Hometown Heroes: The Henrietta Szold Story

Posted on August 19th, 2016 by

From Director of Education Ilene Dackman-Alon: 

JMM 1989.143.1

Have you ever noticed this bronze sculpture, sitting in the corner of the lobby near the entrance of the Museum? JMM 1989.143.1

The sculpture was made by Dina Lee Steiner, a Baltimorean and prominent artist whose works are in private and public collections throughout the world. Steiner and Stuart J. Cordage, gifted the work to the Museum in memory of the sculptor’s parents and brother: Ida, Maurice and Henry Steiner.

1989143001-2

The plaque reads: Henrietta Szold 1860-1945 born in Baltimore where she founded the first night school for immigrants; she gave the world Hadassah; and Youth Aliyah. 

Henrietta was the eldest daughter of Rabbi Benjamin Szold, the spiritual leader of Baltimore’s Temple Oheb Shalom. Throughout her life, Henrietta was committed to helping those who were in need.  Szold’s many contributions included establishing a night school in Baltimore for new immigrants and the creation of Hadassah, a national Zionist women’s organization devoted to improving health care in Palestine that is still in existence today.  She spent her later years living in Palestine where she was involved in the rescue of European Jewish children during World War II through her work with Youth Aliyah, an initiative that helped resettle and educate Jewish youth in Palestine.

Henrietta is mentioned in Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews And Medicine in America, which explores the American Jewish involvement with medicine from the late 19th century through the “golden age” of American medicine in the 20th century.

In 1909 Szold and her mother travelled to Palestine, which led to a life-changing experience that would bring a major change and direction in her life. Horrified by the lack of medical resources and treatment available to Jewish women and children, Szold became committed to improving the social welfare systems in Palestine.

Szold’s strong will and determination inspired thousands of American women to embrace Zionism and advocate for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.  Hundreds of women joined Daughters of Zion (which in 1912 became Hadassah) chapters throughout the country.

 Henrietta Szold with a class of nurses, December 21, 1921, Jerusalem. JMM 1989.79.24

Henrietta Szold with a class of nurses, December 21, 1921, Jerusalem. JMM 1989.79.24

Henrietta Szold’s story serves as a wonderful companion to the exhibit and provides additional interpretation about the role that American Jewish women played in improving healthcare in Palestine. 

We invite you to join us on Thursday evening, September 22nd, when JMM will debut the incredible story of a rabbi’s daughter who broke from the traditional roles of women during the 19th century, to help strengthen her people, at home and abroad.

An advocate for education, Zionism, and health care, Henrietta Szold was a champion of community organizing and Jewish engagement and our own “Hometown Heroine.  The Henrietta Szold Story will offer audience members a unique educational experience that will appeal to diverse audiences—including students and adult groups—from across the state and region.

Playwright Dale Jones and Making History Connections and actress Natalie Smith have embraced Szold’s own words and stories to tell the gripping tale of a hero whose tenacity and courage played a vital role in the expansion of social services, medical services and the founding of the state of Israel.

The Szold living history character is presented in conjunction with Beyond Chicken Soup:  Jews and Medicine in America.  Find out more at www.chickensoupexhibit.org.

Funding for the Henrietta Szold Living History project was provided by the Kolker-Saxon –Hallock Family Foundation, Inc.  supporting foundation of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

The educational program for the Henrietta Szold living History Project is funded through the Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education of The Associated: Jewish  Community Federation of Baltimore.

For more information about the Henrietta Szold Living History project, contact JMM’s Director of Education, Ilene Dackman-Alon at idackmanalon@jewishmuseummd.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Celebrate Arts Education

Posted on September 17th, 2015 by

Did you know that this week marks the fifth anniversary of National Arts Education Week? This is something that I recently learned by reading the weekly update of the area arts and culture scene distributed by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.  Study after study highlights the importance of exposing children of all ages to the arts in all its many forms. Local families and schools are fortunate to have access to such an incredible variety of museums where the arts come to life in such dynamic ways.

Given this important anniversary, I thought I’d take the opportunity to promote the JMM’s educational programs and resources and to highlight how they foster multidisciplinary connections between social studies, English language arts and fine arts.  While the JMM is traditionally thought of as a history museum, our education team is exceptionally talented at using our exhibits, collections and historic sites as springboards for activities and resources that integrate the arts.

City Spring students participate in a field trip to the JMM.

City Spring students participate in a field trip to the JMM.

This summer, JMM docent Robyn Hughes created an art program for campers with visual impairments from the Maryland School for the Blind in which students toured Voices of Lombard Street and then built neighborhoods out of art supplies.

This summer, JMM docent Robyn Hughes created an art program for campers with visual impairments from the Maryland School for the Blind in which students toured Voices of Lombard Street and then built neighborhoods out of art supplies.

A good example of this is our Immigrant’s Trunk program that explores immigration history through the lens of personal stories. Each of our Immigrant’s Trunk program brings the experience of a real life Jewish immigrant to life through reproduced photographs, documents and objects. The trunks come with a full set of lesson plans that integrate primary source analysis as well as creative writing assignments, storytelling and art activities. Teachers can also opt to schedule living history performances by professional actors who dramatize significant moments from each immigrant’s life.

Actor Terry Nicholetti brings to life the story of Bessie Bluefeld, a Russian immigrant who established Baltimore’s beloved Bluefeld’s catering business.

Actor Terry Nicholetti brings to life the story of Bessie Bluefeld, a Russian immigrant who established Baltimore’s beloved Bluefeld’s catering business.

Some of our programs have strong visual arts components, including a new initiative that encourages middle school students to interpret family history through multimedia art installations. Last year, JMM education director Ilene Dackman-Alon piloted My Family History Project through a partnership with Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv and the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Baltimore. As part of the program, students immersed themselves in genealogical research. They then went above and beyond the traditional family tree assignment by creating amazing visual representations of some aspect of their family’s experiences. The student artwork was displayed in the JMM as we hosted an evening reception for families. Everyone was amazed by the creativity and diversity of the artwork on display and how the students incorporated a variety of media as they highlighted something unique about their own family’s history. We are delighted to embark on the second year of this project and Ilene is expanding the initiative to work with additional schools.

An example of the art work on display in the My Family History Project.

An example of the art work on display in the My Family History Project.

Another piece of art created for the My Family History Project.

Another piece of art created for the My Family History Project.

Visual arts, drama, creative writing, storytelling…these are all art forms that can easily be integrated into JMM educational resources. The one medium that has not been as easy to incorporate is music, but I am excited to announce an exciting new educational offering this fall in conjunction with the opening of Paul Simon: Words and Music (on display October 11, 2015-January 18, 2016). Our education team has developed a curriculum that ties in with music education standards and exposes students to the worlds of music theory and the history of folk music. For all the educators out there, this is an opportunity not to be missed. Field trips can be scheduled by emailing our visitor services coordinator, Graham Humphrey at ghumphrey@jewishmuseummd.org.

Click here for more information about these and other JMM educational programs.

So take advantage of the wealth of cultural resources available locally and find time to visit a nearby museum. You’ll be glad you did!

deborahA blog post by Deputy Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.

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Performance Counts, September 2014

Posted on September 19th, 2014 by

Baltimore Embraces its 19th Century Heritage

The good news is “we won.”

You probably noticed that there was some commotion this weekend about events that took place two centuries ago.  Beyond the Blue Angels, the rockets red glare and the Spanish galleon, there was a genuine embrace of the relatively tiny group of defenders who made sure that the flag and the nation was still there.

We are intensely proud of having been a part of the Star Spangled Celebration week, a chance for us to remind the public of the long roots of the Jewish community in this city and this state.  Of course, JMM’s focus was on one particular defender: the truly amazing Mendes Cohen.

Collections Manager Joanna Church and Assistant Director Deborah Cardin install Mendes' newly conserved jacket.

Collections Manager Joanna Church and Assistant Director Deborah Cardin install Mendes’ newly conserved jacket.

Installation of the maze was completed on September 7th.  We had a sneak preview for donors, members of the 1845 Society and the Lloyd Street League, and members of the board of our partners, the Maryland Historical Society on September 9th.  Feedback was extremely positive as reflected in notes we received after the event:

We were totally impressed with the A-mazing Mendes exhibition and appreciated the amount of research, talent, and work that went into the project.

Your exhibit is absolutely wonderful and a great tribute to Mr. Cohen. Of course Mendes is good story material. What a fun concept and I am recommending you to my whole staff.

‘The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen’ exhibit turned out really great! Fantastic Preview last night! Can’t wait to return and stroll “The A-Mazing… ” more slowly and a chance to absorb much more of its rich history.

Enjoying a few drinks at the Amazing Cocktail Hour sneak preview party.

Enjoying a few drinks at the Amazing Cocktail Hour sneak preview party.

This past Sunday was a very busy day for our living history actor.  Unlike the real Mendes Cohen who overslept on September 14 and had to run to his assignment at the fort, our “ghost” of Mendes started his day bright and early at Super Sunday.  As Mendes was one of the early members of the Hebrew Benevolent Society (a precursor of The Associated), we thought it was important Mendes participate in this annual effort to raise funds to serve the Jewish community in Baltimore and around the globe.

Mendes takes a few calls at Super Sunday!

Mendes takes a few calls at Super Sunday!

The next stop was the Creative Alliance’s “Hampstead Hill Festival”, marking the land battle that helped save the city.  Mendes not only gave a full performance (battling unexpectedly fierce winds) but also participated in an 1814 fashion show.  After Hampstead Hill, we made a brief stop at the Inner Harbor greeting guests to the Greater Baltimore History Alliance booth.

Mendes takes his bow to the applause of former JMM president Barbara Katz and the rest of the audience.

Mendes takes his bow to the applause of former JMM president Barbara Katz and the rest of the audience.

Mendes returned to JMM for a wonderful members’ opening.  The program included greetings from Debs Weinberg and Barbara Katz, Mendes’ short-version 1812 performance and a panel comprised of some of the creative and historical experts who made the exhibit and living history character a reality.

Part of the evening's panel.

Part of the evening’s panel.

If you missed this great opening week, you can still be a full participant in the Mendes Cohen celebration.  We are still busy recruiting volunteers for our stint as part of the Maryland Public Television fund drive on Sunday, September 28 from 5pm to 8pm.  Your willingness to volunteer a few hours at MPT will guarantee us on air access to an important audience.  For more details contact Rachel Kassman at rkassman@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x225. 

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