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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Ten Ways to Become More Deeply Engaged with the Jewish Museum

Posted on February 8th, 2013 by


Once a month we send out our “Performance Counts” newsletter to Museum insiders. In honor of Valentine’s Day, this month’s “Performance Counts” was all about the romance behind the numbers. I decided it was too cute not to share with all of you!

1. Come visit and bring a friend.  Our on-site attendance in January moved from 356 in 2012 to 697 in 2013.  Almost all of this gain came from families and individuals rather than groups.  The word is out that Zap! Pow! Bam! is fun for the whole family.  Call a neighbor and suggest a visit.

2. Pass along the message that membership counts.  In January we sent out 581 membership renewal notices.  These were the first notices for our new membership program – featuring new discounted memberships for students, teachers and seniors and premium memberships for those seeking an even closer connection to the Museum and its programs.  When you talk with your friends and neighbors about your excitement about changes at the Museum, you may find yourself talking to a candidate for membership renewal – be our matchmaker and help us close the deal.

3. Like us.  Well, I know you like us.  But it would count even more if you “liked” us on Facebook.  We have 987 “likes” on our Facebook page and your click would help raise our profile.  And while you’re liking us, we will like you back with great content and information about upcoming programs and our collections.

4. Tweet us sweet nothings.  We have 569 followers on Twitter.  This quick, short communication gives us instant feedback on our postings and programs.  It doesn’t have to be profound, it can just be engaged.

5. Find your loved ones through us.  We may not run a dating service, but we did have 80 research requests in January and most of these concerned questions of genealogy.  We are a premier resource for building family history within the Jewish community of Maryland, and we are a cheap date, you can find your connections for free.

6. Become an apple polisher – send us your teacher.  We have developed not one, but two curriculum guides for the Zap! Pow! Bam! exhibit.  One geared towards public schools and the other towards the special needs of Jewish day schools.  While bookings for field trips are running strong (two are scheduled this Sunday!), we could still use your help in spreading the news about this exceptional learning opportunity.

7. Love among the stacks.  In February “Jews on the Move” has packed its bags for the Enoch Pratt Public Library.  Located in a prominent location near the front of the central library, we are expecting that more than 2,000 visitors will view the exhibit at this site.  Expect more data in an upcoming issue of this newsletter.

8. Take a snapshot of your loved one (or beloved place).  Someday that photo might qualify to become a part of our collection.  In 2012 we added 3,059 new photo records and we scanned 6,257 photo images into our online database – a 8.8% growth with no increase in staff.  Making the evidence of our past available through our online database is our Valentine’s gift to you.

9. Chocolates are always nice.  I’ve just started browsing through the book On the Chocolate Trail by Rabbi Deborah Prinz now available in the JMM bookshop.  The book is subtitled “A delicious adventure connecting Jews, religions, history, travel, rituals and recipes to the magic of cacao”.  From the Inquisition to a box of Bartons, the author traces the love affair between Jews and Chocolate.  What a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day (and the number?, it’s in paperback for $18.99). Email Esther to reserve your copy!

10. Our closest friends stay in touch.  In January, we not only generated three newsletters but sixteen blog posts on our website drafted by nine different members of the staff.  We’d like to increase our two-way communication.  Write us, or tweet us, or comment on the blog posts so that we know how we can better serve you.  When it comes right down to it, we want you to be our Valentine.

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