Are you ready…for Purim PROMdemonium?

Posted on January 31st, 2013 by

In just three weeks the Jewish Museum of Maryland will once again be hosting its annual Purim Pandemonium.

This year’s theme fuses nostalgia and fantasy:

Purim PROMdemonium: Prom on the Big Screen

Prom has become such an integral part of teenage life that movies about teenagers have been referencing it or focusing on it for decades.  Now is your chance to either relive your prom, live a better prom, or recreate your favorite Hollywood Prom moments.

But what are those Hollywood moments?

We’re taking a very broad view of Prom here, whether it’s the delightfully 80s Pretty in Pink or the much less delightful Carrie, from horror to romantic comedy to drama there’s so much to choose from.  We’re going to offer you a little costume inspiration here: movies about or including not only Prom but also homecoming.  After all the homecoming dance also holds a special place in teenage memory and movie magic history.

Pretty in Pink


She’s All That

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Quarterback Princess

Never Been Kissed

Prom Night (II, III, IV and the recent remake)

10 Things I Hate about you

Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion

Drive Me Crazy

American Pie

Cinderella Story


Valley Girl

Earth Angel

Back to the Future


And don’t forget the numerous Prom and Homecoming dance episodes of your favorite TV shows – there’s more than you might think. See our pinterest board for more inspiration!

Event Details:


Saturday, February 23, 2013, 9pm-1am


15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore MD  21202


The Jewish Museum of Maryland at the Herbert Bearman Campus


Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, and $15 each for groups of 10 or more.

Tickets can be purchased here or by contacting Jennifer Vess at Remember, this is a 21 and over only event. Many thanks to our sponsors Changing Media and Naron Candies.

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Stories of Prohibition

Posted on January 25th, 2012 by


Since the Purim Pandemonium Committee picked this year’s theme (Gin & Jews: Speakeasy Style), I have become somewhat obsessed with the Prohibition era.  I’ve watched documentaries, read books, scoured the internet and even delved into my family history.  And I’ve found some great stories, which I will now pass on to you.  At the end I’ll include some links to sites that can help you figure out what to wear to Purim Pandemonium this year.


I’m going to start the post with a Prohibition story from my own family.  The family members involved in this story were not Maryland Jews (they were in fact French New York Catholics), but I love this story so I have to share.



The picture above was taken in the late nineteen-teens or maybe early nineteen-twenties.  The girl on the right is my great grandmother (Marie Louise), in the middle is her grandmother (also Marie Louise and my great, great, great grandmother), at the left is her aunt, referred to by all of the family now as Great Aunt Mal.  This story is about Great Aunt Mal.

Great Aunt Mal (and all the rest of that side of my family) lived in a little town up in New York right across the border from Canada.  They owned multiple barges that they used for shipping and they could and did move the barges between the two countries.  In addition to cargo space the barges, or at least Great Aunt Mal’s barge, had living space. So picture my Great Aunt Mal and her husband on their barge moving between Canada and the US.

This is my great great grandfather’s barge, but Great Aunt Mal’s would probably have looked something like it.

Among the many niceties on Great Aunt Mal’s barge was a piano.  While in Canada Great Aunt Mal bought up some liquor and hid it behind the piano.  It’s been awhile since I heard this story so I’m a little fuzzy on the details – was the liquor maybe in the piano, or behind the wall panels?  However she did it, she did it and she brought the liqour back to the United States. This could be dangerous business with Prohibition agents on the look out for violators.  The one thing I remember most about this story is what her husband said to her.  This liquor running was all Great Aunt Mal’s idea, and he told her that if they ever got caught she was on her own. Great Aunt Mal never did get caught.


Now back to Maryland for a little Prohibition era blurb from The Baltimore Sun:


“Rev. M. N. Weisblatt to be in Court Wednesday on Liquor Charge.

“The case of Rabbi Menochim N. Weisblatt, charged with a violation of the Volstead act, has been scheduled for trial in the United States District Court next Wednesday, Amos W. W. Woodcock, United States District Attorney, announced yesterday.

“Indicted jointly with the rabbi are his sons, Nathan and Joseph. They are said to have been in possession of liquor on March 6, March 13 and March 17. They also are charged with unlawful sale of liquor. Through their attorney, Ellis Levin, they have pleaded not guilty. It is understood their defense will be that the liquor was for sacramental use only.”

The Baltimore Sun, June 18, 1925, pg. 4 (This article and other historic Baltimore Sun articles can be found online at http:///

Keep an eye out for more prohibition stories from the staff and the newspapers. Until then take a look at these links for costume ideas.

Fancy, but not your typical flapper:









Casual wear:






Fancy duds:



 Check out our Twitter feed for these and other costume ideas.

 And remember Purim Pandemonium will be Saturday, March 10, 2012 from 9pm-1am.


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Purim Pandemonium 2012: Gin & Jews

Posted on December 23rd, 2011 by

A blog post by Archivist Jennifer Vess.


We may only be half-way through Chanukah, but here at the JMM we’re already thinking about Purim.  Specifically Purim Pandemonium.

So far we’ve partied like it’s 1942…

Put on a circus…

Photo by Will Kirk.

Had a Night in Noir…

Photo by Will Kirk.

And battled Heroes vs. Villains

Photo by Will Kirk.

This much fun doesn’t just happen.  In fact the staff at the JMM brings in outside help.  We have an entire committee devoted to making this party work.  This past Monday we had our third Purim Pandemonium Committee meeting.

What do we do at Purim Pandemonium Committee meetings?  Step one: Eat well.

Good food is one way to guarantee our committee members come back for each meeting.

Once everyone’s filled up their plates, we get down to business.  The committee makes decisions about refreshments, tickets, decorations, music, and of course the theme.  This year’s theme?

Gin & Jews: Speakeasy style

We are reviving the speakeasies of the Prohibition era and bringing the Roaring 20s back to life.

This theme was inspired by a new sponsor to the event, Distillery 209 out of San Francisco.  Distillery 209 will be providing us with their Kosher for Passover Gin.

We’ve been having a blast thinking up the décor for the event and planning our costumes.  The 1920s and early 1930s have some amazing costume options.  This year we’re regularly tweeting costume ideas at http:///!/jewishmuseummd and when its get’s closer to the actuall event we’ll do a costume blog post as well.  But to get you started here’s some period photographs from our own JMM collection.

Carrie Weinberg in flapper-style dress. 1991.65.1.19a

Charles and Carrie Weinberg, July 1922. 1991.65.11

Clara Kohn, 1920. 2004.13.9


Unidentified couple, c. 1920. 2003.94.5.57

Beach outing recorded in Lee Lebovitz photo album c.1920. 2003.94.5.47

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