Random Acts of Kindness

Posted on November 7th, 2018 by

A blog post by Director of Learning and Visitor Engagement Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

It’s hard to believe that 10 days ago, there was a shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in American history. As a response, millions of Jews worldwide along with people of all faiths pledged to #ShowUpForShabbat this past weekend in solidarity with Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, sending a resounding message that love triumphs over hate.

I have been touched by the interactions that I have had with many people over the past 10 days as a response to the tragic event. I have observed so many random acts of kindness. People have gone out of their ways to show support and to renounce hatred of any kind. I have received emails from non-Jewish colleagues expressing their support and concern. I have heard stories that synagogues in our community have received random bouquets of flowers with notes of support, care and prayers for the Jewish community.

On Halloween, we had 4th and 5th graders from the Peace Academy at the Oneness-Family School in Montgomery County visit the JMM. Some students even came dressed in the Halloween costumes! The students were studying Judaism and immigration history in school. Their visit included a tour of the historic synagogues and guided activities through the Voices of Lombard Street and the Houdini exhibits.

As the students got back on the bus, the teacher handed our volunteer docent, Lois Fekete, a handful of cards that the students had created in school. As adults, we sometimes forget about how events affect children.

I must say that I was blown away by these cards.

Once again, random acts of kindness- this time from the mouths of 10 and 11-year-olds.

This Wednesday, November 7th, our community will come together at Moses Montefiore Synagogue to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known as “The Night of Broken Glass.” On the evening of November 9, 1938, violent anti-Jewish demonstrations broke out across Germany, Austria, and areas of Czechoslovakia. Over the next two days, violent mobs provoked by antisemitic incitement by Nazi officials, destroyed hundreds of synagogues, and burned and desecrated thousands of Jewish religious artifacts.

The recent attack in Pittsburgh illustrates that anti-semitism and events such as Kristallnacht are not simply facts referred to in history books but are prevalent in our world today. It is the hope that this program will educate about the dangers of bigotry and open the hearts and minds of people. We need to continue to do random acts of kindness to our fellow man. By coming together as a community, we find comfort as we gather “to remember” and to “stand up” to ensure that antisemitism has no place in our world.

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




YES, MAAM!

Posted on October 30th, 2017 by

A blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

Last Thursday, I got up early, hopped on my chariot, and headed to Pittsburgh for the Annual Conference for the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (aka MAAM).   The mission of MAAM is to support and promote excellence, ethics, and accessibility in museum practices; and to make the museums of the Mid-Atlantic region better able to preserve and interpret our diverse cultural, scientific, and aesthetic heritage. I was invited to Pittsburgh as I was recently nominated to serve as a Member at Large on the Board of MAAM to represent the State of Maryland.

The  teeniest of planes!

The teeniest of planes!

The three day conference was jam packed filled with sessions, museum visits, board meetings and just meeting a lot of very nice like-minded museum professionals. On Thursday, we visited the Rivers of Steel National Heritage where we learned about the Carrie Furnaces No. 6 and 7, which are rare examples of pre-World War II iron-making technology. Built in 1907, the furnaces produced iron for the Homestead Works from 1907 to 1978. Since the collapse of the region’s steel industry in the 1970s and 1980s, these are the only non-operative blast furnaces in the Pittsburgh District to remain standing.

The Carrie Furnaces

The Carrie Furnaces

We visited the Frick Pittsburgh where we were treated to a preview of a very fun exhibition on loan from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Undressed -The History of Underwear in Fashion. The exhibition illustrates how undergarments reflect society’s changing ideas about the body, morality, and sex, and the intimate relationship between underwear and fashion. Thursday evening we were treated to a reception at the Phipps Conservatory and saw the beautiful glass sculpture and art of Jason Gamrath.

Day Two of the conference was spent in sessions – I was attracted to attending sessions on education and was also treated to the keynote address from Ruth Abram, co-founder of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and who has also worked on other projects like the Sites of Conscience and Behold, New Lebanon!  On Saturday, I had the opportunity to visit the Heinz History Center and saw the set of Mister Rogers Neighborhood and also celebrated the 100th birthday of Charlie the Tuna!

Happy Birthday Charlie!

Happy Birthday Charlie!

One of things that impressed me most about the MAAM organization is its desire to foster and mentor emerging professionals in the museum field. One of the best moments that I had of the weekend was seeing former JMM intern, Emma Glaser.  Emma interned with the JMM over the summer of 2014 and was instrumental in helping us plan education activities in connection with the Mendes Cohen exhibition. Following Emma’s internship, she contacted me about providing her a letter of recommendation, she wanted to apply to graduate school for museum studies. I was absolutely thrilled to see Emma at the conference and see how learn how happy she is studying in  the Graduate Program for Museum Studies in Cooperstown, New York in her chosen field of study!

 

Hi Emma!

Hi Emma!

YES, MAAM!!!!

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland