Bring Your Dog to Work Day

Posted on January 21st, 2012 by

A blog post by Outreach Coordinator Rachael Binning.

Wednesday on her first day inWashingtonDCin September 2010.

During the winter months the work week seems to be especially long. The past few weeks have been really busy with grant proposal writing and late night meetings. To cheer up the staff and myself I decided to bring my best friend with me to work today. I will freely admit to anyone who asks that my best friend is my dog Wednesday, a two year old black Goldendoodle (her father is a black Standard Poodle and her mother is a Golden Retriever). I’m very aware of the fact that I am biased, but Wednesday really is one amazing dog. I drove out with her fromCalifornia, where we are both originally from, all the way to Washington DC, where we live now. She really is my partner in crime and together we’ve explored all over DC and had many adventures on hiking trails around DC and Baltimore. When the museum is closed to visitors and no major meetings or events are taking place I’m lucky enough to be able to bring her into the JMM.

Wednesday in the JMM boardroom.

Wednesday in the West Wing withElena Rosemond-Hoerrand education intern Mia Whitier.

As you will see through my pictures, the staff loves her (almost) as much as I do. To prove my own personal belief that dogs should be allowed in the workplace I did a little research on the benefits of bringing dogs into the workplace. Her is some of the info that I found:

-According to a CNN Money [http:///] survey two-thirds or dog owners said that they would work longer hours if they were allowed to bring their dog to work.

-According to the American Humane Association when people bring dogs to work staff morale and productivity increases, camaraderie between staff members increases and the happier the employees are the more the productivity increases (

Wednesday saying hello to Jobi Zink, the Senior Collections Manager.

Wednesday secretly hanging out in Rachel Kassman’s office and pretending to be a photo archivist.

Because the Museum has visitors and guests most days of the week it will never become a completely dog friendly workplace, but I’m really grateful that I am able to bring her in on those random lucky days. I don’t think that she increases my productivity level (or at least she hasn’t yet) but she definitely makes the office a much more exciting and welcoming place.

Wednesday passed out in the West Wing after a long day (or 3 hours) of work.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Commodore John Rodgers Middle School

Posted on December 21st, 2011 by

A blog post by Outreach Coordinator Rachael Binning.

Last year Elena Rosemond-Hoerr, the JMM’s Education & Program Coordinator and I began a long-term museum-school partnership with Commodore John Rodgers Middle School (http:/// in Butchers Hill. I love this partnership for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons I love this project is that unlike most of my work as a museum educator, here I get to work with the students at CJR on a continual basis. One of my major roles as the Community Outreach Coordinator is to teach school groups off-site. However, it is rare that I get to see a school group more than once in the same year. I know that Elena will agree with me when I write that our CJR partnership has been one of the most challenging and rewarding projects we have worked on this year. Last week we had a meeting with the middle school social studies teachers to talk about our progress with the students and to create a game plan for moving forward. During our conversation we ended up discussing a few students who had dramatically improved from the 7th to 8th grade. It really is an amazing thing to see a student’s progress over time and I’d like to think that the JMM has had some positive influence over them.

The goal of the JMM-CJR partnership has always been to create large-scale projects with the students based around the exhibits currently being displayed at the JMM. This decision was based upon the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult for teachers to bring their students to visit the museum, even if the museum is right around the corner. Instead it is our role to bring the museum to the students. Last year we were lucky to have artist Loring Cornish and his exhibit, “In Each Others Shoes.” It came naturally that our final project that year was a large-scale mosaic that is now permanently displayed in the school. Loring was a big supporter of the project and worked with the students several times over the course of the partnership.

Loring Cornish and a CJR student installing the large scale mosaic created by CJR middle school students.

This year we are working on a project related to our “Chosen Food” exhibition. Although Elena and I would have loved to turn our CJR students into Jewish Farmers we scaled back our project and decided to create a cookbook with them instead. Each week we have been working with the students to teach them about healthy eating, food traditions and culture, and oral history and memory. Over the course of several months the students have been thinking about their own food cultures and traditions such as their favorite food on Thanksgiving or a meal that their grandmother cooks for them. We asked the students to interview a family member or friend about a recipe that is important to them. The final product will be a CJR middle school cookbook that will consist of the recipes they collected and the stories and memories that support them. We will also provide healthy recipes, Jewish recipes (what middle school student doesn’t want the recipe for gefilte fish?) and some recipes from our own families.

Trying out some yoga moves.

This is where you come in. I’d like to invite you to contribute your family recipes and stories to our collection. Our cookbook is focusing on family recipes in general, but will also have a focus on ethnic and cultural food as well as healthy eating. If you would like to contribute a family recipe and story, we certainly encourage you to. Please email me at rbinning@jewishmusuemmd.orgto provide a recipe or if you would like more information.

Students get a taste of fresh pomegranate.

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Esther Fest: The Best Latke Demonstration in Town

Posted on December 9th, 2011 by

A blog post by Outreach Coordinator Rachael Binning.

Esther entertaining the crowd.

The day I bought my mezuzah from Esther.

On December 1, the first Thursday of the month, Elena Rosemond-Hoerr and I hosted our sixth Brews & Schmooze event called “ Esther Fest: Cooking with Bubbe.” Since I began working at the JMM a little over a year ago I have to admit that seeing Esther has always been a highlight of my day. Although I am Jewish both of my grandmothers were not so I like to consider Esther to be the bubbe (or Jewish grandmother) I never had. From needing a good laugh to buying a mezuzah, she’s always been there for me. When I first moved to the area she even set me up with her granddaughters who live inWashingtonDC because she knew that I was new to the city and needed friends. Her instinct to introduce us was right on and I continue to be good friends with her granddaughters today.

Playing Apples to Apples under our festive decorations.

Elena and I knew right away that Esther needed to be our star attraction for the December Brews & Schmooze because her latke’s are known to be the best in town. In years past Esther performed her latke demonstration for a variety of groups both at the museum and off-site. She is one of the most requested speakers from our Speakers Bureau. Esther is also famous throughout the staff for being an amazing entertainer and knowledgeable chef so she was our clear choice when deciding on who should be the main event for our Hanukkah program.

Esther and her grandchildren, Jackie and Laura.

Our decision to focus on Esther and her latke’s was clearly the right one. We had a huge crowd (around 80 people) attend the event all of whom were clearly vying for Esther’s attention and delicious latkes. Elena and I made an effort to make the JMM’s lobby look festive with handmade decorations, which we enjoyed immensely. We also made the smart decision of providing other entertainment including dreidles games (how can you have a Hanukkah party without dreidles) and the card game Apples to Apples. Apples to Apples ended up being a huge success and we plan on having more games and crafts at future Brews & Schmooze events.


My sister, Sarah, eagerly signing up to receive Esther’s latke recipe.

As you can see from the photos, the event was high energy and very fun. We hope that all future Brews & Schmooze events will be as entertaining as Esther Fest was. If you would like to learn more about Brews & Schmooze and other young adult events you can visit the JMM young adult webpage at www.

Esther’s famous latkes!

Finally, Esther was such a hit that she was invited to perform another latke demonstration and talk about the story of Hanukkah on WYPR’s The Signal. The radio segment airs 12/9/11 and 12/10/11. It is already streaming here: http:/// If you missed Esther’s Brews & Schmooze presentation or you want to relive the experience again you must check this out.

I hope to see you all at the next Brews & Schmooze!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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