Take a Bow!

Posted on April 13th, 2018 by

This month’s edition of Performance Counts is brought to you through the joint efforts of our Visitor Services Coordinator Paige Woodhouse and our Interim Program Manager Lindsey Davis.

~Marvin

The Jewish Museum of Maryland has sounded a bit different over the past couple of months.

Usually one of the quieter Lloyd Street neighbors, our lobby echoed with the sounds of Punk Rock, Sephardic Ladino fusion, and Hollywood legends. From February 11-March 25th, 10 full days and 16 different programs brought 393 visitors in to the Museum specifically to attend JMM Live! Our JMM Live! series included three films, nine musical events, two author talks, and three theater performances. The turnout was outstanding – and nearly 20% of event attendees were new visitors to the Museum.

Our guests came from all over – Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kansas City, Missouri. And if we’re going to mention distance, we must also mention our Q&A Skype with South Korea!

JMM Live! also saw quite a bit of “repeat business.” Miriam Winder Kelly was our #1 audience member, attending seven separate programs!

But she had some competition, with 3 “runners up” each attending five different programs, and 2 more folks attending four programs each!

The JMM Live! series was, above all else, full of surprises and new experiences.

Never before have we played Yiddish punk rock videos on our projector, or had first-hand accounts told from the stage about Jazz clubs and the Jewish Mafia. We welcomed the tales of Gershwin and Hammerstein, listened to one-woman plays, and heard true stories from our living history characters. We even held a few dance parties in our library as our little ones not only listened but danced to – and made – their own music.

Our performers were gracious, talented, and warmed by the reception they received from our audience members.

From all of us at the JMM, we’re grateful for your willingness to participate differently, help us express ourselves creatively, and your ability to be challenged intellectually through new stories and new methods of storytelling. As the curtain closes on JMM Live!, we hope each of you takes a bow – we couldn’t have done it without you.

~Lindsey & Paige

(And in case you were wondering, our screening of Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story wins the prize for most popular program – we sold out not once, but TWICE, sharing the experience with 160 people between the two showings!)

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The Making of JMM Live!

Posted on February 16th, 2018 by

Trillion is on family leave for a few months, but before she left the building she shared the story of the “making of JMM Live!” for this month’s JMM Insights!  To read more posts from Trillion, click here.


It all began with a gap.  The National Archives could lend us the Iraqi Jewish Heritage exhibit until mid-January but couldn’t send us the Amending America exhibit until early April.  That was a long span of time for our Samson, Rossetta and Sadie B. Feldman Gallery to be dark.

During 2017 we discussed various ways to bridge the gap, including several smaller exhibits.

(We actually ended up with two:  Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, which opened at the beginning of this month, and the My Family Story student-curated projects from March 11th.)

I suggested we try something a little different. In my role as programs manager I am frequently contacted by speakers, performers, authors and many more asking for the opportunity to present at the JMM. Normally our program calendar is so busy with exhibit-related events that I can only take one or two of these requests per year, however, it occurred to me that with an open calendar perhaps we could make something of this opportunity.

I proposed a series of live events at the museum that celebrate all aspects of American Jewish performing and literary arts; this became the inspiration for JMM Live! 

I have spent the last several months working on finding a wonderful selection of programs, including author talks, musical performances, movies and theater. The topics we will explore vary from the expected, like Jewish Broadway, to the more surprising, like Jewish Punk Music. The series is designed to suit the whole family, in addition to our regular programs we also have two live festivals for kids, the first on March 4th celebrating Purim and the second on March 25th celebrating Passover.

Daveed Korup and Miss Spice will entertain kids of all ages with their concerts!

One of the most important things when planning this series was to include our very own Living History characters. Over the past few years we have developed several characters, we are very pleased to feature two of our characters as part of this series, Henrietta Szold performed by Natalie Pilcher on March 18th and Ida Rehr performed by Katherine Lyons on February 25th.

The stories of Henrietta and Ida are truly brought to life by these talented actresses!

The series has also been a lovely opportunity to work again with some wonderful partners plus build some new relationships. We are very pleased to welcome back the Global Theatre Project for a performance of Stories From the Fringe on Wednesday, March 21st. On Thursday, March 15th I am really excited about the program we will be presenting in partnership with Fells Point Corner Theater, a special preview of the theaters upcoming show Gertrude Stein and a Companion. 

The series started this Sunday with a dedication to Yiddish music with Hazzan Sara Geller of B’nai Shalom Olney, part performance, part talk and part sing-along!

There really will be something for everyone!

The series runs from February 11th until March 25th and features fourteen different performances. In my absence Lindsey Davis will be managing these programs – you can reach her at ldavis@jewishmuseummd.org but she’ll also have proxy to my e-mails.

If you can’t join us this Sunday please take a few minutes to review the full program of events here. If you see a program (or several) that appeals, reserve your tickets today – the most popular programs are selling fast!

Now is also the perfect time to become a JMM member– with all these programs you’re sure to be a repeat visitor this winter. Museum Membership includes FREE admission to the Museum every day we’re open, and to all our public programs! (Plus members get a 10% discount at Esther’s Place, the JMM gift shop.)

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Crazy about Knishes

Posted on May 21st, 2012 by

A blog post by Development Coordinator Amy Smith

If there’s one thing’s for sure, Laura Silver is crazy about knishes.  And there’s a good reason for that.  On Sunday at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, Laura Silver told the story of her genealogical journey in which she traced her roots back to the Polish town of Knyszyn, where both her great aunt and her maternal grandmother where born.  One could even say that Laura’s passion for and connection with the knish is a birthright.

Welcome to Knish History 101: Audience members take their seats in anticipation for Laura Silver’s talk about the history of knishes.

But what exactly is a knish?  Knishes are essentially dumplings that can be round or square, and are filled with potato, ground meat, spinach, kasha, or really anything you can think of to stuff inside a pocket of dough.  There is not one particular type of dough that defines a knish, but in general, the audience members shared an intuitive sense that knishes are made from a pastry or filo dough rather than noodle dough like its boiled Polish cousin, the pierogi.  While there is some debate about what makes a knish a knish, when asked, Laura Silver poignantly answered that it is the spirit behind it that makes a knish a knish.

Some of the knishes we served at the program, courtesy of Attman’s Delicatessen.

Joining Laura for the question and answer session was Anita Baum, original owner of The Knish Shop in Pikesville.  Having grown up in a catering family, Ms. Baum also has a deep connection to the knish.  She prefers meat to potato knishes, and bakes hers from leftover brisket.  Ms. Baum always has knishes on hand – if there’s nothing else her granddaughter will eat, she can at least serve her a homemade knish!

Knish expert Laura Silver with Anita Baum, former owner of The Knish Shop in Pikesville.

Thanks to The Knish Shop for providing knishes for visitors to sample.

The knish discussion stirred up memories for me too.  Laura Silver had a slide of the Kosher Stand at Memorial Stadium (the old baseball stadium in Baltimore), where they served potato and meat knishes.  My family is originally from Long Island and even though I grew up in Delaware, my dad raised me to be a New York Mets fan.  As a child, my dad often took me to baseball games at Shea Stadium.  My distinguishing memory from these games involves eating square potato knishes with my dad, followed by a plastic baseball cap filled with Carvel with rainbow sprinkles for dessert.

Visitors eagerly sample knishes after a lively discussion with Laura Silver.

My mother in law tasting a knish.

At the end of the program, it was clear that Laura Silver had achieved her goal of getting the audience to join in the knish conversation.  We each had our own knish memories and stories to share, and had the opportunity to sample knishes from The Knish Shop, Sion’s Bakery, Hoffman & Co., Caterer of Distinction, and Attman’s Delicatessen.  If this post has left you hungry and inspired to make your own knishes, I suggest this recipe for Potato Knishes from the The Shiksha in the Kitchen.  Enjoy!

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