jennifer Teege, author of My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past for her presentation Discovering A Nazi Legacy: One Family’s Story. You can RSVP for Jennifer’s presentation here.

with Stephanie Satie

with Stephanie Satie

We are also in the process of planning one further program in remembrance of the Holocaust for later this year, again in partnership with BJC plus Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. We are very pleased to welcome Stephanie Satie back to Baltimore to perform her one woman show Silent Witness. This performance marks our 10th Annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration taking place on Sunday, April 10th at Baltimore Hebrew Synagogue. The performance draws upon conversations and interviews with child survivors of the Holocaust and paints an uplifting portrait of human resilience.

Jakob Enoch Rosenbaum Bar Mitzvah from A Town Known as Auschwitz.

Jakob Enoch Rosenbaum Bar Mitzvah from A Town Known as Auschwitz.

And we have begun planning for next February when we will bring together three exhibits connected to the remembrance of this tragic period in our history. First, the project that Shiri Sandler spoke about last year, second, from Yad Vashem Auschwitz Album: The Story of Transport. This exhibit contains the only surviving visual evidence of the process of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which comes for a collection of photos taken in 1944 by either Ernst Hoffman or Bernhard Walter, two SS men stationed at the camp. Third, a project combining art and family history. Artist Lori Shocket will join us this summer to help facilitate a series of workshops where Holocaust survivors and their families are invited to develop collages reflecting their individual experiences .The pieces will be combined to create a powerful installation, showing that even in the midst of great physical destruction, the human spirit has the ability to transcend.

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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