Learning from Wisdom

Posted on July 20th, 2016 by

Throughout this internship, I’ve spent many fond hours at the front desk talking with Betsy, one of the museum’s volunteers. Betsy is well travelled, wise, and open minded, and I love talking to her about the news and politics. Although she is an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton, and I of Bernie Sanders, our differences of opinion only make our conversations more interesting, and lead to excellent discussion. Betsy has a very different point of view from myself, which helps me to see issues in different ways than I would normally look at them, and I can’t help but to trust the wisdom of her experiences.

If you've been to the Museum, you've probably met Betsey at the Welcome Desk!

If you’ve been to the Museum, you’ve probably met Betsey at the Welcome Desk!

We’ve also conversed thoroughly about food and travel. Betsy and I have both been to China and find other cultures fascinating, and have discussed our favorite restaurants in the Baltimore. We both seem to share a passion for ethnic foods and exploring the city. Since the start of my internship, I think I have learned the most about the world and how to have a good life. She just turned 90 last week, so here’s wishing her a happy Birthday!

06.06.2016 Interns (23)Post by Education and Programs Intern David Agronin. To read  more posts by and about interns click HERE.


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Once Upon a Time…11.20.2015

Posted on July 19th, 2016 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church at 410.732.6400 x236 or email jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org


2011029249Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  November 20, 2015

PastPerfect Accession #:  2011.029.249

Status:  Identified! Mary Huffman, a Levindale gift shop volunteer, enjoying her work, circa 1970s.

Special Thanks To: Robin Lightman (Mary Huffman’s great-niece)



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Volunteer Spotlight on Ernie Silversmith!

Posted on July 11th, 2016 by

Ernie Silversmith, volunteer docent

Ernie Silversmith, volunteer docent

Ernie Silversmith has been a volunteer docent at the JMM for 15 years. In looking through our collection records,  I discovered that the Museum had completed a memoir of him a few years ago. In that memoir, I learned that Ernie was born in Nuremberg, Germany and he started school in 1936 at an all-Jewish school. The German part of his education ended on Kristallnacht when his parents decided it would be safer to leave the country. In 1939, Ernie and his sister took a train to Holland and then a boat to England where they stayed with their aunt and uncle until their parents could join them a few months later.  After the war started, the family left on a banana boat to Jamaica in order to avoid the German U-boats in the north Atlantic. They caught a luxury liner to New York and rented a room in Washington Heights. In fact, we have a copy of his US certificate of citizenship from 1946 in our archives.

US Certificate of Citizenship 1946, Ernest Silversmith. JMM 2012.046

US Certificate of Citizenship 1946, Ernest Silversmith. JMM 2012.046

They then moved to Tacoma, Washington before finally settling in the Baltimore area. Ernie taught chemistry for 50 years at Morgan State University. In looking around online, I found an article about him in the Baltimore Sun where I discovered that he was a beloved professor and also won many awards for his teaching.

In 2001, Ernie decided to become a docent at the JMM because he found that giving tours is a form of teaching, which he had done for his whole career. He is proud to be Jewish and gets excited watching the reactions of people on his tour and answering their many interesting questions. He aims to awaken their excitement about Jewish Baltimore and enjoys telling the story about our two historic synagogues.

Ernie begins a synagogue tour.

Ernie begins a synagogue tour.

He has been happily married 63 years and gets much pleasure from his four children and eight grandchildren.

While I have only known Ernie for the past year, I have found him to be a very dedicated volunteer with a kind and gentle soul. I always look forward to seeing him on Sundays and hope that he will continue to volunteer at our museum for many years to come.

GrahamPost by Visitor Services Coordinator Graham Humphrey. Every month we highlight one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, send an email to Sue Foard at sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x220! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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