Timing Is Everything

Posted on February 9th, 2018 by

Performance Counts: February 2018

This month’s edition of Performance Counts comes to us from Deputy Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE.

The surprising path to a wonderful evening.

Seven weeks ago, we were planning to have a darkened gallery right now. Six weeks ago, Marvin got a call from the Assistant Director of International Affairs in Maryland’s Office of the Secretary of State that changed that plan.

Ordinarily, it takes between 8 months and 3 years to plan an exhibit at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. When the Secretary of State’s office called Marvin, they had a show they wanted us to exhibit a month and a half later. In most years, a call like that would yield a response of “thanks, but how about in a year and a half?” (Which is the response they had been receiving from all over the state.) This year, as fate would have it, we were able to answer “we’ve got about 1800 square feet available. Let’s talk.”

It was, as they say, beshert—meant to be.

The Secretary of State’s office was working with the Embassy of Israel. The Embassy had worked with Yad Vashem to develop an exhibit, Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, about diplomats who, during WWII, risked their careers (and in some cases their lives) to help save Jews from the Nazis. After the war, the fledgling state of Israel declared 34 diplomats from 21 countries around the world to be “Righteous Among the Nations.” These ambassadors, consuls, attaches and other diplomats–none of them Jewish–showed great bravery in the face of evil.

With 28 panels, Beyond Duty focusses the stories of 9 of those diplomats. We received the panels on January 30. Under Joanna’s direction, JMM staff installed the panels in our empty Feldman Gallery.

 


On February 1, we co-hosted an invitation-only preview of the exhibit with the Israeli embassy, featuring remarks from Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford, Secretary of State John Wobensmith and Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Israel to the United States, Reuven Azar.

About 75 people attended the exhibit preview, including members of the Baltimore City Council, the Maryland State House of Delegates as well as members of the JMM Board of Trustees, and additional invited guests from the JMM community, the network of the Embassy of Israel, and the Friends of the Governor’s office of Community Initiatives and its eight Ethnic Commissions. By the numbers, it took nine JMM staff members (that’s 75% of us!), one former JMM staff member (we miss you Deborah!), and at least five staff members of the Embassy of Israel to make the evening a success.

The exhibit opened to the public on Sunday, February 4, and will be open through March 25, which means you have about 5 weeks to check it out. In that time, we’ll be hosting 14 programs as part of our JMM Live! Performance Series, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you check it out more than once!

Read more about the event and the exhibit at:

The Baltimore Jewish Times – New Exhibit at JMM Honors Holocaust’s Unsung Heroes

JMore: Baltimore Jewish Living – Exhibition at JMM Honors Righteous Gentile Diplomats during the Holocaust

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Discovery and Recovery:By The Numbers

Posted on January 12th, 2018 by

This month’s edition of Performance Counts comes to us from Deputy Director Tracie Guy-Decker.


For this month’s Performance Counts, it seemed like a good time to take a closer look at our current exhibit, Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage.

Performance Counts is all about looking at numbers and data, so I’ll start with the most important number for you to remember about this exhibit: 3. That’s the number of days (including today) you have left to see this important exhibition while it’s at JMM. Monday will be the last day the public will be able to tour the exhibit while it’s here, since National Archives staff will be joining us on Tuesday, to start the de-installation.

Here are some other important numbers and metrics of interest regarding this exhibition:

Exhibition Content

Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage details the dramatic recovery of historic materials relating to the Jewish community in Iraq from a flooded basement in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters, and the National Archives’ ongoing work in support of U.S. Government efforts to preserve these materials–over 2,700 Jewish books and tens of thousands of documents.

In both English and Arabic, the 2,000 square foot exhibit features 23 recovered items and one “behind the scenes” video of the fascinating yet painstaking preservation process. This exhibit was created by the National Archives and Records Administration, with generous support from the U.S. Department of State.

Exhibition Metrics

Since it’s been with us, more than 3,200 visitors have come to JMM to see it. This includes more than 500 students from 18 distinct school visits, including public, independent and religious schools.

While the exhibit has been in our gallery, we’ve been open to the public 62 days (with 2 left after today), and have hosted 10 public programs related to the exhibit (with one more to come this Sunday), and two that didn’t directly relate to the exhibit, but whose participants still had a chance to see it!

While the exhibit has been in our gallery, we’ve been open to the public 62 days (with 2 left after today), and have hosted 10 public programs related to the exhibit (with one more to come this Sunday), and two that didn’t directly relate to the exhibit, but whose participants still had a chance to see it!

Exhibition Logistics

JMM is the eighth venue for this important exhibit, and its installation was made possible here through the generous support of eight donors, including 2 individuals and 6 foundations or philanthropic funds.

The Herbert Bearman Foundation (Lead Sponsor)

Alfred Moses

The David B. Liebman Philanthropic Fund

The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education

Middendorf Foundation

John J. Leidy Foundation

Lois and Philip Macht Family Philanthropic Fund

Lowell Glazer

If you miss it here, your next option is to grab a flight to Atlanta ($163) and see it at the Breman Museum ($12)*.  So save some money and take advantage of these last two days.

~Tracie

*If you’re a JMM premium member, you get FREE reciprocal admission to the Breman Museum – and 11 more Jewish museums around the country! Consider upgrading your membership today.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Hanukkah Clean-Up 2017/2018: The Oven Method

Posted on December 28th, 2017 by

A blog post by Associate Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE.

I know people overuse the phrase “it changed my life,” especially at this resolution-time of the year, but I can honestly say that when I learned the oven-method of hanukkiah wax removal, it greatly increased my enjoyment of the festival of lights! Before I learned this method, I used to spend hours with a fork or a toothpick or sometimes a chopstick chipping away at wax our menorahs. I would scrape and poke and curse and then start the cycle over again. It was as far from Hanukkah joy as you could get. Now that I use the oven method, even the clean-up of the holiday feels like a blessing.

To share the added joy, I wanted to walk you through it.

First, a glimpse of my house on the final night of Hanukkah:

We light 9 menorahs at the Guy-Decker household each year. Why? Because we can.  On the final night, the heat off of the 81 candles is palpable, and the light is truly joyous.

The wax is a bi-product of the joy. The greater the joy, the higher the wax build-up.

For this demonstration, I’m going to show you the oven-method on this brass menorah that belonged to my husband’s grandfather. Its “before” picture is particularly intimidating with that thick barrier of blue and white wax build up.

To remove this build-up I followed these steps:

1. Pre-heat the oven to between 180 and 200 degrees.

2. Break off any wax that will come off easily and discard. Do not work at this: if it doesn’t come off easily, leave it.

3. Cover a cookie sheet in aluminum foil. Make sure the foil overlaps the edges of the sheet so you don’t end up with waxy cookie sheets.

Place the menorah face down (or as face-down as you can manage—the key is that the candle cups are oriented downward so that liquefied wax will poor out).

4. Place the cookie sheet into the oven for approximately 20 minutes

5. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and carefully (it’s hot!) remove the menorah from the cookie sheet (you might want to have prepared another piece of foil if you’re worried about removing wax from the counters, too). You should be leaving a puddle of wax on the foil on the cookie sheet.

If you’re not, and the wax is still mostly on the menorah, put it all back into the oven for another 5 minutes, or until you have puddling.

6. Carefully (it’s still hot!) wipe the liquid wax from the menorah with a clean rag. (Use a thicker rag so the heat doesn’t bother your hands.)

a. Fold the rag after each wipe so that you’re not just moving wax around.

b. If your menorah has small nooks and crannies, you can use a q-tip or other small tool to wipe out the liquid wax (I used my rag around a kabob skewer to get into the openings in the star points).

c. If you have a very ornate menorah, you might need to put it back into the oven for a few minutes if your detail work in one area allows the wax to cool too much in another area.

7. Discard the foil and the rag.

8. Voila! You’re ready for next Hanukkah.

So, what do you think? Life changing? Ok, so maybe it’s not on par with falling in love or finding your dream home, but I hope that it does make your dream menorah more of a possibility for you. Come down and see us at Esther’s Place. I bet you’ll be looking at our fancy and fanciful hannukiot in a new light now that you know the oven method!

P.S. Even with the oven method, I recommend sticking with white and/or beeswax candles for the really ornate menorahs out there. I would also note that in my experience, cheaper candles make more wax.

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