Posted on December 23rd, 2016 by Rachel
This is the time of year for reflection, for compiling top ten best and worst lists, for noting what we did (and did not accomplish) and how we can do better in the year ahead. In keeping with the spirit of the season, what follows is a list of some of my favorite JMM moments from 2016.
1. Paul Simon: Words and Music exhibit brings in record crowds – By the time we closed the exhibit, on loan from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, more than 5,000 visitors came through our doors over the course of three months. But even more gratifying than the numbers was how the exhibit enabled us to raise our institutional profile and attract new visitors, thanks, in part, to widespread media coverage.
The exhibit provided us with an opportunity to hold several musical performances in the Lloyd Street Synagogue, such as our concluding program by Baltimorean Sonia Rutstein, which proved popular.
2. Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America opens – After more than three years of development, we opened a major, original exhibition that explores the influence of science and culture on one another and how medicine has impacted Jewish identity. The exhibit opened to many accolades from both press and the public and we continue to receive wonderful feedback from visitors.
Opening Beyond Chicken Soup
The exhibit marked another important milestone as we successfully raised more funds than ever before for an exhibit and many of our sponsors came from within the medical community. And if you haven’t had a chance to see it, don’t worry, the exhibit remains on view through January 16. (But don’t put this off too long!)
3. Our newest living history character, Henrietta Szold, debuted in September– With a fabulous performance by actor Natalie Smith, the newest member of our Immigrant’s Trunk living history roster, focuses on Szold’s contributions to Zionism and to improving access to quality healthcare in Palestine.
Henrietta in action
To date, the character has performed at the JMM, at schools and synagogues.
4. Our annual Summer Teachers Institute successfully engaged more than 40 educators from public, private and parochial schools from across the state – This three-day workshop featured scholars, artists, survivors and a visit to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Teachers enjoyed participating in an interactive session exploring artistic responses to oppression facilitated by Gail Prensky and Sarah Baumgarten.
Comments such as: “How do I adequately put into words all that was imparted during this experience? I was completely blown away with the amount of information conveyed throughout the various presentations and, on a logistical level, I was impressed by the professionalism and organization of the entire workshop. The materials and resources were such a valuable blessing and I walked away having learned so much and excited to be able to take it back into the classroom and school environment.“ reflect the program’s success.
5. JMM launches a new statewide collecting initiative in conjunction with an upcoming exhibition, Just Married! Wedding Stories of Jewish Maryland – In keeping with our mission to collect, preserve and interpret Maryland Jewish history, and to fill in gaps in our collection, JMM staff is looking to collect new material that reflect the diversity of Jewish Marylanders wedding traditions.
6. In preparation for our upcoming exhibit, Remembering Auschwitz, JMM staff, in partnership with artist Lori Schocket and The Human Element Project, held a series of workshops for Holocaust survivors and their families. The workshops resulted in the creation of collages, created on canvases that incorporated photocopies of participants’ photographs and documents that will be transformed into plaques. The plaques will be on display as part of our spring exhibit (March 5-May 29, 2017)
The Rozga siblings make collages honoring their parents.
7. Our educational programs make connections between past and present –
One example can be seen in a visit this fall by a group of students that included Syrian refugees who learned about immigration history – as they made connections with their own personal experiences – through a tour of Voices of Lombard Street.
In addition this year’s Lessons of the Shoah, a high school interfaith program co-sponsored by the Baltimore Jewish Council that took place at John Carroll High school, focused on the plight of refugees, past and present.
8. We continued to build new partnerships and expand existing ones – JMM has long benefitted from our continued partnerships with such organizations as the Baltimore Jewish Council, The Maryland State Department of Education and Baltimore City Schools. This year we were proud to co-sponsor programs with the Gordon Center; the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies; Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University and many others. These collaborations give us the opportunity to reach new and diverse audiences and also allow us to provide access to speakers and programs we would not be able to afford on our own.
One particularly successful joint program was developed in partnership with the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, an October event that was billed as a Jewish Baltimore Family Reunion. Alfred Moses delivered a talk in the Lloyd Street Synagogue based on his book about his family’s business.
9. After more than 160 years in existence, the Lloyd Street Synagogue receives new attention – The JMM’s star attraction, the Lloyd Street Synagogue, was the subject of new research, art, conversations and some well deserved maintenance. In conjunction with Paul Simon: Words and Music we developed a themed building tour that examined the role that music has played in the life of the different congregation that have called LSS home.
We also invited artists for a day of plein air painting and were delighted by the different artistic interpretations of our beloved synagogue.
Our efforts to breathe new life into the building resulted in a series of two conversations held with community stakeholders and representatives of other local history organizations. We asked participants to provide feedback about how we can better make use of the synagogue as a venue to attract new audiences (as well as encouraging repeat visitation). We were thrilled by the responses we received and look forward to implementing some of the ideas that were generated. Noting that the inside of the synagogue had gotten a little worn over the years, we also decided to invest in a major fall cleaning project that resulted in a sparkling interior.
10. JMM receives an award from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for an upcoming exhibit on the scrap industry – How gratifying it was to receive notification in September that the JMM, once again, was selected to receive a prestigious (and competitive) grant award from this federal agency. We received the notice just weeks after we launched the second phase of planning for our upcoming exhibition Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling with a site visit from members of our exhibit team including curator, Jill Vexler, and the folks from our design firm, Alchemy Studios.
As part of the team meeting in September, we visited a nearby scrap yard, Baltimore Scrap Corp.
The exhibit opens in Fall 2018.
As with all Top Ten lists, there are so many more highlights from the past year that I could have included. 2016 was, indeed, a banner year for the JMM. We look forward to seeing you in the year ahead and wish you and your family happy holidays and a wonderful new year!
A blog post by Deputy Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.
Posted on December 2nd, 2016 by Rachel
As we are down to the last 45 days of Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America, we are frenetically pursuing programs that add new dimensions to the topic – from surgery lessons for kids to medicinal schnapps for younger adults to end-of-life care for those of us who… well, maybe I should just leave it there.
Even our December 25 Mitzvah Day program is infused with a health care theme. In the morning, help us make packets of chicken soup mix and decorated chicken soup bowls to soothe the souls and warm the hearts of our neighbors. In the afternoon, join us for some holiday binge watching of the classic series “Northern Exposure” – we’ll be following the journey of a young Jewish doctor headed north (rather than a jolly old fellow headed south). It might feel like Alaska outside, but we’ll have hot cocoa and popcorn inside.
On the Monday through Thursday following Mitzvah Day (Dec. 26 to 29), we’ll be featuring a “Best of 2016” Family Activity Week – we’ll be reprising some of our favorite hands-on activities from Beyond Chicken Soup as well as our fall arts programs. So if the kids are out of school, swing by and join in the fun.
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact Trillion Attwood at email@example.com / 443-8735177with any questions or for more information.
Downtown Dollar Day: Healthcare Heroes
Sunday, December 4, beginning at 10:00am
Museum Admission: $1
Join us for a hands-on day of exploration at the Jewish Museum of Maryland! Receive valuable training in how to perform medical tasks such as keyhole surgery, applying a plaster cast and other scientific experiments. Then meet professional animator Eliezer Medina who will lead a workshop on how to draw and ink some of your favorite cartoon characters while sharing stories about the Jewish roots of some of the most beloved superheroes.
Cordials, Schnapps, and L’chaims:
Let thy beverage be thy medicine
Thursday, December 8, 6:30pm
Facilitated by Casey Yurow, Pearlstone Center
Included with Admission – Buy Tickets Now
Join Pearlstone Center’s Program Director, Casey Yurow, for a multi-sensory and mind-altering evening exploring the relationship between Jews, plants, and therapeutic beverages. Participants will taste a variety of cordials made from the seven species of Israel – dates, figs, grapes, pomegranates, olives, wheat, and barley – while learning about historical uses of fruit, herb, and spice infused beverages in Jewish tradition and beyond. The evening will include opportunities for hands-on beverage blending so folks can take something home with them.
This program is designed for participants aged 21 and over. Dietary laws will be observed.
Places are limited so please book your space in advance here!
Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing
Sunday, December 11, 1:00pm
Speaker: Mike Silver, author of Stars in the Ring
Included with Admission – Buy Tickets Now!
More Jewish athletes have competed as boxers than all other professional sports combined. From 1901 to 1939, 29 Jewish boxers were recognized as world champions and nearly 200 others were ranked among the top contenders in their respective weight divisions. Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing chronicles an era when boxers named “Slapsie Maxie” Rosenbloom, Ruby Goldstein (“The Jewel of the Ghetto”), Leach Cross (“The Fighting Dentist”), Joe Bernstein (“The Pride of the Bowery”) and hundreds of other fabulous Jewish boxers literally fought their way out of poverty to become instant heroes to a generation of immigrants struggling to break out of poverty and enter the American mainstream. Author and historian Mike Silver will share this vibrant social history.
Debating our Fate: End-of-Life Care in Maryland
Sunday, December 18, 1:00pm
Included with Admission – Buy Tickets Now
This important topic is one that is too often only discussed at the most challenging of times. Our panel of experts will discuss end-of-life care, including Jewish teachings and the contemporary legal landscape.
Sunday, December 25, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Bring your family and give back to our community with thousands of other volunteers across Baltimore. This year we take inspiration for our current exhibit Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America. Help us to make Soup Kits and decorate soup bowls that will help feed our community (to be donated to Living Classrooms). Activities are suitable for all ages.
Northern Exposure – The Best of Season 1
Sunday, December 25, starting at 12:00pm
Included with Admission – Buy Tickets Now!
Join us for a relaxing afternoon as we visit Cicely, Alaska. Inspired by Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America and its examination of the role of Jewish doctors in popular culture, we will be screening episodes from Season One of Northern Exposure. This cult TV show follows the life of recently graduated New York City physician, Dr. Joel Fleischman, who is sent to practice in Alaska in return for the state’s paying for his medical education.
Throughout the screening we will be serving popcorn and hot chocolate.
Esther’s Place: the Shop at the Jewish Museum of Maryland
Chanukkah and Christmas coincide this year! Are you ready for your December holiday (or dilemma)? Esther’s place has a wide assortment of Chanukkah menorahs and dreidels available, from the whimsical to the sublime. We’ve also got beautiful or funny gifts for children and adults. Stop in and browse our selection of everything from a dentist play-dough set or Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher to designer jewelry or folk music CDs to medical-themed housewares or Did Jew Know. Take care of your holiday shopping and support the JMM at the same time!
Also of Interest
The JMM is pleased to share our campus with B’nai Israel Congregation. For additional information about B’nai Israel events and services for Shabbat, please visit bnaiisraelcongregation.org. For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit biyabaltimore.org or check out BIYA on Facebook.
Ongoing at the JMM
Exhibits currently on display include Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America (through January 16, 2017), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks!
Hours and Tour Times
Combination tours of the 1845 Lloyd Street Synagogue and the 1876 Synagogue Building now home to B’nai Israel are offered: Sunday through Thursday at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 2:00pm.
Click Here for complete hours and tour times
Please note that the JMM is open on Sunday, December 25 from 10am-5pm and on Sunday, January 1, from 10am-5pm.
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The JMM is always looking for volunteers! Click Here to learn more.
Click Here for complete hours and tour times
Posted on October 21st, 2016 by Rachel
No Tricks, Just Treats!
I am always on the hunt for other worldly spirits and was looking for a new location to explore. Do you have any suggestions?
The Ghost Busters
While we have not heard of our Museum campus being haunted, I would encourage you to take one of our regularly scheduled tours of our two historic synagogues, Lloyd Street Synagogue and B’nai Israel, to learn about the different congregations that worshipped there as well as to admire the beautiful architecture. On the tour, you will also be able to appreciate the building in a whole new light (with fewer dark shadows) as we have recently completed some improvements to the Lloyd Street Synagogue. We have repaired missing lamps, installed new carpeting, cleaned the cushions for the pew seats, and repainted areas that suffered scars and scuffs from wear. There is also a new mezuzah affixed to the doorpost of the synagogue. While we did not find any ghosts, we did uncover a beautiful spiritual place.
A spruced up synagogue!
In my travels around the world, I overheard you have a wonderful exhibit on Jews and Medicine. Could you tell me a bit more about it?
Yes, we are in the last ninety days of the Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America exhibit, as the exhibit closes on January, 16, 2017! Inside the exhibit, you’ll journey through the worlds of health in the mid-20th century, from med school to the doctor’s office, hospital, lab and pharmacy-and even a trip to the gym. You will also view rarely seen historic manuscripts, experience hands-on encounters with medicine and ethics, and examine the links between traditions and contemporary practices. You may also learn some surprising facts in the exhibit. For instance, did you know that in the 20th century, Jewish nurses were expected both to learn to serve tea properly AND to sing Christmas carols! Or that in the 19th century, anyone who could afford to pay tuition could attend medical school (a high school diploma was not even needed). If you would like to find out more, please visit our website. We hope you will visit soon, and maybe you can even bring a friend or two!
Come explore Beyond Chicken Soup!
I am the headmaster of a wizarding school and a student of mine told me that he flew into your Museum last month to see the world premiere of Henrietta Szold’s performance. Can you tell me more about Henrietta and how can I arrange the actress to perform at my school?
We launched our newest living history character, Henrietta Szold, last month to rave reviews. Henrietta Szold, was the daughter of a rabbi who broke with the traditional role of women to become a champion of Jewish engagement. Her tenacity and courage played a vital role in the expansion of social services, medical services and the founding of the state of Israel.
Natalie Pilcher Smith as Henrietta
Henrietta is eager to begin performing at schools, senior centers, synagogues and other organizations. Please contact me at 443-873-5167 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your visit. The cost is $300 plus mileage per performance, but we also offer subsides for schools. If you are at the Museum you may also try and spot the bust and plaque of Henrietta!
I’m normally pretty busy this time of year, but a few of my friends are asking of things to do in the area. I usually go drinking on Halloween itself, but do you have anything to get me in the mood the day before?
We have planned our ghoulish stuff for pre-Halloween, Sunday, Oct. 30th (which is also our Free Fall Day, freaky, right?) Our special lecture will be “Collecting, Preserving and Exhibiting: Exploring the Collections of the Nation’s Medical Museum”. You never know what lurks in their basement. When you are in the Museum, check out our shop where we have some medically themed merchandise, some of which might make nice gifts for Dr. Moreau or Dr. Frankenstein or other similarly disposed physicians on your Halloween treat list.
Some perfectly spooky options for this Halloween!
For more creepy fun you can also stay connected to the JMM by visiting our social media pages where we are featuring the hashtag #PageFrights, which is a month long social media celebration of Halloween. And if you need a break from the radio’s endless repetition of Monster Mash – we have something for you too: The ShowTime Singers will also be offering a free after hours concert at 5pm where they will be performing songs that audiences can easily relate to – and perhaps even sing along with – like Broadway tunes, patriotic numbers and even a little rock and roll.