We the People (of JMM)

Posted on July 14th, 2017 by

Performance Counts: July 2017

Journalist and author Steven Roberts speaks at the JMM 2017 Annual Meeting.

Journalist and author Steven Roberts speaks at the JMM 2017 Annual Meeting. Photo by Will Kirk.

Every month in our “Performance Counts” newsletter we feature the facts and numbers behind what we do.   But, of course, its not facts and numbers that underlie our success – it’s people: the board, staff and volunteers who give their passion, talents and energy to make JMM a vital part of this community.  In the next ten days we will honor and welcome participants in all three groups!

On July 16 we will honor our volunteers for more than 7500 total hours of service by 69 individuals.  This year our volunteers were docents on over 350 synagogue tours, spent countless hours greeting visitors at the front desk and judged 93 projects for the My Family Story competition.  In Collections, volunteers scanned and uploaded more than 7,000 photos from the Baltimore Jewish Times, made folder lists for more than 4,000 folders in JMM’s institutional archives, and processed two major new archival accessions, cataloguing them and creating finding aids.

The 2016 Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.

The 2016 Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.

Volunteers were also crucial in our success in working with survivor families on the 91 collages created for the Remembering Auschwitz exhibit.  Well beyond the numbers, volunteers opened their hearts to the painful recollections of these family members.

We are honoring the volunteers with a reprise of the Henrietta Szold living history performance we created last fall.

Hard at work at the 2017 Board Retreat.

Hard at work at the 2017 Board Retreat.

At the July 18 Board Meeting we will welcome six new Board members (also volunteers):  Alan Dorenfeld, Shelley Goldseker, Lola Hahn, Bonnie Heneson, Skip Klein and Abe Kronsberg.

Robert Keehn is being promoted to Senior Vice President and Len Weinberg is now a one of our three Vice Presidents.All of our other officers – Duke Zimmerman, Toby Gordon, Saralynn Glass, Bruce Hoffberger and Arnold Fruman will continue to serve this fiscal year.

Jeff Katz, Lee Rosenberg, Jeffrey Scherr, Rikki Spector and Claire Tesh will begin fresh three year terms.

The Nominating Committee, led by Dr. Ira Papel, has once more done an outstanding job of strengthening our Board by recruiting candidates  who bring a diversity of skills and experience to the JMM including marketing, real estate development, fundraising and community relations.

We can't thank our board members enough! Photo by Will Kirk.

We can’t thank our board members enough! Photo by Will Kirk.

We also thank our two retiring Board members: Wendy Jachman who played a pivotal role in growing our fundraising capacity as co-chair of our development committee and who helped us forge partnerships with organizations such as Baltimore Center Stage.  Crystal Watkins Johannson served six years on our board.  She was a member of our marketing committee and helped JMM reach out to both young adults and members of the medical community.
On July 24 the newest member of the JMM staff will officially become part of our team.  Lorie Rombro will take on the job of Archivist, working with Collections Manager, Joanna Church, to serve the needs of researchers, authors and exhibit developers.  She will be a critical member of our team in “mining” the hundreds of boxes of documents in our holdings for insights that our useful to our core exhibit on Jewish Maryland and The Associated’s upcoming centennial.Lorie has worked with collections and archives at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and two of its affiliate historic sites – Woodlawn Plantation in Virginia and Villa Finale in Texas.  She has a BA from Dickinson College and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from George Washington University.  She has deep family roots in Baltimore.  Her great-grandfather was Rabbi Avraham Schwartz of Shomrei Mishmeres (Lloyd Street Synagogue).

 

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Reflections on Remembering Auschwitz

Posted on June 16th, 2017 by

This month’s Performance Counts comes from Deputy Director Deborah Cardin!

The exhibit is really wonderful!  As upsetting a subject as it is, you did a beautiful job of showing not just the history, but the memories and the humanity that followed.  The collages [in the Holocaust Memory Reconstruction Project] are amazing!  (Visitor Comment)

School of the Cathedral

School of the Cathedral

During its three-month installation, Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity had a tremendous impact on our visitors, volunteers and staff. By focusing on Jewish life in Oswiecim (the town that became known as Auschwitz after German occupation in 1939), the construction of the camps on the town’s outskirts, what it means to commemorate sites like Auschwitz today and the diverse experiences of our local community of Holocaust survivors, we succeeded in shedding new light onto a familiar topic.

The Opening of Remembering Auschwitz

The Opening of Remembering Auschwitz, photo by Will Kirk.

With more than 3,400 visitors, including 800 school children and teachers, Remembering Auschwitz proved popular with visitors of diverse backgrounds. School groups from the Talmudical Academy, St. Mary Catholic School (Hagerstown), the Green Street Academy (Baltimore City) and partner schools, John Ruhrah and City Springs, among others, participated in exhibit tours and a follow up activity in which students worked together in groups to create collages based on what they saw in the exhibit. The positive feedback we received from teachers indicates that the exhibit served as a powerful educational tool.

Together We Remember

Together We Remember

Exhibit-related programs expounded on additional themes and attracted large audiences. We offered visitors opportunities to hear first-hand testimony from survivors of Auschwitz (Bluma Shapiro and Golda Kalib) as well as from scholars, artists, educators, filmmakers and even a former tour guide of the camp who reflected on how the interpretation of the Memorial at Auschwitz has evolved in the 70 years since its liberation. One particularly moving program, Together We Remember, invited audience members to recite the names of victims of worldwide atrocities – not just the Holocaust – in an effort to remind ourselves that the horrors of the Holocaust are still ongoing in other parts of the world. Surveys collected after each program reflected high visitor satisfaction with program content and format and included comments such as “This entire series [of programs] on the Holocaust was amazing – so important, especially for someone like me, a Holocaust survivor and child of survivors.”

IMPACT night at the JMM

IMPACT night at the JMM

We were delighted to host several groups during the exhibit’s run. An educator’s night, sponsored in partnership with the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC) and the Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University, attracted more than 40 teachers and administrators from local public, independent and parochial schools. More than 80 young adults gathered for an exhibit tour and reception sponsored by Impact and the BJC’s Holocaust Remembrance Commission. The event featured the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors who shared their grandparents’ stories with their peers. More recently we hosted a reunion of men who have participated in the Associated’s Chairman’s Mission to Israel and a board meeting of the Jewish National Fund. Each of these groups took the opportunity to participate in exhibit tours as part of their visit.

When What's Past is Prologue

When What’s Past is Prologue

The exhibit’s success was due, in part, to the publicity we received in the Baltimore Jewish Times and JMORE. Thanks to sponsorship from Maryland Humanities we were invited to record a promotional spot as part of its Humanities Connection on WYPR. In addition staff appeared on On The Record with Sheilah Kast to discuss the exhibit which provided tremendous exposure. Programs were also highlighted in the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post which helped attract visitors beyond our usual demographic.

Holocaust Memory Reconstruvtion participants.

Holocaust Memory Reconstruvtion participants.

Remembering Auschwitz marks an important milestone in the JMM’s ongoing commitment to serving as a center for Holocaust commemoration and education. Our reputation as a leader in the field of education has been enhanced through our annual Summer Teachers Institute as well as one-day workshops offered throughout the year, in partnership with the BJC. The Memory Reconstruction Project provided us with the opportunity to develop closer relationships with our local community of Holocaust survivors and their families as well as to forge partnerships with other organizations. As we continually heard from visitors, Remembering Auschwitz offered new information and perspectives while allowing opportunities for reflection and conversation on important topics. We look forward to continuing the dialog begun with visitors through future programs and exhibits.

We are grateful to our sponsors: The Herbert Bearman Foundation, The Charles Crane Family Foundation, Richard and Rosalee C. Davison Foundation, Larry Boltansky, Maryland Humanities, Klein Sandler Family Fund, Alvin and Louise Myerberg Family Foundation, Mirowski Family Foundation, Henry and Barbara Rosenbaum and John and Gloria Segall for making the success of Remembering Auschwitz possible.

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A Beautiful Day in Our Neighborhood

Posted on May 12th, 2017 by

Have you seen our sign?

Have you seen our sign?

I admit that when I first applied to work for the Jewish Museum of Maryland, I had no idea where “Jonestown” was. I wasn’t alone. Regular fans of JMM may remember the articles we saw in surrounding the unveiling of the Jonestown vision plan. Through the creation of that plan, we and our partners learned that many residents and business-owners in Jonestown didn’t know where Jonestown was. Not anymore.

Today, Jonestown (JMM’s neighborhood, bounded to the north by Orleans Street, the east by Central Ave, the west by Fallsway and the south by Pratt Street) is on the brink of a true renaissance.  This “Performance Counts” newsletter often regales you with numbers and metrics. This month, I am only thinking about one number: seven. It’s a number important in Jewish culture, and it happens to be the number, by my count, of significant improvements and developments—recent or forthcoming—in our changing neighborhood.

Breaking ground

Breaking ground

1. I recently had the privilege to attend the official groundbreaking for the new Ronald McDonald House, which will have an Aisquith address, but will fill the much of the block between Fayette and Baltimore Streets a stone’s throw to our northeast. The groundbreaking was educational and emotional for me, as I learned with some heartache about the hope and care that RMHC provides for children suffering from serious illness and their families.

Check out that snazzy entrance!

Check out that snazzy entrance!

2. Just west of the soon-to-be RMHC on Fayette, you’ll find a huge brick structure, painted with jaunty gray diagonal color blocks. This facility, the newly-opened UA House of Living Classrooms, provides support, smiles, activities and an inviting and safe place before and after school for neighborhood children and youth.

3. Also on Fayette, the National Aquarium is working on renovating a 50,000 sq foot property that will serve as an animal care and rescue facility. We understand from our colleagues at the Aquarium that the new space will allow them to properly quarantine and care for animals, and that they do have plans to make it available to visitors on a limited basis.

Hendler Creamery Corporation

Hendler Creamery Corporation

4. A little closer to the Museum, on Baltimore Street, the long-vacant and historic Hendler Ice Cream factory is soon to be converted into both retail and luxury apartments. The developer’s plans include nearly 300 apartments, two floors of parking, and 20,000 square feet of retail. (We have heard through the grapevine that the developers are hoping to incorporate several café-style restaurants in the retail portion. Needless to say, JMM staff is excited!)

The McKim Center

The McKim Center

5. The McKim Center, the Lloyd Street Synagogue’s older sister, will soon be situated right between the new Hendler Creamery development and the new Ronald McDonald House. Its new neighbors, recognizing the historic, cultural and emotional impact of this community anchor, are each planning to help improve the center’s immediate surrounds, with RMHC creating a new park and playground as a part of its plans and the Hendler project adding a façade clean-up and repair of the 184-year-old building.

The JEA

The JEA

6. Speaking of old buildings with Jewish history, the Helping Up Mission recently acquired the former home of the Jewish Educational Alliance (the precursor of the JCC) at 1216 E. Baltimore Street. (My colleagues blogged about their recent visit there.) Helping Up Mission has big plans for the site, which they plan to use to expand their residential work therapy services so that they can help women as well as men.

Helping Up Mission

Helping Up Mission

7. Helping Up Mission, in addition to being our neighbor, is also our tenant. In the middle of last year, they rented 5 Lloyd Street from the JMM. Per our agreement, they’ve done considerable work on the property as a part of their rent. They have been such good tenants at 5 Lloyd Street, that when they expressed interest in the property we own on Lombard Street, formerly Lenny’s Deli, we were eager to listen. As of this month, and until the end of November, Helping Up is renting the Lenny’s property. They’re doing a lot of work on it this month, getting it ready for their needs—to serve as their cafeteria for the residents of the mission while their own kitchen facilities are completely renovated. We are currently reviewing our options for the use of the site past November.

So what about the Jewish Museum of Maryland amid these seven key changes in Jonestown? Fear not, dear reader, we have plans that will make you proud! We are refining a vision for our future that will create a Center for Discourse and Discovery at JMM – with a special focus on Holocaust/genocide education in the 21st century, reposition the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue as a landmark of religious liberty, and add improved program and exhibit space to our main museum building.

These are exciting times! I hope to see you around the Museum and in the neighborhood soon!

Jonestown: Proudly we hail.

Jonestown: Proudly we hail.

A blog post by Associate Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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