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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


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.


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


Craft Supplies

Safety Pin


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:



Chopstick, skewer, or paint stirrer


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

JMM Insights: It’s Officially Summer!

Posted on June 26th, 2020 by

Minnie Black and Ruth Smith enjoy the summer heat, 1942. JMM 2010.20.296. Hand-tinted photo of Nathan and Rose Rifkin, Miami Beach, c. 1940s. JMM 1996.54.10. Julia Friedenwald relaxes on a family vacation to Atlantic City, c. 1920s. JMM 1984.23.628.

If there is a lesson to be taken from the last week, it’s the danger of predicting the size of a crowd. But assuming that JMM has not yet drawn the attention of K-Pop pranksters, tonight should be a record-breaker. Hundreds of guests have signed up for David London’s live performance as Harry Houdini.

But that is just one of the treats for you and your family covered in this edition of JMM Insights. This week we’re providing an update on our digital resources for kids, perfect for social distancing summer fun.  But for those whose tastes run towards weighty subjects rather than summer frivolity, I strongly recommend joining JMM and BJC next Tuesday for the beginning of a three-part conversation about race.

JMM Board Voting Goes Virtual!

We invite our membership to vote on the FY2021 Board of Trustees Officers and Nominees. This year’s voting will take place through an online ballot. Voting will close at 11:59pm on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

Questions? Contact Tracey Dorfmann at


Schools are officially done for the year. The weather has turned hot, muggy, stormy, and sunny by turns. This weekend saw the longest day (and shortest night) of the year. The signs are clear – summer has officially begun. With so many of our usual summer plans on hold, we thought everyone might be looking for some fun things to do, learn, and see.

Here are some suggestions for the whole family to enjoy together!

The activities below are hands-on, great for a variety of ages, and include crafts, videos, games, and more.

Wondernauts 2020 – 25+ different hands-on activities to explore the wonders of space, past, present, and future, perfect for a variety of ages!

A Hands-On Houdini Day – in preparation for tonight’s Houdini Comes Alive program, these are some fantastic hands-on activities to get everyone excited for America’s first superstar.

Exploring Jewish Artwe hope you’ll sit down and create some of your own art after learning a bit about some of the Jewish artists and creatives in our collections.

Travel with the A-Mazing Mendes Cohen and more Amazing Activities – If you’ve explored the online exhibit, you know how many fascinating things Mendes Cohen saw and did. These activities will help you imagine similar exciting adventures!

These are just a few suggestions for sitting down with the family and getting creative. We’ve got even more ready for you to try out, on topics right here in Baltimore, like the Lloyd Street Synagogue to those from all across America, like Jewish American Women’s History, to all the way across the ocean, like the Iraqi Jewish Archives. Check out all the great activities we’ve put together here.

Looking for some more #MuseumFromHome suggestions? Here are a couple of great resources available to explore!

Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums – a large collection of “Museum From Home” activities from Museums all over the region.

Color Our Collections – Museums from around the world have shared from their collection, curate your own “ultimate coloring book”!

If you haven’t taken advantage of our growing library of recorded programs, may we suggest a few to start with? If you loved our Scrap Yard exhibit, check out Secondhand Travels of a Global Scrap Man or Cash for Your Trash: Scrap Recycling in America. Current events more your speed? Take a look at our two Gray in Black and White programs. You can view a complete list of our available recorded programs here.

And don’t forget about all our online exhibit experiences! From serious to light-hearted, we’re sure you’ll find something to learn and enjoy in our digital exhibit offerings. Plus, did you know you can schedule a group virtual tour of the Scrap Yard exhibit with the fabulous Talia Makowsky? More info here!


Connecting Generations: Difficult Conversations About Race

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 12:00pm EST

Using the wisdom, experiences, and perspectives of different generations within the Jewish community to deepen our understanding of race and racism within Jewish and broader American contexts.

Register for this free virtual series here – Registration is required at least 48 hours before each session, and space is limited.

A Forgotten Land: Growing Up in the Jewish Pale

Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 6:00pm EST

Join author Lisa Cooper as she discusses the family stories captured in her book A Forgotten Land. Based on recorded conversations Lisa Cooper’s father had with his mother, Pearl, about her early life in Ukraine, A Forgotten Land is the story of one Jewish family in the Russian Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, set within the wider context of pogroms, World War I, the Russian Revolution, and civil war.

Register for this Live Stream Program!


Celebrate the 51st anniversary of the moon landing with this fun family program!

Explore the challenges of space travel and what astronauts have chosen to take into orbit to remind them of home. From dreidels to dinosaurs to guitars, selecting your special objects can be nearly impossible. Weight, size, shape – all have to be considered.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 3:30pm EST
Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 3:30pm EST
More info here.


These gorgeous pieces were designed and created by artisan Emilie Shapiro, combining recycled metals and rough gemstones to create wearable art.

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

Exploring Jewish Art

Posted on May 28th, 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

Did you know that May is Jewish American Heritage month?

This month we’re using our weekly family activity packets to highlight different aspects of Jewish American history, inspired by our collections. This week’s activities focus on art, looking at just a few examples from what makes up the vast category of Jewish art.

What is Jewish art anyway? One kind of Jewish art is ceremonial objects, also known as Judaica. These are objects used in rituals during Shabbat and holidays, like Torah covers, yads, tallit, candlesticks, etc. and are often beautiful and intricately designed. Another kind of Jewish art is Jewish folk art, which includes thinks like papercutting, calligraphy, and wood carving.

Silver spice box, JMM 1996.141.15. Gold-plated Torah crown used at Beth Jacob Congregation, JMM 2010.7.1. Glass-based wedding cup, JMM 1996.141.25. Cast metal dreidel, JMM 1996.141.46.

Art can also be called Jewish if it was created by Jewish individuals. Jewish artists have worked in a variety of different styles across history. For some artists, like Marc Chagall, Judaism was central to their work, while for others, such as the Impressionist Camille Pissaro, the influence of their Judaism on their work is less apparent.

Sketch by Helen Ries for Levindale Auxiliary Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital contribution card, JMM 19993.138.11. Rosalyn Shechter with her sculpture “Lady Eve,” 1962, JMM 1974.21.17. Sketch of Marian Anderson by Reuben Kramer,” 1954, JMM 1991.115.4. “My Mother’s Bread,” still life painting by Herman Maril, 1955, JMM 1989.125.1.

Learn about these different types of Jewish art through the activities below. From exploring the work of Maryland Jewish artists to creating your own ritual and folk art, we hope you enjoy this introduction to Jewish art.

Think about what you can learn by looking at and making art. The art objects in the Museum’s collections are not just beautiful works, they also tell us important historical information. Things like what materials were available to artists of the time, what places used to look like, and even what people valued at the time.

Art tells stories. What kinds of stories do you want your art to tell?

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 Exploring Jewish Art activity packet as a single pdf here.

Everyday Observations

Drawing of a woman and child shopping in Baltimore, JMM 2005.66.84. Untitled painting of Lombard Street, JMM 2010.83.4. Sketchof the bar at Whitbread Tavern, September 17, 1979, JMM 2005.66.74. All works by Jacob Glushakow.

Jacob Glushakow was a Jewish Baltimore artist who painted scenes of everyday life, showing how our city and its people have changed over the years.

Now is a great time to use art to document your own life and how it has changed and is still changing. We’d love to add your work to our collections, just like Glushakow’s paintings! You can donate the work you create to JMM as part of our History is Now: JMM Collects Stories of the Pandemic Initiative.

Supplies‌ ‌needed:‌ ‌


Pencil, pen, markers, or paint

Download Instructions for Everyday Observations

Bonus: Grab a copy of our JMM Jacob Glushakow Coloring Book and a special color-your-own Glushakow valentine!

Learn more about Jacob Glushakow’s life and legacy in this video with his nephew, Robert:

Abstract Creations

“Decalogue,” pair of acrylic paintings on canvas, 1977, JMM 1987.50.1a. “Moses at the Burning Bush,” 1951, JMM 2011.18.1. “Aaron,” cut paper relief, 1977. JMM 1987.13.2.

Amalie Rothschild was another Jewish Baltimore artist with a very different style from Glushakow. She created abstract paintings and sculptures, works of art that don’t look realistic or lifelike.

In this activity, create your own work of abstract art using shapes, forms, and colors.

Supplies‌ ‌needed:‌ ‌


Pencil, pen, markers, or colored pencils

Download Instructions for Abstract Creations

Bonus: Learn more about Amalie Rothschild in this blog post from former JMM intern Codi Lamb.

Make a Mezuzah

Bezalel-style silver mezuzah, JMM 1996.141.54. Plastic mezuzah, Temple Oheb Shalom Collection, JMM 2004.97.65. Metal mezuzah cover, c. 1950s, JMM 1997.53.16. Bezalel mezuzah from Jerusalem, Temple Oheb Shalom Collection, JMM 2004.97.67.

A mezuzah is one of the key ritual art objects for the home.

In this activity, create your own mezuzah case – we suggest hanging it at a kid-friendly height on a doorpost. This is a perfect activity for using recycled materials from around your home.

Supplies‌ ‌needed:‌ ‌

Empty matchbox or other small recyclable container with an opening

Popsicle stick


Craft supplies

Masking tape


Download Instructions for Make a Mezuzah

If you’re looking for more ways to practice hiddur mitzvah (the beautification of ritual objects), check out this website which has a  collection of Jewish crafts that are great for holidays, Shabbat, and everyday life!

Snowflake Papercuts

Tamar Fishman, papercut artist, at work, Baltimore Jewish Times Collection, JMM 2012.54.24.2. Snowflake-style papercut by Fishman. Ketubah papercut by Fishman. Baltimore Jewish Times Collection, 2012.54.24.4,5. Photos by Craig Terkowitz.

‌Papercutting is one of the most popular forms of Jewish folk art. While you can make papercuts anytime of the year, now is a particularly great time since some people decorate their homes with papercuts before the holiday of Shavout.

Supplies needed:



Download Instructions for Snowflake Papercuts

Bonus: Learn more about papercut artist Tamar Fishman, who also designed the official 2018 US Hanukkah postage stamp!

Discover more about the history of Jewish papercutting and see some examples of beautiful artwork in this video:

Keep‌ ‌Discovering‌ ‌

Explore one of the largest collections of Jewish art online with the Center for Jewish Art. View works of art that are hundreds (and even thousands) of years old as well as more modern pieces.

Learn more about Jewish women artists around the world at the Jewish Women’s Archive.

Wikipedia has a long list of Jewish American artists to explore.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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