Posted on June 12th, 2015 by Rachel
A Welcome and a Farewell
With more than 80 people in attendance at Sunday’s Annual Meeting, the JMM membership approved the FY 16 slate of officers and trustees. We are pleased to welcome the following new members to the JMM board:
–Jeffrey Blavatt is the executive director of the Eisenhower Institute of Gettysburg College. He is also a co-founder and managing partner of Legal Services Group. An active member of Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Jeff has served on the boards of the Associated, Child Care Links and Baltimore County Child Care Advisory Council.
–Erica Breslau, PH.D. serves as scientific researcher in the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Since 2002 she has provided scientific leadership for cancer control and prevention activities in the areas of breast and colorectal cancers with concentrated research in aging, patient-provider communication, genomics and genetics in primary care and healthcare system decisions surrounding personalized medicine. She has a strong interest in archaeology and Jewish history.
–Roberta Greenstein is a career coach, travel coordinator for Off the Beaten Path Art Tours and also co-chairs downtown Charm City Hadassah group. Roberta has worked at several Associated agencies including the Darrell Friedman Institute and Jewish Vocational Services (currently known as Jewish Communal Services) and served as Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Howard County.
–Patti Neumann has extensive experience in sales and marketing as well as social medial strategy development. She is the founder/CEO of CITYPEEK. She is also a food and wine and social media columnist and blogger for the Baltimore City Paper, Jewish Times, Business Journal and CITYPEEK
–Judy Pachino is a speech language pathologist and is an active member of Beth El Congregation where she has served as a board member and sisterhood president. Judy has also been a member of Baltimore City’s Women’s Giving Circle.
In addition to these five new outstanding members of our board of trustees, JMM members also approved a new slate of officers including:
–Duke Zimmerman, President… Duke has been chair of the Collections Committee for the last seven years and has served four years as Vice President of JMM
–Dr. Robert Keehn, Vice President… Robert has been a chair of the Development Committee for the last four years and was reelected to a second term as Vice President.
–Saralynn Glass, Vice President… Saralynn will also serve as co-chair of the Collections Committee
–Toby Gordon, Vice President… Toby facilitated last March’s Board Retreat and will join Saralynn as a co-chair of Collections
–Bruce Hoffberger, Treasurer… Bruce is currently chair of the Finance Committee
–Arnold Fruman, Secretary… Arnold has served on the Board for six years
As wonderful as it is to welcome on board new leadership and members, our annual meeting is also always a bittersweet occasion as we say goodbye to several board members whose terms have ended. We would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the many contributions of the following individuals:
–Dr. Ira Papel – During Ira’s two-year tenure as President, he oversaw many important initiatives including the launch of our community master planning process, a task force devoted to refining the JMM vision which resulted in the production of new fundraising materials and two successive years of break even budgets which were accomplished through the successful completion of ambitious fundraising campaigns. Fortunately, Ira will remain on our executive committee as our Immediate Past President and will also chair our nominating committee.
–Jeff Dreifuss – As a longtime member of the JMM board and most recently filling the post of Vice-President, Jeff’s insightful perspectives helped shape our visioning process. Jeff also helped broaden our outreach to Howard County where he resides.
–Sarah Manekin – In the role of Board Secretary as well as chair of both our visioning taskforce and board nominating and education committees, Sarah has been responsible for helping to guide the Museum’s future vision.
–Brian McLaughlin – Brian’s experience as a real estate developer and knowledge of the local community informed our community master planning process.
–Jonathan Mogol – As co-chair of our facilities committee, Jonathan has played an integral role in helping us develop a plan for future growth. Jonathan has also worked with our staff to expand our reach to young adults through programs such as Purim Pandemonium.
We wish all of our outgoing board members all the best with their future endeavors and hope that they will continue to stay involved.
Posted on May 8th, 2015 by Rachel
So how are our volunteers doing?
Just in case anyone reading this newsletter is unfamiliar with the role of volunteers at JMM we offer this helpful guide:
Volunteers are a treasured JMM resource. Our volunteers play an important role in helping the Museum fulfill its mission. They provide many valuable services that supplement the basic essential functions of the staff. We utilize volunteers in two distinct areas – the front of the museum and the back of the museum. The volunteers in the front of the museum have direct contact with our visitors. The remaining volunteers work in the back of the museum and can generally be found in the library. Complete training is offered for all of our volunteer positions.
At the front desk
Front Desk Reception
The front desk reception volunteers provide an invaluable service to the Museum by maintaining a warm and welcome atmosphere for Museum guests. They serve as the Museum’s customer service representatives while orienting visitors to the Museum complex. By informing visitors about tour times, current and upcoming exhibitions, and programs, they provide information about all services that the Museum offers. Other tasks include processing admission fees for groups and individuals, answering the telephone, and maintaining an accurate daily count of visitors.
Museum docents possess an interest in history and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others. They perform an essential duty by leading tours and by interpreting the history of the Museum’s two historic synagogues and exhibitions for adults, families, and school groups of all ages. A series of training sessions is offered to those interested in joining our docent corps and focuses on the history of Baltimore’s Jewish community.
Museum Gift Shop
The Museum’s gift shop, filled with beautiful Judaica, Museum catalogs, and exhibition related merchandise, is a destination for Museum visitors. Gift shop volunteers assist guests with purchases, process cash and credit card payments, arrange merchandise on shelves and in windows, and assist the shop manager with ordering merchandise and conducting store inventory.
Throughout the year, the Museum holds many programs and special events. Programs include exhibition openings, family holiday programs, lectures, film series, and theatrical and musical performances. Special event volunteers provide much needed assistance with these events by greeting visitors, processing admission fees, maintaining an accurate count of visitors, helping with refreshments, selling memberships, and facilitating art projects.
Working in the archives department
The Library and Archives of the JMM offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. Projects include organizing archival collections, preparing collections for proper storage, creating documents to assist researchers, and digital imaging. Archives projects are conducive to long term or temporary volunteering. Typing and computer skills are preferred, but not always required. All new volunteers will be given an orientation to the care and handling of archival objects.
Volunteers in the collections department will work on a variety of projects. These include writing catalog records for objects, taking digital photographs of objects (camera provided, or you can use your own), organizing collection records, sorting incoming artifacts, helping to store and pack artifacts, and preparing objects in the collection for exhibition. Temporary assignments are available. Experience in the handling of fragile items is desired, but not required.
Volunteers use their expertise to assist researchers in The Robert L. Weinberg Family History Center. They offer support with the interpretation of the many resources available for pursuing family history and genealogical research. This includes providing lookups, searching out tombstones, and much more. Experience in genealogical research is required.
The Bottom Line
All told our volunteers contribute over 7,000 hours annually. This number also includes members of our Board of Directors and our Summer Interns. The Independent Sector values an hour of volunteer time in the state of Maryland at $26.41. That calculates to a contribution of almost $185,000.00 to the JMM in the last year. We welcome new volunteers to the JMM year round and appreciate our volunteers dearly. Please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Ilene Cohen at 410-732-6400 x217.
Posted on April 10th, 2015 by Rachel
On Monday, March 30, 25 JMM trustees gathered at the home of Ira and Shelley Malis for a board retreat. The afternoon was designed to foster conversation, brainstorming and strategic thinking about the JMM’s future. Since the Nominating Committee had completed its slate for FY ’16, we were able to include new Board candidates as well as veterans in this three hour event. Judging from breakout activity results and participant feedback we are pleased with the retreat’s successful outcome.
Retreat chair, Toby Gordon, kicked off the event with a creative opening activity that made use of innovative technology and tested trustee knowledge about the JMM. Sample questions included “What has been the JMM’s most popular program this year?” (Most were surprised to hear it was the children’s concert by Joannie Leeds) and “What’s the earliest recorded donation to the JMM collections?” (A genealogy chart for Elkins Myers). Participants were able to answer questions using a polling device that allowed everyone to see the answers on a screen which made the exercise even more entertaining and educational.
Our Joanie Leeds Chanukah Concert was the surprise success of the season.
Following the opening exercise, we broke into smaller groups for a breakout activity that asked each person to think about “JMM dream projects”. Groups spent time together brainstorming ideas that could help the Museum accomplish its goals of becoming a destination and site for documentation, discourse and discovery. Ideas generated from the breakout groups ranged from focusing on creating a downtown cultural center through performances, film festivals and more to opening a kosher restaurant, opening on Saturdays and developing more kid-centered programs such as camps.
After a break for dinner, the group re-convened for presentations from Marvin Pinkert, Robert Keehn, Ira Papel and Duke Zimmerman that focused on future directions of the Museum. A presentation by Tom McGilloway of Mahan Rykiel, an architectural firm hired to head the community master planning effort, inspired much discussion and reflection about what kinds of changes are needed in Historic Jonestown that can help pave the way for the JMM’s future expansion. Marvin also laid out a five-year plan that maps out important initiatives – including expansion, exhibitions, education and programs – we plan on undertaking over the next several years.
The retreat concluded with a discussion of how trustees can become more personally involved in the JMM’s future success. Robert Keehn shared some examples of how individual efforts have aided the Museum’s fundraising efforts. Each trustee was asked to turn in a board pledge listing the various ways that they plan on becoming more engaged in the year ahead by attending meetings and programs, bringing friends to the Museum and pitching membership and by assisting with solicitations. We appreciate the thoughtful responses we received to this request which included: helping to connect the Museum to young adults, serving as JMM ambassadors in other regions of the state and assisting with outreach efforts in the non-Jewish community.
We were delighted by the feedback we received from participants who enjoyed the opportunity to mingle and network with one another in such a beautiful and informal setting. We also plan on using the ideas generated from breakout groups and discussion as a springboard for future planning efforts. Thanks to our wonderful board members for making this event such a positive experience!