Become an Upstander!

Volunteer Opportunities
in partnership with
Jewish Volunteer Connection

JMM Insights: Gray in Black and White

Posted on May 1st, 2020 by

There are times we are reminded that history is nothing more (or less) than the collection of lived experience. 

Over the last six weeks our curatorial team has been gathering stories and ephemera about the responses of Maryland’s Jewish community to COVID 19 (more on this in an upcoming issue of this newsletter). But it reminds me of the effort we made to collect materials on Jewish responses to the Baltimore Uprising.

Before we closed on March 17, we had been planning the launch of a small photography exhibit of works by documentarian J.M. Giordano, marking the 5th anniversary of these events. Giordano was collaborating with fellow Baltimore photographer Devin Allen on the exhibit and JMM was partnering with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum on companion programs – you may even remember receiving a postcard about it.

While the virus stood in the way of presenting the physical exhibit here at the Museum, it has challenged us to reach a much larger audience through our digital work. I hope you will join us on May 7 for our first livestream event since the start of quarantine, when both photographers join us for a meaningful discussion.


Image from the JMM Collections: Protest sign from a march/rally/protest held on May 1, 2015 in response to the ongoing uprising/unrest in Baltimore after the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray. Rally organized by Baltimore United for Change, SEIU, and CASA. JMM K2015.2.3.


On the fifth anniversary of the Baltimore Uprising that followed Freddie Gray’s death in police custody in April 2015, the Jewish Museum of Maryland is proud to host a digital collaboration between two Baltimore photographers, J.M. Giordano and Devin Allen.

Through this collection of photographs from the Uprising, Giordano, who is white, and Allen, who is black, collaborate to shed light and insight on their fellow Baltimoreans.We invite you to explore the moving photographs captured by Giordano, along with Allen’s curatorial statement and a special introduction from Evan Serpick.

At JMM we believe that people, place, things, learning, and actions all matter.  We feel strongly that we are not just located in Baltimore, but we are also integral to the fabric of the city and the state. If we’re going to be true to that notion, we must do what we can to respond to or amplify the voices of our neighbors.

On Thursday evening, May 7, 2020, one week from today, we hope you will join us for a special live stream event with both Giordano and Allen. Presented in partnership with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, the two photographers will discuss their work, the anniversary of Gray’s death, and the lessons that still need to be learned.

This program is supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute-Baltimore.

To help support our teachers, educators, and parent (and grandparent!) facilitators, we have also created a variety of activities to help students think deeply about the photos in this exhibit and the events they depict.


Scientists, writers, adventurers, and, yes, photographers, are just some of the many explorers in our world.

Try this Wondernauts activity and see what kind of explorer you are! We can’t wait to hear what you discover.


WWe think you’ll enjoy learning a lot from some of this week’s blog posts sharing stories from different voices, like the Disability Visibility Project  and Sadie Jacobs Crockin.


Explore some of the many stories of Baltimore, from Voices of Lombard Street to Glimpses of Jewish Baltimore to the   JMM collections at Esther’s Place: Online.

Don’t see something you’re interested in at the online shop? Contact Shop Manager Chris Sniezek at and let us know.


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We love our volunteers!

Posted on April 24th, 2020 by

This virtual cake comes to you with no calories, no carbs, no dishes to clean up – but unfortunately, also no taste.

No doubt about it, some things are just better done in person – but in this season of social distancing, we still wanted to say “thank you” from the JMM team during Volunteer Appreciation Week. We miss you.  The whole team wanted to share some thoughts.  I want to just share my gratitude (and perhaps in the not too distant future a piece of this cake – the real kind).


Even though I haven’t seen you all in person in quite a while, I feel like Volunteer Appreciation Week is more important than ever. I wish I could show my appreciation to each and every one of you face-to-face, as you make the front desk a warm, welcoming place. Your enthusiasm for our Museum and mission, in showing each person kindness and care when they walk through the door, is obvious, and I miss being able to learn from that energy every day. We all miss your smiles and stories, and I can’t wait to sit next to you again very soon. Happy Volunteer Appreciation Week! ~Talia

It can be difficult to work on archival collections when the people and the papers are in several different locations – there’s no stopping by to ask a quick question or offer assistance, not to mention that we must rely on digital versions rather than originals – but I’m delighted that so many of you have stepped up to the challenge! Even more importantly, it’s the work our archival and collections volunteers have done over the years that lets us do so much from home, using those digital versions. Your many, many hours of scanning, numbering, transcribing, and describing are what provide the access to digitized collections that is so vital right now for staff and researchers alike.  Thanks so much, as ever, for all your hard work.  ~ Joanna Church

I wanted to say thank you to all the archive volunteers and let you know how much I appreciate your dedication to our collection and the incredible work you do for us.

You have processed and digitized thousands of documents and photographs and have created databases that are so helpful for research and understanding the community we represent. I look forward to getting back to the museum and being able to say hello and seeing you each week. ~ Lorie Rombro

This year is certainly teaching me that forced separations help underline how much you rely on a person! I hope you are all well, and I am very much looking forward to when we can all be together again. ~ Tracie Guy-Decker

This week is Volunteer Appreciation Week and while I am at home trying to acclimate to new technology and this new (temporary) lifestyle- I can’t help think about all of the volunteers at the JMM and I hope that you are all getting along and that you are safe and healthy.

Your commitment to the JMM and its mission is unwavering, and I look forward to when we can see one another in person- and we can continue our shared excitement of working with school and adult groups and telling the history and stories of the Jewish experience in Maryland and beyond!  ~ Ilene Dackman-Alon

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Week!


Volunteers are the backbone of any successful museum, often bringing unmatched passion, knowledge, and commitment with them. They are the faces visitors see and interact with on a daily basis, making them invaluable to the daily tasks of the office. Their commitment is demonstrated through the years, sometimes a decade or more, of work at the museum on top of their normal commitments and their willingness to help out with any project or task. Volunteers make our jobs easier and more insightful. To that, we say thank you. ~ Chris Sniezek


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JMM Insights: Holocaust Remembrance

Posted on April 24th, 2020 by

I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery and death…I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come out right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again. In the meantime I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out. ~Anne Frank

On Yom HaShoah we remember a terrible tragedy, a tragedy not only for the Jewish people but for all of humanity. One might be forgiven if, at a time when our evening news consists of a recitation of contemporary instances of “confusion, misery and death” (COVID body counts, mass unemployment, racial and religious attacks), we chose to look away from the horrors of the past.

But perhaps the Yom HaShoah we need in these times is the one that honors life and “upholds ideals.” In that spirit this issue of JMM Insights links to artwork and stories of individuals who survived, and activities you can do as a family at home to bring a little joy into the world in a time of darkness.



This week in communities all over the world, people are gathering to remember the lives of those that were murdered during the Holocaust.  Yom HaShoah (also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day) was created by Israel’s Knesset (parliament) as a memorial to the 6 million Jewish people that were killed by the Nazis between 1933-1945. It falls on the 27th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

As part of our Yom HaShoah observance, JMM has created a digital gallery of our Holocaust Memory Reconstruction Project. These moving collages, created by Holocaust survivors and their families, were originally displayed during our Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity exhibit in 2017, as well as published in a book of the same name.

We invite you to explore these collages and their accompanying stories here.

Our program team has also put together a family activity pack on Becoming an Upstander, which includes a special Yom HaShoah activity.

This year, Yom HaShoah marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps. And while we may not be able to gather together in person, the Baltimore Jewish Council, JMM, and other partner agencies are committed to continuing the tradition of coming together to remember as a community. On Sunday, April 19th, BJC premiered Baltimore’s first online Yom HaShoah experience, to collectively remember and honor all of those who were lost in the Holocaust. The experience includes excerpts of video interviews with local Survivors who were liberated from the concentration camps.

You can experience this very moving and thoughtful program during this week of Holocaust Remembrance here.

Explore a small round up of additional Yom HaShoah and Holocaust Remembrance resources here.


As we think about remembrances, and stories from our past, and how the future will remember us, this Wondernauts activity, Imagine Earth Artifacts, is worth exploring! This Wondernauts activity is recommended for ages 7 and up.


Did you know it’s Volunteer Appreciation Week?

We think you’ll love these stories some of our volunteers have shared with us this week about meaningful objects in their homes!


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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