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Expressing Identity

Posted on June 30th, 2020 by

While the museum is closed the JMM team is coming together to bring some of our favorite activities from our recent family programs direct to your homes. Each collection of materials will be inspired by either one of our exhibits, Jewish History, or a Jewish holiday.

All of the activities we share are designed for families to complete together and use supplies you are likely to already have in your home. The activities we offer include crafts, games, scavenger hunts, online story times, and more. You can check out previous activity packs here!

~The JMM Programs Team


This week, inspired by Pride month, we are thinking about identities. Image via.

For all of us, our identity can include many elements, the things we choose to express and the things that society sees within us. Our identity can include our ethnic heritage, nationality, and religion which we often share with our family. Our identity can also include skills, interests, passions and political beliefs. It takes all of these elements to create each of our unique identities. With the activities in this packet, think about your own identity and what makes you who you are.

Pride month celebrates the members of our community who identify as LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual), an umbrella term used by some to describe their sexual orientation and gender identities. Individuals who identify as part of this group often face significant challenges across the world, including within our Baltimore community. It is for this reason that coming together every June to mark Pride month is so important, whether or not we personally identify as part of this group.

Don’t forget to share photos of you enjoying our crafts and activities on our FacebookTwitterInstagram, or Tumblr pages and use #MuseumFromHome.


Download the full Expressing Identity activity packet as a single pdf here.


Wear It With Pride

One great way to express your identity is through your clothing. This activity is inspired by our Fashion Statement exhibit and will help you think about the power of what we choose to wear.

Supplies‌ ‌needed:‌ ‌

A printed copy blank t-shirt

A printed copy of our t-shirt icons

Markers

Download Instructions for Wear It With Pride


Eating Your Heritage

For many, food is a great way to celebrate their heritage. Perhaps you and your family enjoy turkey for thanksgiving or matzah for Passover. Inspired by our Chosen Food exhibit, in this activity, create a plate of food that represents your heritage.

Supplies‌ ‌needed:‌ ‌

A printed copy of our sample place setting, paper or a paper plate.

Markers

Download Instructions for Eating Your Heritage


Pride Buttons

Rally button, JMM 1987.208.3; Chizuk Amuno Tikun Olam button, JMM 2003.60.1; Barack Obama campaign button, JMM 2008.78.1; March on Washington button, JMM 1992.103.1.

Buttons and pins are a great way to show your support of different causes. They can be almost any size, shape, or color. In this activity, you can design and create a button to support the LGBTQ community. Use these same instructions to create buttons that support other causes that are important to you.

Supplies‌ ‌needed:‌ ‌

Recycled cardboard

Scissors

Craft Supplies

Safety Pin

Tape

Download Instructions for Pride Buttons


Pride Flag

Flags have historically been a great way to show your support, continue your support of the LGBTQ community by creating a Pride flag.

Supplies needed:

 Paper

Markers

Chopstick, skewer, or paint stirrer

Tape

Download Instructions for Pride Flag


Keep‌ ‌Discovering‌ ‌

‌ ‌If you enjoyed designing a t-shirt to express your identity, why not experiment with tie dye. Express your individuality and creativity by tie-dying t-shirts.

Art is a great way to express your identity and individuality. Try making a collage that expresses your identity.

Think about aspects of your identity you want to represent- your religion, heritage, personality, likes, dislikes, hobbies, groups and communities you belong to, and values. Then, draw your own silhouette or use a template. Fill it with magazine pictures, words, and drawings that express your personal identity.

Listen to readings of two books about expressing your identity. In Chik Chak Shabbat, hear about how food can express our personal and familial identities:

In Be Who You Are celebrate the many ways we can express ourselves and our uniqueness:

Ready for more? Explore the resources published by Keshet, an organization dedicated to working towards LGBTQ equality in Jewish life!


 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Keshet Leadership Project

Posted on December 16th, 2019 by

From Visitor Services Coordinator Talia Makowsky. To read more posts from Talia, click here.


On December 5th Marvin, Trillion, and myself attended the Keshet Leadership Project Summit for the Greater Baltimore Area. This day-long gathering marked the start of a year of committing to actions that will make the Jewish Museum of Maryland a more welcoming place for people within the LGBTQ+ community.

The acronym LGBTQ+ stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus”. The plus sign includes more gender identities and sexual orientations, such as non-binary, intersex, pansexual, and more. Keshet provided their own definitions of these terms, but there are many credible sources that help define what these words mean. The National LGBT Health Education Center has a particularly comprehensive list of terms to help those who are new to the language of the LGBTQ+ community. However, our Keshet facilitator emphasized that even though we have these terms that people may identify with or find comfort in using, every single person has a different life experience. Even if two people both identify as transgender, they may have very different ways of expressing this identity or make different life decisions regarding this identity.

Keshet is a national organization that does education, programming, and advocacy, all to advance their mission:

Keshet works for the full equality of all LGBTQ Jews and our families in Jewish life. We strengthen Jewish communities. We equip Jewish organizations with the skills and knowledge to build LGBTQ-affirming communities, create spaces in which all queer Jewish youth feel seen and valued, and advance LGBTQ rights nationwide.

This work includes LGBTQ teen gatherings or Shabbaton so that young queer people can gather together and find community. Keshet also works to advance particular campaigns, as they advocate for the rights of LGBTQ people. One of their biggest endeavors is the Keshet Leadership Project, which is what we kicked off on that Thursday.

The Keshet Leadership Project is an opportunity for a cohort of organizations to meet and come up with action plans for their sites. Through tools and training from the Keshet team, each organization is tasked to come up with at least three goals, in the areas of policy, programming, and culture. Throughout the year, a Keshet staff member will act as our coach, answering questions and giving us guidance and encouragement as we work to accomplish our action plan. This plan is created at the Keshet Project Leadership Summit, which all the organizations attend through their representatives. By meeting together, the representatives form a cohort together, laying the groundwork for partnerships and community programs. Working in a cohort has other benefits, as studies suggest that a group working towards a common goal is more likely to accomplish their mission.

Here in Baltimore, we are lucky enough to be a part of the Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore. The Associated engaged with Keshet to bring the Leadership Project to our region, and helped advertise the program to its related organizations, including the Museum. The project attracted fifteen organizations in all, who came together to learn about the LGBTQ community, why Keshet is doing this work, and to create their own goals to accomplish over this year.

During our discussion on LGBTQ terms, we touched on how to introduce and ask for people’s personal pronouns and why it’s important. You can find my pronouns in my email signature and on my name badge.

Once we found a shared language and understanding of these terms, our Keshet facilitator led us in a discussion of why this work is so important. She shared facts from a Vice article about Gen Z, or those born in the mid-nineties to the early 2000s, and how a majority do not consider themselves “completely heterosexual.” Furthermore, as the article reports, Gen Z are generally supportive of more trans-inclusive public spaces, as 70% say that these spaces should have gender-neutral restrooms for folks.

I wasn’t too surprised with these results, but what I found more compelling was the discussion on older LGBTQ people. There are about 3 million people over the age of 55 who are part of the LGBTQ community, according to a resource created by Sage, Advocacy for & Services for LGBT Elders. That number is expected to rise, possibly doubling by 2030. Not only is this a huge audience that is often forgotten or ignored in these types of conversations, but this group has experienced the most trauma and violence throughout their lives. It’s thanks to the determination of the older generation that younger LGBTQ people have more resources to support them today.

I found this part of the discussion most provoking, as I often interact with people over the age of 55 at the Museum. I wonder if any of our regulars are part of the LGBTQ community. I wonder if there are people who have chosen not to be a Museum patron, because we haven’t made LGTBQ inclusion a priority in the past. Armed with this new information, I hope that I can help connect more LGBTQ older people to the Museum and find ways to make them feel a part of the whole Museum community.

The last part of our day was spent working on our organizational action plans. Keshet gave us examples of other goals that organizations have accomplished, as a part of their Leadership Projects, such as creating an “LGBT Aging with Pride” monthly social meeting, or a Community LGBTQIA Passover Seder, which attracted people beyond the Jewish community, resulting in a successful interfaith program.

With direction from Marvin, Trillion and I worked on the first draft of our action plan for the Jewish Museum. Keshet asked us to come up with at least one goal in three areas, programming, policy, and culture. With these three or more goals, our Keshet coach will be on call to help us advance our action plan throughout the next, or more. We’re looking forward to sharing the results of this action plan with our Museum community!

One way we plan to make the JMM more welcoming is by modifying our signage. This example from the Jewish Museum in New York is an easy way to communicate that the bathrooms are for everyone to use.

By the end of the day, all of us were buzzing with inspiration and excitement. It was clear from the energy in the room that the Baltimore Jewish community was ready to create real change and find authentic ways to make LGBTQ feel supported and welcome. While Keshet does not require the cohort to meet again in person, people were already talking about finding a time to gather again, with the help of DFI. Our Keshet facilitators were excited by this prospect and expressed their confidence in us to accomplish our goals. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this important project and eager to bring the knowledge and resources to the wider Jewish Museum of Maryland community.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland