Graham’s Adult Bar Mitzvah

Posted on June 30th, 2017 by

A blog post by Graham Humphrey, Visitor Services Coordinator. To read more posts by Graham click HERE.

All ready for the ceremony.

All ready for the ceremony.

Earlier this month, I had my adult Bar Mitzvah ceremony in the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue.  It was an honor celebrating it in the oldest synagogue in Maryland and the third oldest still standing in the country. I had relatives fly in from England, California and Washington State as well as guests who drove from Rhode Island and Ohio. I was also delighted that some of our volunteers were able to come in addition to my friends from the Jewish community.

Preparing to read from the torah

Preparing to read from the torah

During the service, I lead prayers such as the Shema and the Amidah. Rabbi Dinin did a wonderful job describing the significance of each of the prayers to the audience. My friend RLee sang a version of Shalom Rav and another friend Gereon read a Prayer for Peace. It was also very special having my parents read the Priestly blessing.

Giving the D'var Torah

Giving the D’var Torah

In my Dvar Torah, I tied in my love of sailing, traveling and the environment with my Torah portion of Shelach (Numbers 15: 37-40) and Haftarah portion of Noah (Isaiah 54:1-10). I talked about how since moving to Baltimore three years ago, I have reconnected with my faith through attending services at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, doing service projects with Repair the World and socializing with other young Jewish adults at Moishe House and Chai Life.

After the service, we had a small reception inside B’nai Israel and then some joined us for a dinner in Little Italy. The next day, many of my family members joined me for a tour of the synagogues and were able to explore our exhibits.

The historic Lloyd Street Synagogue

The historic Lloyd Street Synagogue

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. I would like to thank Mickey Rubin, who privately tutored me for the past year and for Rabbi Dinin who officiated the service and to Rabbi Mintz who offered B’nai Israel as the place for my reception. I would also like to thank the Jewish Museum of Maryland for allowing me to celebrate this special occasion at the museum. Don’t forgot, that you too can have your special occasion at the JMM. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me to find out more about renting the Lloyd Street Synagogue for your bar mitzvah or wedding.

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Sacred Space, Past and Present

Posted on June 26th, 2017 by

Post by Collections Intern Joelle Paull.  To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.

Old Synagogue, Krakow

Old Synagogue, Krakow

Studying medieval art, I have become really interested in how ritual space shapes a community and in turn is shaped by a communities need. While studying and traveling in Europe, I found myself exploring medieval synagogues and Jewish ghettos. Until that point my studies had been focused on Christian ritual spaces that became the center of towns across Europe. I was excited and pleasantly surprised to find myself in Jewish ritual spaces, often the center of centuries old Jewish neighborhoods. In some cases, like in the Jewish ghetto in Venice, the only distinguishing features of the synagogues are the rows of windows in the upper gallery.

These were unusual when compared to the narrow, cramped homes surrounding them. The same is true of the Old Synagogue in Krakow, one of the many centuries old synagogues on the perimeter of the city center, which was built in the 15th century, underwent many changes and was ultimately renovated and restored in the 20th century after WWII. Today, it is located in the corner of a square and is a simple multi-level brick building, with three large windows over the large entrance. From the outside there is little indication of the function of the building or the large rib vaulted interior.

Color snapshot of the Lloyd Street Synagogue facade, c. 1982.

Color snapshot of the Lloyd Street Synagogue facade, c. 1982.

Walking into the Lloyd Street Synagogue my first day of work, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the synagogue and the spaces I had studied. The Lloyd Street Synagogue is a perfect example of a ritual space that evolved over centuries to reflect the community around it. The synagogue was the center of the Jewish community in Baltimore and as such took on both a religious and civic importance. The archaeological discoveries at the current synagogue, showcased in the exhibit, The Synagogue Speaks, allow us to understand what the synagogue looked like from 1845 to today.

From this understanding we can begin to understand how it functioned on a day to day basis and the role it had in the lives of its patrons. The unassuming facade of the sacred building gives little to no indication that it is a synagogue. It was only in the 1900s, after the building was converted the building back into a synagogue that the exterior begins to show signs of its function – Hebrew lettering on the portico, the gallery level windows on the façade. The 20th century synagogue, until it was beginning in the 1960s, was elaborately decorated, with new furniture, chandeliers, and murals. The following restoration returned the synagogue to its original 1860s appearance. The ability to walk into a space and see the many layers of its history makes the Lloyd Street Synagogue unique. The oral and written histories and the many artifacts only add to our understanding of the space itself.

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Celebrate your Special Day at the JMM!

Posted on May 26th, 2017 by

As this is the season for graduations, weddings and parties, I thought I would highlight how you can incorporate the JMM into your plans. Our facilities would be perfect for milestone celebrations, wedding ceremonies and receptions, luncheons, bar/bat mitzvahs, corporate receptions, holiday parties or meetings. We are only blocks away from Little Italy and the Inner Harbor with free parking nearby. We have several spaces which can be rented including Lloyd Street Synagogue, the Davidson Lobby and the Hendler Board Room.

Celebrating a bar mitzvah

Celebrating a bar mitzvah

For those who do not know, Lloyd Street Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in Maryland and the third oldest still standing in the country. In my two years at the museum, we have hosted Bar Mitzvahs in Lloyd Street Synagogue (including the great-great grandson of Rabb Avaham Schwartz who led Shomrei Mishmereth Ha Kodesh beginning in 1908 and remained its leader for the next thirty years). We have also hosted Bat Mitzvah celebrations, meetings, wedding anniversary dinners and even 90s’ themed Purim parties in our lobby.

Simcha in the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue

Simcha in the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue

While we are not able to hold events during Shabbat or during Jewish holidays, our space is generally available to rent before or after public hours, which is before 10 am or after 5 pm Sunday-Thursday. Lloyd Street Synagogue can seat an optimal 150, the Davidson Lobby can hold 75 seated or 150 standing and the Board Room can seat an optimal 20. We can provide 6ft and 8ft tables and black chairs at no additional charge and would also be glad to connect you with a list of kosher caterers.

AN evening event

AN evening event

If you would like to learn more about our rental policies, I would encourage you to visit our website. You can also email me or call 443-873-5167 to discuss availability and pricing. Keep in mind that we offer discounts to small synagogues and non-profits. I would also be more than happy to show you the spaces. We hope that you will consider having your event at the JMM!

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