Performance Counts, June 2013

Posted on June 14th, 2013 by

The JMM Board Renews Itself

Last Sunday’s Annual Meeting of the Jewish Museum of Maryland marked the beginning of a new annual cycle for the Board.  Outgoing trustees were thanked and a new slate of officers elected.

It seems like such a natural course of events, that it is easy to forget just how exceptional the work of a non-profit Board like ours is.  The 27 current Board members (as well as 10 former Board presidents) volunteer their time, energy and financial resources to advance the cause of the Museum, without expectation of personal reward or advancement.  They do this because they care deeply about Baltimore’s Jewish past, but also because they are committed to strengthening our future.

_RWK2288The new leadership of the Board includes Dr. Ira Papel, President.  At the annual meeting Dr. Papel spoke to the core mission of the museum, “The Jewish Museum of Maryland is a unique institution serving the greater Maryland community. Not only is it a depository of archival information, but a resource to place our past and present cultures in a context to understand the role of the Jewish community in Maryland over hundreds of years.  It is always fascinating to look back and see how different generations coped with the challenges of their times. We are fortunate that so much information has been saved, and therefore made available to us through facilities like the JMM.”

_RWK2308Dr. Papel is joined in the slate of officers by Vice Presidents Jeff Dreifuss, Robert Keehn and Duke Zimmerman and by the new treasurer, JL Reischer and Secretary Sarah Manekin.  After two years of exceptional service as leader of the Board, Larry Caplan will continue to be part of the Executive Committee in the role of Immediate Past President.  Officers are elected each year, but the President is typically renewed for a second year and other officers may serve up to six consecutive years.

New members of the class of 2016 were Jennie Gates Beckman, Manager of Civic Engagement and Repair the World Programming at the Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies;  Jay Goldscher, CEO of HBP/Whitmore, a leader in the printing and graphics industry; and Ira Malis, who just recently retired as Director of Institutional Sales at Stifel Nicolaus and Co.  Members were elected to three-year terms.  Arnold Fruman of National Lumber Co. also accepted a one-year Presidential appointment to extend his service.

_RWK2336In addition to the Annual Meeting and quarterly Board meetings, there are six Executive Committee meetings scheduled for the year ahead.  Much of the work of the Board is actually managed through the eight committees that recommend policies, seek resources and network the Museum with the community.  Major committees include Development, Programs, Finance, Collections, Facilities, Marketing and Audit.  There is a plan to split the Board Development Committee in the year ahead into a dedicated Nominating Committee and a Committee on Board Engagement.  In FY 2013 we had task forces working on Accreditation, Membership and the Futures Committee and we are likely to create new groups to meet the challenges of the year ahead.

For a small museum, Board commitment is key.  This year’s Board leadership campaign exceeded $91,000 – double the funds raised just three years ago.  Equally important, the Board has taken strides towards 100% participation in the campaign.  Board members are increasing their visibility as ambassadors for the Museum and bringing in new friends to multiply our strength.

2013 built a great foundation for the new year to come…the inaugural meeting of the new Board and officers is this July 15th.




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Insights from the Jewish Museum of Maryland, April 19, 2013

Posted on April 19th, 2013 by

In this month’s JMM Insight we wanted to take you into the world of government relations.  In the last few years direct support from government agencies to museums has fallen sharply at both the state and federal levels.  However, government policy – on issues ranging from education to tax law still have a profound effect on museum operations.  The American Association of Museums changed its name to American Alliance of Museums last year to reflect its important role as a collective voice for the industry on a national scale (JMM is an accredited member).  While we work closely with the Baltimore Jewish Council on government issues of local concern, we also participate in the Alliance’s national efforts to make the contributions of museums better known to Congress.  Each year we send a delegation to Museum Advocacy Day.  In this issue you’ll hear from Esther Weiner, store manager, board liaison and museum advocate extraordinaire.


February 25 and 26, 2013

estherWhen Deborah Cardin sent out an email to the staff asking for volunteers to attend a 2-day meeting in Washington, sponsored by the American Alliance of Museums,  a meeting titled, “Museum Advocacy Day 2013”, I jumped at the opportunity.

 I was quite familiar with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a key federal agency, having worked with the grants that came to the JMM from IMLS, so I knew of the marvelous work that they accomplished with museums all over the country thru their grants.   I wanted to learn the inside of this organization, as well as AAM, and see how they accomplished the quite amazing things that they did through the grant awards that were given.  Another key federal agency is the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH); the JMM has been the beneficiary of grants from this agency as well.

Capital in Washington for Advocacy Day

Robyn Hughes, our wonderful and amazing docent, had already volunteered for the second time, so I thought this would be great, the two of us to represent the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  In her own words, Robyn said, “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to represent the Jewish Museum of Maryland and the American Alliance of Museums as an Advocate on Museums Advocacy Day 2013 on Capitol Hill. It is my sincere hope that our lobbying efforts for the inclusion of museums in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will enable thousands of public school students from city schools across the nation to continue to benefit from museum outreach programs.”

There were approximately 270 representatives to this conference from all over the country.  Most of the representatives had been to this conference before, but there were also novices like myself.  The conference was a two-day affair. The first day the meeting was held at George Washington University, in their Marvin Center, with speakers all day long.  It was also a great opportunity to network with representatives of museums from all over the country and to learn how to advocate for our own museum, in two minutes or less!  We heard of the unique budgetary and political challenges that museums face in 2013 and the power of having the museum speak with one voice.

Robyn Hughes and Esther Weiner in Washington @ Sen. Ben Cardin's office

On the second day, all of us were inspired and primed with our own two-minute talk to the representatives and senator that the Alliance had arranged for each of us. I had prepared an Economic Impact Statement well as an Educational Impact Statement with facts about the JMM. Our preparation was to encourage the representatives and senators to vote for increased funding for IMLS, which we knew would be cut in the new budget.  We went in groups to the offices of Congressman John Delaney, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, and in the afternoon to the office of Senator Ben Cardin. We were always cordially received, and met with the Legislative Assistants in each case.

It was an extraordinary experience and I am so glad that I volunteered to represent the JMM and to travel around the House and Senate with Robyn Hughes.  Robyn was great, and having her mother with us was a treat.  Being “on the Hill” has its own particular fascination, and fascinated I was! Would I do this again?  You bet, so thank you Deborah, for giving me the opportunity to hopefully make a difference for the JMM.

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Museum Matters: April 2013

Posted on April 8th, 2013 by

Monthly Newsletter from

the Jewish Museum of Maryland


Songs, Stories and New Lives: 

The JMM is delighted to announce that our annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on immigration will take place on Sunday, April 14. Join us for a free concert, Songs of Arrival/Stories of Refuge, as we celebrate the cultural contributions of immigrant groups through musical performances. Each year Frank and Helen Risch generously sponsor a public program in honor of Frank’s late parents, Herbert and Irma Risch, who, as German Jewish refugees in the 1930s, found safe haven in the US.  This year’s program will take place at the Langsdale Library Auditorium on the University of Baltimore Campus (1420 Maryland Avenue).  The event begins at 4pm and will feature four musical performances that share a story of immigration – Andres Salguero, Ssuuna, The DC Turkish Folk Music Group, and Susan Leviton.
Andres2_resizedAndres Salguero, an educator and an award-winning singer-songwriter from Colombia, enjoys promoting multiculturalism, Spanish language and Latin culture. In 2000, Andrés was the recipient of the National Composition Contest in his native Colombia.  He holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and has been performing for children since 2007.

Ssuuna is a dancer, percussionist, singer, songwriter, and recording artist from Uganda. Raised in a time of civil war and political turmoil, he turned to the Ugandan traditional music to alleviate his hopelessness and suffering.  Today Ssuuna develops and performs educational programs that teach and promote tolerance and diversity through an exotic fusion of traditional and contemporary East African music, dance and storytelling, accompanied by traditional instruments.

Turkish Folk Group

The DC Turkish Folk Music Group consists of all volunteer musicians and singers. In 2003, the group was established as the Greater Washington Area Turkish Music and Choral Society.  The main purposes of the Washington DC Turkish Folk Music Group are to keep Turkish folk music alive, to practice and to educate.  It is a non-profit and is open to everyone who wants to learn and practice Turkish Folk Music.

susan leviton

Susan Leviton is an interpreter of Jewish songs, and a master calligrapher and papercutter.  She is one of the only contemporary female performers reviving the craft of a cappella Yiddish singing, using storytelling to convey appreciation and understanding to non-Yiddish speaking audiences.  Based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Susan frequently tours with her art workshops, residencies and concerts.

HIAS purple @130In addition to the musical performances, guest speaker, Mark Hetfield, CEO and President of HIAS will discuss that organization’s changing work over the past 130 years of working with immigrants.  He will also honor Inge Weinberger, former Executive Director of HIAS Baltimore, and herself a German Jewish refugee who came to the US in the 1930s.

The event is free and open to the public.  For more information please visit or contact / 410-732-6400 ext. 215. Program co-sponsors include THE ASSOCIATED, Baltimore Jewish Council, HIAS, and the University of Baltimore. 


Your Chance to be a Part of the Alliance: 

AAM-logoAAM, the national organization of museums, has held more than 100 annual meetings in its long history…but this May, in Baltimore, they will hold their first annual meeting under their new name: The American Alliance of Museums.  The host committee for the meeting has created a unique way for you to join the Alliance.

If you go to the webpage and click on the tab that says “six-word project”, you can create a message that will greet all the delegates to the meeting.  Following the model of Ernest Hemingway, who was asked to write an entire story in just six words, you’ll be invited to compress your favorite museum experience into a half dozen blanks.  We’re sure you’ll be writing about JMM so as a tip we’d point out that if you don’t use spaces you can make ZapPowBam into one word!

While you are on the museum week website, check out some of the other treats planned for late May.  Under special events you will find our listing of a public workshop on developing historic spaces that will be held in the Lloyd Street Synagogue on May 20.  May 20 will be a free day at JMM but we’re asking you to RSVP for the workshop.


Upcoming Programs: 

Please note that unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). For more information and to RSVP for specific programs, contact Rachel Cylus: (410) 732-6400 x215 / For more information on JMM events please visit http:///

Tot Shabbat

02.03.2012 Tot Shabbat 015Friday, April 12, 10:30am

Free Admission

Co-sponsored by the JCC

Join us on as we welcome Shabbat with singing, dancing, puppets and more. Your child will learn the blessings over the candles, wine (grape juice) and Challah. Families will also engage in a Jewish ritual craft project to take home. Following the program, JMM exhibits will be open for families to visit.

Please contact Kim Jacobsohn at, 443-248-4219 with any questions.


The Herbert and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration

Songs of Arrival/Stories of Refuge

Sunday, April 14, 4:00 pm

Free Admission

The Langsdale Auditorium, The University of Baltimore

1420 Maryland Avenue, Baltimore, MD

(see program description above)


Israel Party With BIYA

Israel PartyTuesday, April 16, 6:00pm

Bay Café, 2809 Boston Street, Baltimore 21224

Co-sponsored by B’nai Israel Congregation


Details to follow.


Disability Awareness Day at the JMM

312px-Braille_closeupSunday, April 21, 1:00-4:00pm

Free with Museum Admission

Explore the JMM through the senses.  Learn how the Museum makes our exhibits and historic synagogues interesting and accessible to all.


Brews & Schmooze with JT Waldman

JT WaldmanThursday, April 25, 6:00-9:00pm

Free Admission

In honor of the Zap! Pow! Bam! exhibit, enjoy a night of Pub Trivia – aka Jewish Geek Quizzo – with Comic Illustrator and longtime JMM friend, JT Waldman. Test your knowledge of all things comic and Jewish.  Win prizes, drink beer and sharpen your wits and knowledge to catch more jokes on Big Bang Theory.

Light refreshments served.  Beer and wine provided for purchase. Brews & Schmooze is sponsored through the generous support of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education.


Bessie Bluefeld Living History Debut

bessieTuesday, April 30, reception: 6:30pm / performance: 7:00pm

Free Admission

Join us as we present our newest living history character from the Leo V. Berger Immigrant’s Trunk program.  Bessie Bluefeld was a young immigrant woman who made a name for herself in the catering business.  Her company, Bluefeld Catering, became synonymous with quality and class throughout Baltimore.  Meet actress Terry Nicholetti as she portrays Baltimore icon, Bessie Bluefeld.


Jews on The Move Program

Suburbia brochureThursday, May 2, 8:oo pm

Beth El Congregation

8101 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21208

View the JMM exhibit Jews on The Move that explores the history of the Jewish exodus from the city to the northwest suburbs. Program details will be announced shortly.


Meet the Austrian Ambassador

Flag_of_Austria_(state).svgThursday, May 9

A joint program with the AJC, Moishe House and B’nai Israel Young Adult

Learn about Jewish life in Austria today with special guest Ambassador Dr. Hans Peter Manz



More Programs

Check out the website of our neighbors at B’nai Israel Congregation for more fun and learning for all ages.



Baltimore is fortunate to have not just one but two Jewish museum experiences within a 50 mile radius. In each month’s Museum Matters, we are pleased to share with you programs taking place at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. Each month’s Museum Matters features

Discounts on DC Walking Tours for JMM Members & Guests

Join the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington’s walking tours. JMM members and guests receive member pricing: $15 per person—a $5 discount!

Arlington National Cemetery Tour

Confederate Memorial (1914) by prominent Jewish sculptor Sir Moses Ezekiel

Confederate Memorial (1914) by prominent Jewish sculptor Sir Moses Ezekiel.


Sunday, May 5, 10:00 a.m.

Learn about the cemetery’s Jewish history on this 3-hour walking tour at the country’s premier military cemetery.

To register, click here.




Downtown Jewish Washington Tour

Tour stops at former site of Washington Hebrew Congregation.

Tour stops at former site of Washington Hebrew Congregation.

Sunday, May 19, 1:00 p.m.

See four historic synagogues and learn about Jewish life along historic Seventh Street during this 1 ½-hour walking tour!

To register, click here.

Have questions? Contact for more information. We hope to see you there!



Exhibits currently on display at the JMM include ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950; Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore; and The Synagogue Speaks!

 Current exhibits

Jews on the Move: Baltimore and the Suburban Exodus, 1945-1968 is currently on view at Beth El Congregation (8101 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21208).



The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm. We offer tours of our historic synagogues each day at 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00.


The JMM Museum Shop is chock full of fun mementos to take home with you as a souvenir of your visit to Zap! Pow! Bam!


Check these out! For more information and to purchase your special item, call Esther Weiner, 410-732-6400 x211 /


Now that we are open more hours, we are looking for additional volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or


We have officially launched our new membership program. Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families. You can purchase your membership here!

All members will receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street. Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or

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