Volunteer Spotlight on: Ted Cornblatt!

Posted on January 11th, 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.

Ted Cornblatt is one of JMM’s newest volunteers and a semi-retired attorney who specializes in litigation, primary workman’s comp.  When he cut back on his work schedule, he was looking for something meaningful to do.  Since he loves history, and especially Jewish history, volunteering at the Jewish Museum of Maryland was a natural fit.

Ted Cornblatt

Fortunately for us, Ted has been a docent for our historic synagogues since September 2017.  He feels great about his volunteer experience at JMM, finding it exciting to see the way people love going through the synagogues and the “wow” aspect.  And he enjoys meeting people from such diverse regions such as Argentina and Singapore to Gaithersburg, Columbia, and Baltimore.  The times when he is waiting for a tour to start, Ted says it is nice to sit in the museum library and look through the books that peak his curiosity.

Ted is married and proud of his 8 grandchildren, ranging in age from 6 months to 28 years old.  We are so glad that Ted has joined the JMM volunteer family!

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From Baltimore to Iraq to India

Posted on December 27th, 2017 by

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

I recently traveled with my husband to India.  It was an adventure into a culture and way of life that was fascinating.  But what surprised me was the connection between the current exhibit at Jewish Museum of Maryland and my recent travels to India.

The David Sassoon Library and Reading Room

In the Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage exhibit there is a facsmile of business correspondence of the Sassoon family.  The memory of this was trigger when I saw a sign on a building in Mumbai “David Sassoon Library and Reading Room.”  I remembered that David Sassoon was a Baghdadi Jew who moved to what was once called Bombay and established an international trading business in the mid-1800’s.  What I have learned since, is that he remained an observant Jew and built 2 synagogues in the Bombay area.

David Sassoon (seated) and his sons Elias David, Albert (Abdallah) & Sassoon David. Via.

Just a few blocks from the Sassoon library I visited a synagogue called Keneseth Eliyahoo.  It was built by Davis Sassoon’s grandson in 1884 when there was a huge Baghdadi Jewish community living in the area.  Upon looking up the synagogue on the internet, I found that when the Keneseth Eliyahoo recently dedicated a new Torah, a representative of the Midrash Ben Ish Hai, a New York synagogue/school, spoke at the dedication.

Interior, Kenesseth Eliyahu Synagogue. Photo by Reuben Strayer. Via.

The name “Ben Ish Hai” triggered another memory.  In the Iraqi Heritage exhibit there is a 1906 religious guidebook for women written by Yosef Hayin ben Elijah al-Hakam, also known as Ben Ish Hai.  Ben Ish Hai was an international known and respected rabbi whose name and teachings and Baghdadi traditions are expounded at the New York Midrash Ben Ish Hai.

Who knew that a trip to India would illustrate to me that, as the final panel in the Iraqi Jewish Heritage exhibit states, “Iraqi Jewish life continues as a vibrant tradition in Iraqi Jewish communities worldwide.”

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Performances Counts: We Missed You at Lunch

Posted on September 15th, 2017 by

Most of us reading this month’s newsletter were not at today’s “Get Discovered” volunteer recruitment lunch (but we’ve managed to discover you anyway!)

While it’s too late to send you a tuna sandwich, it’s not too late to think about how you (or your friends) can become engaged in one of the most exciting volunteer opportunities in Baltimore.

Leading a school group through Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust Humanity

Leading a school group through Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust Humanity

Since this is “Performance Counts”, let me share just a few stats.  Our volunteers last year included 7 front desk aides, 23 docents, 7 shop assistants, 13 library and archives aides, 28 special projects volunteers and 28 JMM Board members.  These 106 volunteers worked a total of 7557 hours.

>Front desk volunteers meet and greet visitors—including hundreds of teachers and chaperones on field trips to the JMM as they pass by on their way to Esther’s Place, the exhibit galleries and our historic synagogues.

>Docents conducted over 350 synagogue tours last year.

>Library and Archival volunteers scanned and uploaded more than 7,000 photos from the Baltimore Jewish Times, wrote folder lists for 24  boxes, just over 4,000 folders, in JMM’s institutional archives and processed two major new archival accessions, cataloguing them and creating finding aids.

>Other volunteers worked with Holocaust survivors or their families on 91 collages created for the Remembering Auschwitz exhibit.

>Still even more volunteers judged 93 projects for the My Family Story competition.

Even with these impressive stats, we still can do better and that’s why we held a lunch today to let new prospects learn more about the work we have available.

Welcome Wendy!

Welcome Wendy!

It was also a chance to introduce folks to our Volunteer Coordinator, Wendy Davis!  So since most of us weren’t there today, I’m going to let Wendy introduce herself:

I am excited and honored to be the new volunteer coordinator at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  My awareness of the Lloyd Street synagogue began way back in the 1960s.  As a teenager, I went with a group of fellow teens to see the synagogue at the beginning of the renovation process. And my father, Gordon Salganik, has been supportive of the Museum almost since its inception.  Now it is my turn to support the JMM.

For the past four years I have thoroughly enjoyed being a volunteer docent at JMM. Before my retirement and volunteering at JMM, I was a speech language pathologist in Baltimore City Public Schools. Now, I have a long wish list of things I would like to accomplish as the volunteer coordinator beyond monthly scheduling of the volunteers.  Establishing a lending library for the volunteers, improving our knowledge of the museum’s neighbors, dealing with fellow volunteers’ concerns and addressing their wish lists, and increasing our volunteer corps are at the top of my list!  The best way all this can be accomplished is with the collaboration and support of the wonderful JMM staff and volunteers that are my privilege to call colleagues.

I invite you to drop by to welcome Wendy.  Better yet, make her day by asking her how you can become a colleague at JMM.  Get discovered.


Testing out educational activities for the upcoming Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage exhibit!

Testing out educational activities for the upcoming Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage exhibit!

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