JMM Volunteers Record 10,000th Birth!

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 by

The JMM library is always humming with activity. Each month researchers schedule appointments to meet with JMM staff and volunteers to explore our manuscript and photograph collections or to learn more about their family’s history. Sometimes, our education staff uses the library for archival exploration activities in which kids gather around tables to view authentic primary sources –newspaper articles, letters, photographs, scrapbooks and more – relating to such topics as synagogues in Maryland, immigration history, and African-American and Jewish relations. In addition to those who come to use our library for research purposes, on any given day of the week the library also plays host to JMM volunteers who perform invaluable tasks that help ensure our collections are accessible to researchers.

If you visit the library on Tuesdays and Thursdays you will see two dedicated JMM volunteers, Vera Kestenberg and Marty Buckman, typing away at one of our computers.

Marty & Vera

Marty & Vera

Each week they comb through volumes of The Jewish Times (the JMM owns copies of every edition, including the early ones that can be accessed through microfilm) searching for birth announcements.

Birth announcement in the pages of the JT - lucky number 10,000!

Birth announcement in the pages of the JT – lucky number 10,000!

They then careful transcribe each announcement into an excel spreadsheet creating a comprehensive database of birth records that has become a valuable genealogical resource.

Information included in the database includes the child’s first and last name, date of birth, names of both parents, place of birth (including hospital and city/state) as well as which edition of the JT contains the announcement. The database can be accessed from the JMM website along with many other resources such as burial listings at many local Jewish cemeteries.

I was thrilled to learn that after several years of work on this project, Vera and Marty recently crossed a major milestone as they added the 10,000th name to the database! Mazel Tov to both on this incredible accomplishment!

To learn more about Vera and Marty as well as many other talented and dedicated JMM volunteers, be sure to check our volunteer coordinator, Ilene Cohen’s monthly volunteer profile. 

deborahA blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Volunteer Spotlight on: Robyn Hughes

Posted on August 4th, 2014 by



Robyn Hughes has been volunteering at the JMM since 2005.  From the time she was a Jewish Studies major at the University of Maryland, she dreamt about working at the JMM.  She has volunteered in many capacities.  She began as a docent and continues as a weekly (sometimes twice weekly!) afternoon docent who leads tours of the synagogues.  In the intervening years, she worked as a Summer Education Intern and a Fall Research Fellow in 2006, during which time she organized a wine and cheese reception for Art Beyond Sight, established a Salon program, and collected oral history interviews from historically significant Maryland Jews.  She continues to represent the JMM on Capitol Hill at the annual Museum Advocacy Day, plus acts as the Educator for museum programs for guests who read Braille and ensures that the Museum supports the standards for Common Core Braille literacy.

She volunteers at the JMM because she loves it.  She particularly appreciates the geographic and professional diversity of all of the guests, staff and fellow volunteers, and finds it fascinating getting to know everyone.

Robyn in flight

Robyn in flight

Three interesting facts about Robyn that make her even more endearing…  She lived in Israel for a total of 3 years, beginning as a tourist then returning to spend time at Hebrew University and as a graduate student also.  She is an expert on German Jewish Coffeehouse Intellectuals—she studies the social and political writings of Karl Kraus and Stefan Zweig.   She is taking flying lessons.  She learned how to pilot a Cessna 172 aircraft.  Prior to flying, she enjoyed learning to rock climb.  Plus, she continues to enjoy traveling, having done academic research in London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna.

Rockin' the wall

Rockin’ the wall

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Many Thanks for Mitzvah Day!

Posted on December 26th, 2013 by

A very successful Mitzvah Day!

A very successful Mitzvah Day! A big thank you to Erwin Burtnick, Stephen Mintz and R. David Edwards (of VA Maryland)!

In partnership with B’nai Israel Congregation, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, the Baltimore VA Medical Center and Jewish Volunteer Connection, the Jewish Museum of Maryland hosted a great Mitzvah Day event! We gathered donations and with the help of enthusiastic volunteers created care packages for veterans, which were then delivered to the Baltimore VA Medical Center.

Piecing together puzzle books.

Piecing together puzzle books.

We’d like to thank these local businesses for their generous donations, as well as the many individuals who stopped by with everything from playing cards and puzzle books to handmade hats and scarves!

  • Inner Harbor Dental
  • Harbour east dental
  • Scene 217
  • Shearz inc
  • Waterfront Marriot
  • Carrolton Inn
  • Lovely lady in Family dollar
  • Convention Center Hampton Inn
  • Charles Street dental
  • Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites at Harbor East

And of course we have to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to help us decorate gift bags, write thank you cards and package up all the gifts – we couldn’t have done it without you!

Picture 118

Bag Decorating

Picture 120

Getting creative

Picture 124

Thanking our veterans

Picture 139

Diligently packing parcels!

Picture 158

Hard at work!

Picture 125

More thank you letters

Picture 174

These are some devoted volunteers!


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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