Spotlight on Collections

Posted on January 10th, 2013 by

The majority of our archival collection here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland dates after the construction of the Lloyd Street Synagogue (1845).? This isn?t surprising giving the size of the Jewish population in Baltimore before that time.? But we do have some items from the earlier part of the 19th century or even the end of the 18th century.

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and Miriam (daughter of Ezekiel) in Baltimore, 1839. Courtesy of Mabel F. Kraus. 1964.24.2″]

Prayer book, in Old German and Hebrew, edited by W. Heidenheim and published in Rodelheim by J. Lehrberger, 1838. This book was used by Rabbi Abraham J. Rice (first rabbi at the Lloyd Street Synagogue) with family information inscribed. Courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Flehinger. 1963.6.1

Indenture between Daniel Evans and Richard Bell for a piece of ground in Fells Point at Fleet and Ann Streets for $1000.00, 1818. Courtesy of Albert Berney. 1992.232.2

Power of attorney concerning Michael Gratz, his wife Miriam Gratz and Michael?s brother Bernard, 1795. Courtesy of Dr. Joseph Francus. 1983.31.2

A travel diary/itinerary for a trip taken July 9-August 17, 1786. 1988.145.10

Hebrew or Yiddish note with English translations regarding the death of Joshua Cohen in Germany, 6 Tammuz 5539 (1779). Courtesy of Maxwell Whiteman. 1989.1.19


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Connections Around the World

Posted on July 27th, 2012 by

A blog post by Ilene Dackman-Alon, Director of Education

During the month of June, I was out of the office the entire month.  On June 3rd, the JMM held its Annual Meeting and we welcomed the new Executive Director, Marvin Pinkert.  Two days later, I left with my family and we travelled to Amsterdam for three days and then travelled to Tel Aviv, to stay with my husband’s family for two more weeks.  My family always teases me whenever we go anywhere, I always seem to find some connection to the Museum… so I thought I would share some of the connections…….

When we travel, I love to just walk the cities to really get a feel as to how the locals live.  I enjoy shopping at the flea markets and seeing all of the yummy local foods available.  In Amsterdam, we wandered through many of the neighborhoods throughout the city. On our first day, we walked over to the Jordaan neighborhood where the Anne Frank Museum is located.  It was raining too hard and the line was too long so we went to a flea market near the Waterlooplein and we saw local vendors selling yummy cheese and fresh fish, Holland’s Chosen Food.  

Across the street from the flea market, I noticed a sign Joods Historich Museum and we ran over to the Jewish Historical Museum.  We arrived five minutes too late-after Museum hours so we opted for pictures from the outside.  Across the street, we saw a sign that said Portugese Synagogue.    We ran to the entrance of the building- once again, the building was closed to the public –  we were too late!  We did notice that  the  building was open to a private tour – once again we opted to take pictures from the outside.   

Another JMM connection – In 1665, the Portuguese Jewish Community commissioned the Portugees-Israëlietische Synagoge, an elegant brick structure within an existing courtyard. Construction took place from 1671 to 1675 under Elias Bouwman and Danield Stalpaert. When completed, the Portuguese Synagogue was the largest synagogue in the world. The synagogue was restored in the 1850s and 1950s, but has been well-preserved in its original form. Miraculously, the synagogue survived the Nazi invasion of Amsterdam in 1940 unscathed. This building dates back to 1675.  I thought, WOW, this building has the JMM  beat by 170 years!   

From Amsterdam, we travelled east to Tel Aviv to visit with my husband’s family for the rest of our vacation.  It’s hard finding time to do “touristy” things when we visit, as we have so many family obligations and commitments. However, we did manage to get  to the beach a few times  – a short 10 minute ride by bus – and we went to the famous Shuk HaCarmel.  I love seeing the fresh produce, the amazing colors of the fruits and veggies- everything always looks so vibrant.  We stopped by the Druze woman who was making fresh pita and then filled it with labane (sour cheese) and zaatar (spices).  We ate our fresh pita with hummus and tabuleh….  Israel’s Chosen Food…….

One day we travelled to Jerusalem-one of the world’s oldest cities.  I love walking through the streets of the Old City.  I love the smells and the exotic feeling going through the shuk.  I love to haggle with shop vendors.

We stopped at the Kotel (Western Wall) and stood before this impressive remnant of the outside wall surrounding the Temple Mount that was destroyed in 70 CE. by the Romans. This is one of Judaism’s most holy places and millions of people come each year to place notes and offer prayers at this historic site.    JMM Connection – Another place that is older than the Lloyd Street Synagogue…  This time by a whopping 1775 years!

We arrived back to the United States, I recovered quickly from jet lag and the next thing I knew I was on a train to New York City to spend a week at Columbia University as an Alfred Lerner Fellow.  I attended a week-long conference on Holocaust education sponsored by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.  I spent five days in intensive sessions learning about the many facets of history and pedagogy by leading scholars in their field of expertise.  Many days I was wiped out by the emotionally charged sessions. 

One evening, we ventured downtown and toured the National 9-11 Memorial.  We were all moved by the impressive site and peacefulness of the sound of running water in the pools…. It’s still a work in progress – Something everyone should see…..

I returned to Baltimore for one night and then our home was one of the lucky tens of thousands throughout the State of Maryland that lost power.   The week was exceptionally challenging with no power and record high temperatures.  Last Friday evening, my husband and I went to Fells Point for dinner- to get away from the heat in the house and feel some cooler breezes from the water.  After dinner, we were walking along Thames Street and I noticed a building with a bicycle dangling in the air with lots of colored glass.  My friend, Loring Cornish opened three floors of gallery space with his very creative art and mosaics and I was once again reminded of the JMM- we exhibited Loring’s work in 2011, In Each Others Shoes.  Friday night, Fells Point, after hours… I am reminded of work… at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

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Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day

Posted on March 14th, 2011 by

A blog post by Sr. Collections Manager, Jobi O’Kin Zink

St. Patrick’s day has always been my favorite holiday even though I don’t have an Irish bone in my body. I remember when I was in 7th grade my dad got us all matching Kelly green sweatshirts with an apostrophe transforming Okin, Russian for perch, into O’kin, English for I’m pretending to be Irish.  It was pretty convincing when the four of us cheered on the sidelines in our matching sweatshirts at our town parade. (Sadly, I couldn’t find a photo of us)

Then there was the Friday night dinner with Irish soda bread and corned beef from Dad’s favorite caterer, the Market Basket instead of the typical brisket and challah. It’s virtually the same thing, isn’t it?

Corn beef and cabbage vs. Brisket

Soda bread vs. Challah; If Grandma Sylvia were here this challah would have raisins, too.

Over the years I’ve eaten a lot of green bagels, as did St. Patrick himself!

Could it be true?! 2008.43.2

They are better when it’s with spinach rather than just plain green food coloring.g

and drank my fair share of green beer (Note: I now prefer to drink real Irish beer: Guinness, Harp or Smithwicks!) on St. Patrick’s Day.

Jobi on St. Patrick’s Day 1998, Dubliner, Washington DC

And while I am excited that St. Patrick’s Day is being embraced by the masses, I miss the chance to hang out in Irish bars, singing Irish tunes, celebrating Irish culture.

Hurling is kind of a cross between lacrosse and field hockey

It really didn’t surprise many that Eric (who is neither Irish nor Jewish, but plays the Gaelic sport hurling) and I decided to go Ireland and hike the Ring of Kerry on the west coast for our 5th anniversary.

Just a few photos to highlight the trip (let me know if you want to see the full scrapbook!)

Lake of Kilarney, low on water

For five days we hiked and tramped across beautiful and diverse terrain.

Kenmare Bay


More than once I was grateful to St. Patrick for driving the snakes out of Ireland. It certainly made scrambling over rocks a lot less nerve wracking.

This photo was taken by my sister when she went to Ireland in 2006 with her friend, Irish Liz

No snakes on this trail!

There were castle ruins

Ballycarberry Castle

And circular forts

Cahergeal Fort

There were sheep on the trail

And large rocks to rest against

Cool old cemeteries to explore

No Jewish names on these markers; also my favorite photo from the whole trip!

But little shelter to protect you from the passing storms.

My 2nd favorite photo of the trip

After a week of hiking, we flew to Dublin. It’s true! Dublin had a Jewish Mayor, Robert Briscoe who served twice: 1956-57 and 1961-62

Jewish heritage tourism is on the rise]

I attempted to go to services while in Ireland, but there were no synagogues in Kerry. In fact, most Jews outside of Dublin come to Dublin for the High Holidays

I insisted that we go to the Jewish museum

I think they had their entire collection on display  and were featuring photographs of old synagogues.

Naturally we took a tour of the Guinness factory

Its true: Guinness does taste better in Ireland

And as history geeks, we got a kick out of their campaign ad 

This year as I don my green and raise my pint (or two or three) maybe I’ll add a L’chaim to the chorus of Slainte.


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