Volunteer Spotlight on Ray Weinstein!

Posted on June 25th, 2018 by

Post by Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Davis. Periodically we highlight one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, send an email to Wendy at wdavis@jewishmuseummd.org or call 443-873-5168! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Ray Weinstein defines himself as a family man.

He has a wonderful wife Nadine, 3 sons and 8 grandchildren.  He is also a person who likes to give back to his community.  He recently started to do that as a docent at JMM, but he has been giving back for years, often in leadership roles.  He has been a member of the Oriole Advocates since 1977 and was their president in 1983, the year the Orioles won the World Series. Go O’s!!   He was president of the Babe Ruth Organization for 3 years and is currently on their board as a past-president. He encourages all to visit the Babe Ruth House which is not far from Camden Yards.  Did you know that Baltimore has had a sister city in Japan for the past 40 years?  It is Kawasaki, a port city that is similar in size to Baltimore.  When Ray was president of the Baltimore-Kawasaki Committee in 1987, he accompanied a little league high school team to Kawasaki.  The team played 6 games and Ray had a chance to travel around Japan.

Before retirement, Ray worked for the Internal Revenue Service for 32 years.  He then joined a group of lawyers as a tax consultant specializing in tax settlement cases.

After retirement, Ray looked for a new opportunity to give back to the community.  Last September, Ray participated in the Jewish Museum Volunteer Recruitment.  As a long-time member of the JMM who frequently brought family and friends to the museum, he has been impressed with the excellent job the JMM has done in creating and explain meaningful exhibits. Ray likes to talk about Jewish history and Baltimore history.  And he thinks it is important to encourage people to come into Baltimore.  For all those reason, Ray has found a good fit as a volunteer docent at JMM.

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Volunteer Spotlight on: Sylvia Nudler!

Posted on April 25th, 2018 by

Post by Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Davis. Periodically 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 443-873-5162! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

As a girl, Sylvia Nudler used to dream of working in museums, but her life initially took a different path.

For a number of years, she was employed by Sheppard Pratt at their Education Center and Conference Center. She then became the Chief Operating Officer for the Council for Quality and Leadership (CQL), an international organization that sets standards for services for people with disabilities. Sylvia related that this organization had employees all over the country that worked from their homes; much earlier than today’s normal acceptance of telecommuting. Upon retirement from CQL in 2013, she was finally able to fulfill her dream by joining the volunteer team at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Sylvia’s current project at the Museum is typing and organizing translations of German letters from the 1930s and 40s.

She finds it fascinating how on some letters, the paper is rotated in order to add sentences in the margins and in other letters space is left at the bottom for another family member to add a message. From when Sylvia began volunteering at the JMM in 2014 until recently, she has worked on hundreds of photographs in the collection.  She has written descriptions of them including who the people are that are pictured, where the photos were taken and the subject matter so that the photos can be found by different data searches.  Some of the photos were taken as early as the late 1800’s.

She calls herself an arm-chair traveler as she has sorted through the many photos that were travel-related. One photo that came to her mind was of a nanny, a baby carriage and the grandmother on a ship.

Another was of Baltimorean Harry Greenstein in Mexico photographed with Trotsky, Diego Rivera, and Frida Kahlo. The men were already identified, and Sylvia was able to add Frida’s name to the list.  (JMM 1971.20.55)

But Sylvia is not just an arm-chair traveler.  She has already visited all 7 continents and 48 countries.  Her goal, to see 50 countries, will be reached this spring when she travels to Croatia, Bosnia and other countries that previously made up Yugoslavia.

Sylvia began her international travel at age 3 ½ when she moved to Baltimore.  She was born in Wels, Austria at a displaced persons’ camp.  Her parents, who were both originally from Poland, met at the camp.  When they moved to Baltimore, they developed an extended “family” with other immigrants to stand in for the family that was lost in Europe.

Sylvia stays pretty busy in retirement.  In addition to her work at the JMM and her traveling, she also finds time to volunteer for several other organizations – the Maryland Association of Nonprofits and the House of Ruth.  She recently added ushering at Everyman Theatre to her calendar.  Whew!

Sylvia is one of our many appreciated volunteers at the JMM.  We are grateful for her time, her expertise, and her friendship.

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A Volunteer Field Trip – Right Next Door!

Posted on March 19th, 2018 by

A blog post from JMM Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Davis. To read more posts from Wendy, click here.

One can learn much about a building, but it doesn’t come to life until you have seen it filled with people using it for its intended purpose.    On Shabbat, March 3rd, a group of Jewish Museum of Maryland volunteers had that opportunity.  At the invitation of Rabbi Etan Mintz, we participated in the morning service and had a delicious lunch at B’nai Israel, one of the two historic synagogues on the Jewish Museum of Maryland Berman campus.  We were warmly welcomed by the congregants and the rabbi.  All of our male volunteers who were present at the service were given honors during the Torah service and I had the honor of walking with the Torah in my arms in the women’s section.

Inside the sanctuary with some of our volunteers, Phil Sagal, me, Marvin Spector, and Larry Levine.

Instead of a sermon by the rabbi, after services, Fred Shoken, a congregant who is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the history of B’nai Israel spoke to the entire congregation using questions we had previously submitted as his general outline.  Did you know that when the building was built, Hebrew words were carved in stone above the exterior doorway?  It originally identified that the building was the Chizuk Amuno Congregation and the date of the building.  When B’nai Israel moved into the building, the original congregation’s name was filled in and recarved with the name of the new congregation.    When the exterior was restored in 1987, some of the filling in of the letters was removed, leaving an overlap of both names.  In the sanctuary, all the beautiful woodwork is original except for the mechitzah (the fence separating the men from the women) and the railings leading to the ark.  Rabbi Mintz showed everyone interesting historic objects from the congregation’s collection including a list of yarhtzits written on parchment.

Standing outside the synagogue.

Typical for synagogues, at the end of the service, the president of the congregation, Shelly Mintz, who is also a JMM volunteer, made announcements.  As expected, she included information about upcoming events and services. But her words also expressed how this oldest continuously operating synagogue building in Maryland is still the place of active Jewish involvement.

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