Still Crazy After All These Years: Classical Monster Mashes

Posted on October 30th, 2015 by

Last weekend we were joined again by Dr. Arnold Blumberg who delivered another fantastic talk.  Still Crazy After All These Years: Classical Monster Mashes was inspired both by our current exhibit Paul Simon: Words and Music and tomorrow nights spooky celebrations.

Monster Mash Cover

Monster Mash Cover

Dr. Blumberg predicts that of the novelty songs with a strong connection to Halloween almost 75 to 80 percent were all produced in the same year, 1958. This surprising figure came about as  a result of a clever marketing strategy from the makers of many of the classic horror movies. As a result of a rerelease of these movies on TV there was a renewed interest in horror. This eventually led to the production of horror themed novelty songs, as it became clear that these songs had huge earning potential more and more were produced. One of the most successful was of course Monster Mash, but as Dr. Blumberg discusses there were many, many more.

Please enjoy this recording of Dr. Blumberg’s talk and perhaps share with us your favorite Halloween novelty song.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Museum Matters: September 2015

Posted on September 4th, 2015 by

In this week’s supersized Museum Matters we provide the scoop on all the details of our biggest event of the fall.  Paul Simon: Words and Music, direct to Baltimore from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  First, take a quick look at what’s included in the traveling show and in our pop-up exhibit, An American Tune: Jewish Connections to Folk and Folk-Rock.  Next you’ll want to pull out your calendar to mark down the dates of some of the eighteen programs we’ve planned in conjunction with the exhibits.

Don’t forget that the special Member’s Exclusive Opening Night on October 10 requires a reservation (the announcement has been out for less than a week and 42 seats are already taken).  Also take a look at the preview of our education programs – feel free to pass this newsletter along to teachers who might be interested.  Finally, make plans for your holiday shopping – in addition to Esther’s fine array of Judaica, we have some special Paul Simon and folk music merchandise on its way.

In addition to all of our excitement about Paul Simon, we are equally thrilled to serve as host for the Jonestown Planning Council and Historic Jonestown, Inc. as they introduce the next big step in moving our community forward:

Unveiling Jonestown
Thursday, October 1, 6:00 p.m.
Meet in JMM Lobby, Brand Unveiling on Lombard Street

With support from the France Merrick Foundation and the Goldseker Foundation, the Jewish Museum of Maryland has worked with the Jonestown Planning Council and Historic Jonestown, Inc. to build a coalition including the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, the McKim Community Center, the Carroll Museums, the Star Spangled Banner Flag House, Helping Up Mission, St. Vincent DePaul’s Church, B’Nai Israel Synagogue, and local residents and businesses, to re-imagine the Jonestown neighborhood—what it’s been, what it is, what it can be.

We invite you to join us for an exploration of the results of this two-year visioning process, including an unveiling of a new logo for the neighborhood, a short walking tour of our historic streets with McKim Center director Dwight Warren, and a presentation by the project consultants at Mahan Rykiel about the future potential of this community.

Discover Jonestown, where proudly we hail.

What a great way to kick off this special month.  Wishing a sweet New Year to all of you.     – Marvin


The Exhibits:

Paul Simon:  Words and Music

October 11, 2015 to January 18, 2016

Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is opening the national tour of their new exhibit, Paul Simon: Words and Music, at the Jewish Museum of Maryland in Baltimore.  The exhibit features more than eighty documents and artifacts from the performer’s long career – including his guitars, costumes, awards as well as scratch pads and envelopes showing the development of lyrics from “The Boxer” to “Graceland”.  There are video clips from performances on Saturday Night Live and the reunion concert of Simon and Garfunkel in Central Park.

What really makes this exhibit unique is the fact that it’s autobiographical. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recorded more than three hours of original interviews with Simon in order to develop narrative stations for the exhibit—this is material you won’t hear elsewhere.  This also means that the exhibit not only chronicles the events of Simon’s life, but also documents the creative process behind his incredible body of work. So if you are among those who are still crazy (for Paul Simon) after all these years, you won’t want to miss this show.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer calls the exhibit “a window into the soul of the man.”  TravelingMom blogger Dana Zucker writes “it was such a revelation, on so many levels”.

We are especially grateful to our exhibit sponsors:

David and Barbara B. Hirschhorn Foundation
Michelle and Ira Malis Philanthropic Fund
Richard and Rosalie C. Davison Foundation
The Herbert Bearman Foundation
The Lewin Family
Benjamin Greenwald
Alvin and Louise Myerberg Family Foundation
Jeff Scherr

An American Tune: Jewish Connections to Folk and Folk-Rock
October 11, 2015 to January 18, 2016

In this 50th year of the birth of “folk rock” we look back on highlights of the Jewish connections to the folk movement of the 50s and 60s and the emergence of the folk rock genre.  This small exhibit in the JMM lobby looks at the links between writers and performers with Jewish roots like Simon, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Phil Ochs and Baltimore’s own Cass Elliott and the Jewish entrepreneurs who helped popularize folk music.


  1. The Programs

The Guthrie Bros.Members Opening with The Guthrie Brothers
Saturday, October 10, 7:45 p.m.
Members Exclusive Event

Join us for the members opening of our new exhibit Paul Simon: Words and Music developed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. We are very pleased to be welcoming the Guthrie Brothers to perform their tribute act Scarborough Fair: A Simon and Garfunkel Experience.  Remember, this event is free for members but you need to reserve a place … write to

Public Opening: Happy Birthday Paul Simon!
Sunday, October 11, 11:00 a.m.
Included with Museum admission 

Help us celebrate Paul Simon’s 74th birthday and the official opening of our latest exhibit Paul Simon: Words and Music. Celebrations include plenty of cake, a Simon Sing Along and a very special game of “Simon Says” where you can test your Paul Simon knowledge for a chance to win some great prizes!

Stars of David Rock and Roll coverJews and Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll: A Musical History Tour
Sunday, October 11, 3:00 p.m.
Speaker: Scott R. Benarde
Included with Museum admission

This music-, photo-, and anecdote-filled program provides a fascinating look into how Judaism influenced the makers of popular music over the past fifty years.

Jews and the Folk Revival: When Change was in the Air and the Music Mattered
Sunday, October 18, 1:00 p.m.
Speakers: Cantor Jeff Klepper and Cantor Robbie Solomon
Included with Museum admission
Using audio, video and live demonstration Cantor Klepper and Cantor Solmon will explore the influence of the 1960’s folk music revival on various aspects of Jewish community.

Monster Mash CoverFree Fall Baltimore
Still Crazy After All These Years: Classic Musical Monster Mashes
Sunday, October 25, 1:00 p.m.
Speaker Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg, UMBC

Join Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg on a tour of classic monster mashes, especially those that added a wacky twist to the popular music of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s!

FFB Logo. 2014


The Black-Jewish Century of Music
Sunday, November 1, 3:00 p.m.
Speaker: Prof. Jeffrey Melnick, University of Massachusetts Boston
Included with Museum Admission

Explore the complicated ways that Jewish Americans—as songwriters, producers, theater owners, and performers—have been crucially involved with the production of what has been understood as “Black” music.

Under African SkiesFolk Movie Festival: Under African Skies
Tuesday, November 3, 6:30 p.m.
Included with Museum Admission


simon-and-garfunkel-the-dangling-conversation-columbia“Can Analysis be Worthwhile?” Joining Paul Simon’s “Dangling Conversation”
Sunday, November 8, 1:00 p.m.
Speaker: Prof. Rachel Rubin, University of Massachusetts
Included with Museum Admission

Explore how throughout American history popular music has been used to process American identity as a nation, as communities and for individuals.

A mighty wind fbFolk Movie Festival: A Mighty Wind
Tuesday, November 10, 6:30 p.m.
Included with Museum Admission
Paul Simon and the Birth of Folk Rock
Sunday, November 15, time TBD
Speaker: Richard Goldstein
Included with Museum Admission 

Focusing on Paul Simon’s early career we will explore how his sense of pop music, combined with his erudition, played a crucial role in the transition from folk to rock, and thereby formed the basic parameters of 60s music. 

Inside Llewyn DavisFolk Movie Festival: Inside Llewyn Davis
Tuesday, November 17, 6:30 p.m.
Included with Museum Admission
Holy Ground: Woody Guthrie’s Yiddish Connection
Sunday, November 22, time TBD
Speaker Nora Guthrie
Included with Museum Admission

Nora Guthrie, daughter of Woody Guthrie, discusses the artistic implications of Woody’s relationship with his Jewish mother in law, Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt. 

Phil Ochs FortuneFolk Movie Festival: Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune
Tuesday, November 24, 6:30 pm
Included with Museum Admission

Moe AschThe Bagelman Sisters and Beyond: Moe Asch’s Sound Encyclopedia
Wednesday, December 2, 6:30 p.m. (110th birthday of Moe Asch)
Speaker: Jeff Place, senior archivist and curator for the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Included with admission

Moses Asch started out running a small radio repair shop in New York in the 1930s, with a dream to document all the worlds sounds in a sonic encyclopedia he would go on to form Folkways records and record over 2000 titles.

Downtown Dollar Day – A Family Chanukah Celebration with Joanie Leeds –
Sunday, December 6, 2:30 p.m.
Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights
Admission $1

We are very excited to welcome back to the JMM Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights for a fantastic Chanukah concert.

Folk CityJewish New Yorkers and the Origins of the Folk Music Revival, 1948 – 1958
Sunday, December 6th, 1:00 p.m.
Speaker Stephen Petrus, New York Historical Society
Included with admission  

Explore some of the individuals and businesses who nourished folk music in different ways and created a groundswell of interest, by recording a variety of artists, producing albums, sponsoring concerts, and stimulating provocative debates about the role of songs in politics and culture writ large.

Celebrating Jewish Folk (a “carol-free” zone for Dec 25)
Friday, December 25th, 1:00 p.m.
Museum director, Marvin Pinkert shares sounds and stories from our pop-up exhibit “An American Tune: Jewish Connections to Folk and Folk-Rock.”


SONiA at the JMM
Sunday, January 17 , 4:00 p.m.
Included with admission

Multiple first round Grammy nominated singer-songwriter SONiA disappear fear joins us for a concert in the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

 For more information or to register for any of the programs please contact Trillion Attwood on 410-732-6400 ext.215 or email 


The Curricula/Tours

For Schools

Paul Simon, Words and Music will serve as a platform to a wide range of concepts and ideas: music literacy and social issues that include activism and social justice, American history and world geography.  Students will be introduced to the universal theme that music plays an important role in our lives.  They will learn about different genres of contemporary music, folk, folk-rock as well as the intersection of African-American and Jewish musical traditions.

The JMM education staff is developing educational activities and resources that support the Maryland State Common Core standards specifically in the areas of music and social studies tying the activities to the areas of aesthetics; historical, cultural and social context; and creative expression and criticism.

Elementary aged students will tour the exhibit and learn about Simon’s multifaceted music career.  They will have opportunities to try different musical instruments as they gain music literacy skills and learn the many ways that music can be a form of individual and cultural expression.  Students will be encouraged to think about the important role that music plays in the lives of people throughout the world as they explore a variety of music styles and genres throughout the world.  They will come away with a better understanding of how musical traditions reflect diversity as well as shared cultural and religious heritages.

Activities for middle and high school students will focus on teaching the concept of how people use music to express their thoughts, emotions and responses to economic, political and social issues by analyzing the lyrics of Paul Simon’s music. Students will be invited to compare and contrast Simon’s early lyrics in the 1960’s with contemporary music – what has changed? And what remains the same?  Students will also examine primary and secondary resources and write their own lyrics in response to the recent events that occurred in Baltimore in April and May 2015.

For Visitors – Sunday Afternoons at 3pm, starting November 8

Our Lloyd Street Synagogue specialty tours take a new twist this fall in conjunction with our music exhibits.  We examine the soundscape of this historic site.  What was synagogue music like in the 19th century?  What did sermons sound like? How did music bring the congregation together and how did it divide it so deeply that it split in two?  In addition to the story of the first congregation to occupy the building, we’ll look at soundscapes during the period when the LSS served as a Lithuanian Catholic Church and when it was an Orthodox synagogue again in the 20th century.  More details will be provided in the November issue of this newsletter.


The Store 

Hop on the Bus, Gus

Pictured is a blue and white metal menorah shaped like a VW bus.

One of many fanciful menorahs available in the shop

Do you have a fan of 60s folk music on your Hanukah list?  It’s hard to top this van menorah with its flower power theme. But that’s just the beginning – rely on the JMM store to stock great folk music/ Paul Simon related books and CDs.  And for those nostalgic for music that is B.C.D. (before compact discs) we’ll have a variety of merchandise celebrating the vinyl age.  Here are a few examples.

Pictures are a record clock, a record bowl, and a selection of cds.

Selections from the shop

Of course, the highlight of our offerings will be the exhibit catalogue.  This beautifully illustrated 94-page guide from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame contains wonderful detail from the artifacts in the exhibit, quotes from the Simon interviews and insights from curator, Craig Inciardi.  PLEASE NOTE:  If you are a JMM member at the level of the Living History League ($250), Lloyd Street League ($500) or 1845 Society ($1000) you will have the option of receiving a free copy of this catalog in November.  So it is a great time to think about upgrading your membership.

Catalog Cover


Every purchase made in the JMM Museum Shop supports the mission and programs of the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

JMM Members receive a 10% discount on all purchases, except as noted. 

For further information, please call Esther Weiner, Museum Shop Manager, 410-732-6400, ext. 211.



More Programs

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  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit or check out BIYA on facebook.


Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland July Meeting

Sunday, September 20, 1:30pm, Hadassah meeting room (3723 Old Court Road, Dumbarton Offices Entrance)

Show and Tell Program: It’s Your Turn 

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members. Refreshments will be available. Go to for more information.



Exhibits currently on display include Cinema Judaica (last chance to see this exhibit on Sunday, September 6 before it closes!), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks!


Hours and Tour Times

The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm.

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.  We offer tours focused on the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Sunday through Thursday at 3:00pm and on Sunday at 4:00pm.

Please note that the Museum will be closed the following days:

–Monday, September 7 (Labor Day)

–Monday, September 14 / Tuesday, September 14 (Rosh Hashanah)

–Wednesday, September 23 (Yom Kippur)

–Monday, September 28 / Tuesday, September 29 (Sukkot)

–Monday, October 5 / Tuesday, October 6 (Shmeni Atzeret / Simchat Torah)


 Get Involved

The JMM is looking for 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



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.

All members 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. Memberships can be purchased online! For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

JMM Insights: Here Comes Rhymin’ Simon

Posted on August 21st, 2015 by

Raised in Queens. Enshrined in Cleveland. Loved in Baltimore.

It’s official.  This October the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s exhibit, Paul Simon: Words and Music, which celebrates the life of one of America’s greatest singer/songwriters, will make Baltimore its first stop on a nationwide tour.  READ THIS ARTICLE TO LEARN HOW YOU CAN RESERVE A SPOT AT OUR EXCLUSIVE MEMBERS’ PREVIEW AND CONCERT ON SATURDAY NIGHT, OCTOBER 10.

Paul Simon

Paul Simon

Paul Simon: Words and Music features autobiographical films, videos of select performances and more than 80 artifacts, chronicling the life, career and creative inspiration of two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Paul Simon. Included is original narration by the artist, recorded specifically for the exhibit and unavailable elsewhere, as well as costumes, film clips, letters and memorabilia associated with his career.

“We wanted to give Paul Simon the opportunity to tell his own story. We interviewed him for hours and asked him how he got started, his creative process, and how he came up with some of his songs,” said Karen L. Herman, Vice President of Curatorial Affairs for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “His stories provide context to the places where his music intersected with our culture, from Simon & Garfunkel to Saturday Night Live. We used that to really define how the exhibit would work, with much of the footage used to guide visitors through his life and career.”

Simon's guitar

Simon’s guitar

Among the exhibits artifacts are guitars like Simon’s 1967 Guild F-30-NT-Spec, used to write and record most of Simon & Garfunkel’s canon, and Simon’s first guitar, personal summer camp correspondence between Paul and Art, jackets, rare photos, and handwritten lyrics to songs like The Boxer (starting with notes made on an in-flight magazine) and the album Graceland (scratched out on a yellow pad). It covers all the genres of Simon’s work – folk, rock and world music.

And the main exhibit is just the beginning:

> We are also preparing a small pop-up exhibit “An American Tune:  Jews and Folk and Folk-Rock”.  Did you know that Arlo Guthrie was trained for his bar mitzvah by Rabbi Meir Kahane?  Find this and other surprises in our special lobby exhibit.

> Both exhibits will be used as platforms for an outstanding series of JMM programs including:

Scott Bernarde speaking on Jewish rock stars on Oct. 11; Cantor Solomon and Cantor Klepper in a performance/lecture on folk music and Jewish liturgy on Oct. 18; Nora Guthrie talks about Woody’s Hanukah songs on Nov.22;  a film festival on Tuesday nights in November, featuring Under African Skies, A Mighty Wind, Inside Llewyn Davis and Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune;  Joanie Leeds returning for a special Hanukah performance and a dozen other lectures and performances.

You will find a full list of events and program details in our Sept. 4 edition of Museum Matters.

> In November, we’ll be adding a “Sounds of the Synagogue” Tour to our menu of special Lloyd Street Synagogue adventures.  The tours will be on Sundays at 3pm.

> The education team has also prepared a curriculum for school groups at grade levels from elementary school to high school to go with the Paul Simon exhibit that combines humanities and the arts.  At upper levels students will be asked to compare the America of the 1960s that Simon wrote about, with Baltimore today.  They will be asked to prepare their own topical lyrics about the challenges of our times.  If you know of a teacher that wants to take advantage of this opportunity, please connect them with our Visitor Services manager, Graham Humphrey ( and he’ll make all the arrangements.


Most of the people who receive this newsletter are JMM members.  One of the benefits of JMM membership are invitations to exclusive member previews for all our exhibits.  And the preview for Paul Simon on October 10 is so special that we’re asking members to make advance reservations.

The Guthrie Bros.

The Guthrie Bros.

In addition to being among the first to see this great new exhibit, we have arranged a Simon & Garfunkel Tribute Concert by the Guthrie Bros. (no relation to Woody, but great musicians – see more here: The Guthrie Bros.  To maximize the number of people who can see this concert, we’ve moved it into the Lloyd Street Synagogue.  Overflow and accessible seating will be in the JMM building with live remote video.  Doors will open at 7:30, and the concert begins at 7:45pm

Because we anticipate high demand for this member’s only event, we’ve set up a special reservations mailbox:

Total capacity in the Lloyd Street Synagogue is 220 seats, so you will want to reserve early.  Tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis so we request that you only make reservations via the special reservation mailbox.  Individual members will be able to reserve one ticket, “senior couple” members will be able to reserve two, and family members can reserve up to five tickets. For more information please contact Trillion Attwood at or 410.732.640 ext.215.





Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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