Museum Matters: March 2015

Posted on March 6th, 2015 by

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We have left February behind us and the forecast is “great programs” at JMM for the month ahead.  So make the exodus from winter and join us at one of this month’s activities.  We’ll be putting our own twist on the preparations for welcoming spring this Passover:  Matzah making for all ages on March 19 and a report from the tombs of Egypt on March 29.

And of course, all month long you can join Mendes Cohen for his journey (into) and out of Egypt in the A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit.  Examine the treasures that Mendes brought back to Johns Hopkins as well as the flag and jacket he took down the Nile.  Looking ahead – if you have kids, and I don’t “had gadya”-type kids, be sure to mark your calendar for April 12 – in honor of Mendes’ journey we are hosting our first (and only) Egypt Family Day.  Have fun with an archeological dig and ancient Egyptian-inspired crafts.  This event is strictly BYOM*.

*bring your own mummy (and daddy)

Upcoming Programs

Please note that unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). For more information and to RSVP for specific programs, contact Carolyn Bevans*: (410) 732-6400 x215 / For more information on JMM events please visit *Carolyn is filling in for new mom Trillion Attwood from January through March.

Matzah Madness for preschoolDaytime Matzah Madness!
Thursday, March 19th
11:00am – 12:00pm Hands-On Holiday: Matzah Making for Pre-schoolers
1:30pm – 2:30pm A Golden Holiday: Matzah Making for Seniors
Program included with Museum Admission


Rectangle adLate Night on Lloyd Street: Matzah Madness & Wine Tasting
Thursday, March 19th @ 6:00pm

During the Passover Seder, we don’t just hear the story of Exodus; we see, smell, feel and taste liberation. Prepare for this multi-sensory experience with a night of wine tasting and matzah making! Matzah and wine are both central Passover symbols. Join us as we learn about the significance of matzah with Rabbi Levi Druk of Chabad Downtown and sample a variety of mevushal wines from Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits. Finally, have the chance to make your own matzah to share with friends and family for the holiday!

Panel 43.Egypt.JohnsHopkinsWhat the Ancient Egyptians Took with Them—and Why
Speaker Dr. Betsy Bryan, Johns Hopkins University
Sunday, March 29, 1:00 p.m.
Program Free with Museum Admission

Mendes Cohen spent several months travelling in Egypt building a wonderful collection of antiquities that would later go on to form the basis of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum. We are very excited to be welcoming museum director Prof. Betsey Bryan to talk about the collection Mendes developed and the Egypt Mendes would have encountered during his travels.

IMG_0212Family Activity Day: Egypt
Sunday, April 12
12:00pm – 4:00pm
$5 Admission for Families

Join us for a fun filled day of hands-on activities for all things Egypt! Learn about archaeological digs (and try your hand at a little digging of your own) and Ancient Egypt-inspired crafts!

More Programs

Baltimore Jewish Council
Essay Contest!
The Baltimore Jewish Council is sponsoring a high school student essay contest as part of its 2015 Yom HaShoah Commemoration for Holocaust Remembrance. As part of this year’s theme, Remember the Children, students will be asked to answer the following questions:

  • Why should the lessons of the Holocaust be passed on to a new generation?
  • What can young people do to combat and prevent prejudice, discrimination and violence in our world today?

Applications are available on the Baltimore Jewish Council website. Entries must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2015. Israel Bonds will be awarded to first, second and third place winners: 1st Place $300, 2nd Place $200, 3rd Place $100.

Gordon Center for Performing Arts
IMG_1113-1Stoop Storytellers: Looking for storytellers!
Baltimore’s own Stoop Storytelling Series is coming to the Gordon Center for Performing Arts on Thursday, June 11, 2015  for a show entitled “Family Circus: Stories about twisted sisters, funny uncles, and mommies dearest.”

Email us at if you’ve got a true, personal story that matches the theme! For tickets

Baltimore Jewish Film Festival:
Don’t miss the 27th Annual Baltimore Jewish Film Festival March 22-April 28, 2015 at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts Featuring 11 internationally acclaimed films, all Baltimore Premieres!​

Sunday, April 26 at 3:00 pm
A special co-presentation with the Jewish Museum of Maryland and The Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration. Buy your tickets today!


B’nai Israel Congregation
The JMM is pleased to share our campus with B’nai Israel Congregation. For additional information about B’nai Israel events and services for Shabbat, please visit  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit or check out BIYA on facebook.

Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland March Meeting
Why the New York Times Is Wrong:
Using Basic Genealogical Tools to Show That Your Family Name Was Not Changed at Ellis Island

Speaker: Ken Bravo
Sunday, March 22, 1:30 pm, Pikesville Library’s meeting room

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD) after their first meeting. Refreshments will be available. Please check the web site at for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.


Exhibits currently on display include The A-mazing Mendes Cohen (on display through June 14, 2015), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks!

Hours and Tour Times

The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm.

Combination tours of the 1845 Lloyd Street Synagogue and the 1876 Synagogue Building now home to B’nai Israel are offered: Sunday through Thursday at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 2:00pm.  We offer tours focused on the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Sunday through Thursday at 3:00pm and on Sunday at 4:00pm.  Our new Lloyd Street “1845: Technology and the Temple” tour is available every Sunday and Monday at 3:00 until The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen closes in June 2015.

Get Involved

The JMM is looking for volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or


Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families.

All members receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street.

Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. Memberships can be purchased online! For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or

JMM Museum Shop

Flip Frog sequencePassover begins at sundown April 3, 2015!  Gather around your Seder table with family and friends..share your stories and enjoy the foods of Passover! Our JMM Museum Shop has hand-picked Seder plates to grace your table including this 13” decorative glass plate, on which rests six floral dishes and an available Kiddush cup, all by Quest in their Freesia Passover Collection.

For children (and adults too!) we have assorted frogs, finger puppets and bouncing matzoh balls!

Are you ready for Passover?

Are you ready for Passover?

Every purchase made in the JMM Museum Shop supports the mission and programs of the Jewish Museum of Maryland.
JMM Members receive a 10% discount on all purchases.

For  further information, call Esther Weiner, Museum Shop Manager, 410-732-6400, ext. 211


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Aliens Under the Influence

Posted on March 4th, 2015 by

Regular readers of my blog posts have already figured out that I am something of a geek – board games, Presidential trivia, 19th century letters and Japanese Studies, but my ultimate geek credential is my passion for science fiction.

 Leonard Nimoy at the 2011 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Leonard Nimoy at the 2011 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

So it won’t surprise you to learn that I spent some time this last weekend sifting through dozens of final tributes to the actor Leonard Nimoy.  I was trying to answer the question – what made me feel such a profound sense of loss at this actors passing.

It occurred to me that two people died last Friday – Nimoy and Mr. Spock, the half-Vulcan/half-human character he inhabited.  As it turns out, many of us had already witnessed Spock’s death decades ago – but we also saw his resurrection.  With all respect to Zachary Quinto, this time, though, the real Spock is not coming back.

Publicity photo of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner as Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk from the television program Star Trek, 1968. Courtesy of NBC Television.

Publicity photo of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner as Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk from the television program Star Trek, 1968. Courtesy of NBC Television.

For me, the character of Spock was a figure of profound hope and a projection of Jewish values into a distant future.  By Jewish values, I don’t just refer to the Cohain blessing gesture that Nimoy conveyed to Spock.  It runs much deeper – many of the obituaries called it the “dignity” that Nimoy brought to the character, making him much more than an actor with pointy ears.  Like a distinguished rabbi, Spock speaks with a level of gravitas unavailable to his compatriots.   He is consistently the voice for thoughtfulness and respect for other cultures in a universe still populated by humans and other creatures whose “shoot first” approach is the norm.

Most importantly, Spock is the only alien (at least half-alien) on the original Enterprise and this is where I sense that Spock and Nimoy, the child of “aliens” from Iziaslav, Ukraine, actually meet.  So much of Spock’s story is about overcoming racial and cultural prejudice to become an accepted member of the crew.   It is hard not to see at least a piece of the Jewish experience played out in the development of Spock

Spock was of course, not the only alien under Jewish influence.  Even on Star Trek, Jewish motifs are introduced when we meet the Rozhenkos from Minsk, adoptive parents of the Klingon, Worf and of Worf’s son, Alexander Rozhenko.  Worf is perhaps more a Maccabi than a melamed, but his familial relationships as both son and parent have at least a touch of Jewish resonance.

Worf and his son Alexander on the Enterprise. Via flickr user bootsartemis.

Worf and his son Alexander on the Enterprise. Via flickr user bootsartemis.

Armin Shimerman, who plays the Ferengi, Quark in Star Trek Deep Space 9, is another actor whose Jewish roots are evident in his portrayal of a complex character.  I am trying to be very careful in what I say here, because there is a lot of strong opinion on the Internet that Ferengi culture trades in negative stereotypes of Jewish merchants (not quite as much anger as over the character Watto in Star Wars, but still a fair amount of invective).  I would only note that in the series, Quark is another example of an alien torn between the norms of his own culture and a “hyuman” culture he believes is hypocritical.  Shimerman is the cynical alien – forcing his friends on the station (and the Trekkers watching) to question whether the Trek future is living up to its values.

Armin Shimerman at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas in 2008. Photo by Beth Madison.

Armin Shimerman at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas in 2008. Photo by Beth Madison.

I can’t let this brief review of aliens with Jewish origins end without some mention of Mandy Patinkin’s role as Sam Francisco in the movie Alien Nation.  For those of you who may have missed this classic, Francisco comes from an alien race of former slaves who take refuge near Los Angeles after they are marooned on their space ship.  Patinkin’s character is one of the first Newcomer policemen and he is paired with a hard-boiled human cop, played by James Caan, to solve a murder mystery.  Francisco’s dilemma – wanting to assimilate, yet not wanting to lose his cultural roots is really a classic immigrant story grafted into a sci-fi environment.  Again, it seems as though Patinkin, beneath his alien make-up, is channeling the experience of our grandparents as they struggled to find a place in this new world.

Poster for Alien Nation.

Poster for Alien Nation.

So yes I will miss both Nimoy, the actor and Spock, the character, but I also know that this is not the end of our exploration of alien worlds.

Marvin PinkertA blog post by Museum Director Marvin Pinkert. To read more posts from Marvin click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Once Upon a Time…06.24.2014

Posted on March 3rd, 2015 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


1994112006030Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  June 24, 2014

PastPerfect Accession #:  1994.112.006.030

Status:  Partially Identified – do you know anyone in this choir who performed at Rose Greenberg’s retirement party, 1974? Front row, left to right: 1.Bernice Packer, 2. Unidentified. Middle row, left to right: 3. Unidentified, 4. Sue Waldman, 5. Unidentified. Back row, left to right: 6.Unidentified, 7. Unidentified

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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