Smalltimore

Posted on December 28th, 2018 by

A blog post by JMM’s Director of Development, Tracey E. Dorfmann. To read more posts from Tracey, click here.

Baltimore. It’s taken 18 months, but it finally feels like home. Over my lifetime there have been a few places that I called home. One consistency I have noticed, no matter where I have lived, is that there are many threads of connection between people. I love learning about the individuals with whom I interact, because I’m bound to find a connection. This is indeed what recently happened to me in my neighborhood.

My community is wonderfully eclectic. I live by the northern border of Baltimore City near Belvedere Market. I have wonderful neighbors. One or two hail from Baltimore city and environs but most, like me, are not natives. There is a representative sampling from the mid-Atlantic, a few from the mid-west, and others from the south. Their careers are equally diverse: hospice clergy, architect, health care administrator, fire inspector, costume designer, graphic designer, fabric artist, TV sound production, professional chef, music sound production, attorney, judge, web designer, licensed social workers and even a few non-profit professionals.

I am always eager and excited to share about JMM.  At a recent holiday party, I was encouraging my neighbors to visit the Museum. The last day for the Houdini exhibit is January 21st and I want folks to experience the exhibit before it closes.  One of my neighbors turned to me and asked, “is that where the Lloyd Street Synagogue is?”

I explained that the striking and iconic Lloyd Street Synagogue (1845 –) Greek Revival Architecture is indeed one of the most significant holdings in our collection along with the B’nai Israel Synagogue (1876 – which has an outstanding Moorish Revival interior).  The noteworthy and historic synagogues, two of the oldest in Maryland, flank our Museum building.

My neighbor shared with me that in the late 1970’s she had been a planning assistant at the Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation. She remembered working on the nomination paperwork for the Lloyd Street Synagogue so that it could to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. Completely fascinated, she enjoyed learning how pivotal JMM is in the revival of the Jonestown neighborhood, how relevant we make our exhibits, the far-reaching scope of our school programs, and the range of our public programs.

The next day I received a text from her saying that she had joined as a JMM member and would be attending a lecture here in the coming weeks.   A few more days passed I received and email with an attachment. The email message read “look who signed and prepared this application.”

What I opened was a copy of the National Registry of Historic Places Nomination Form from 1976. There on the form in the section “form prepared by” was my neighbor’s name. Smalltimore – I get it now.

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Meet The New Trustees

Posted on June 15th, 2018 by

Performance Counts: June 2018

This month’s edition of Performance Counts comes from Development Director, Tracey Dorfmann.

~Marvin


As a newcomer to the JMM team, one of the delightful things I have discovered is the exceptionally dedicated JMM Board. This group of 30 talented women and men help the staff behind the scenes and sometimes right out front.

Just a few of our excellent board members!

Together they give over a thousand hours of service by sharing their wisdom and expertise at meetings, helping us raise money for projects, weighing in on many topics, and adding to our strategic visioning conversations. Several of our board Members also volunteer in many other capacities of the Museum such being docents and aiding in our collections department and attending relevant meetings outside of our building.

Board members at work

Last month we elected six officers, Board President Dr. Robert Keehn; Vice Presidents Nancy Kutler, Jeff Scherr, and Len Weinberg; Treasurer Jerry Macks; and Secretary Arnold Fruman. All of our officers have devoted years of their lives to this museum – recruiting new friends, engaging in our programs and enabling our success. In addition to electing these officers, we also added several new faces to fill vacancies and I would like you to get to know them.

This year we welcome five new Trustees. They are: Robert (Bob) Manekin, Robyn Schaffer, Angela Wells-Sims, Stuart Rosenzwog, and Steven Hawtof. These individuals infuse our leadership with a wide range skills, knowledge and interests. Respectively they represent the following professions: Commercial Real Estate, Health Administration, Healthcare Finance, Building Materials Distribution, Business and Real Estate Law.

Four – Bob, Angela, Stuart, and Steven are Baltimore natives. One (Robyn) was born in Schenectady, NY but has called Baltimore home since 1999.  One of our new board members (Bob) was a JAGC Officer on active duty stationed in Hawaii. Cumulatively, at different points in their lives they have lived in four states and in one other country, Israel. They all have children. The JMM staff hopes to meet all 14 school-aged and adult children from these five families.

Some favorite films include Amadeus, Annie, and The Wizard of Oz.  Favorite books include A World Undone, and Excellence by John Gardiner. Their passions include: family, Judaism, connecting the discourse between health and education, growth and change, and appreciating life.

What they Love about Baltimore:

“It’s home”

“a large Orthodox Jewish population and many Kosher restaurants”

“Historic Architecture, Public Parks, Great Food, Innovative and Talented People”

“History and Diverse Ethnicity”

Every one of them loves Maryland because of its location and particularly because of the diversification of lifestyles and geography: urban, rural, beach, and mountains.

In total we have 21 Trustees who are volunteering for three-year terms: Sheldon Bearman, Erica Breslau, Neri Cohen, Alan Dorenfeld, Roberta Greenstein, Saralynn Glass, Toby Gordon, Lola Hahn, Steven Hawtof, Bonnie Heneson, Skip Klein, Abram Kronsberg, Suzanne Levin-Lapides, Ira Malis, Robert Manekin, Judy Pachino, Lee Rosenberg, Stuart Rosenzwog, Rochelle “Rikki” Spector, Claire Tesh, and Angela Wells-Sims. We have two Trustees volunteering for a one-year Presidential Appointment: Robert Gehman and Robyn Schaffer

We are looking forward to a vibrant and productive year with our terrific Board of Trustees.

~Tracey

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Seeing Differently: Ezra Jack Keats

Posted on April 19th, 2018 by

A blog post by JMM’s Director of Development, Tracey E. Dorfmann. To read more posts from Tracey, click here.

I am grateful to be the mother of a talented children’s illustrator.  Among the many things I have learned from my daughter is to consider children’s illustration as a high form of art. There were many wonderful picture books that my daughter Hannah and I shared together when she was little.  Now I look at these books and their illustrators in a different way and see how they fit into the pantheon of children’s publishing.

As the adage goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This is certainly true for the American writer-illustrator, Ezra Jack Keats.

The child of Jewish immigrants, Jacob (Jack) Ezra Katz was born March 11, 1916. He grew up in the “East NY” which was the Jewish Quarter of Brooklyn. As an early 20th-century Jewish child Keats grew up in harsh and impoverished circumstances in an era of great anti-Semitism. In interviews, he recalls “feeling invisible” as a child. His gift of artistic expression became his coping mechanism in his rough and dreary neighborhood.

Always a prolific artist, he painted and drew on any surface, that he could. He was also known to have a modest and caring temperament.  The experience of making images on so many different kinds of surfaces may be how he came to back collage techniques later in his artistic life.

For many of us, we have come to know of him through his Caldecott Award-winning story The Snowy Day, the story of a small boy enjoying the magic and transformative power of snow on an urban landscape. This book broke the “color barrier in children’s mainstream publishing.”

It was the first picture book to depict a black child as the main character of a story. The tale focuses on the enchanting aspects of a snowy urban neighborhood rather the color of the child’s skin. Yet for so many children this was the first time they could see themselves depicted in a storybook.

As a mature artist-illustrator, he wanted to uplift all children because he knew from experience that they often recede from view in the unforgiving urban landscape.  “His art is bold and speaks the universal truths of children.” Author Anita Silvey observed that “Keats could think like a child but paint and make images as an artist with a social conscience.”

Though Keats never had children of his own, there are millions of children around the world who claim him as their own.

If you are interested in finding out more about this wonderful illustrator there are many books about his art and his life or enjoy this YouTube video from a 2012 exhibition of his work presented by the Jewish Museum in NY  and check out this Ezra Keats website.

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