2021 Report to the Community

Cover of Annual Report. Close up of quilted matzoh cover with title text "Re-imagining"

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Reflecting on a Year of Change

Using scraps from her father’s tailoring business, Henrietta Heiman Jacobi reimagined discarded pieces of silk and velvet into what would become a beautiful family heirloom. Her hand-quilted matzoh cover, passed down through five generations of mothers and daughters, was used for family Seders in Baltimore until 2010.

Crazy quilt matzoh cover, made by Henrietta Heiman Jacobi, 1880s. Gift of Phyllis Cahn Meyerhoff and Susan Adler Davis, JMM 2021.012.002

I cannot help but draw comparisons between this recent donation to the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s collections and the creative reimagining that has taken place at the Museum this past year. We started the year on July 1, 2020, knowing that the pandemic would continue to shape our work. Thanks to the support of our staff, board, members, and community, we rolled up our sleeves and faced this new reality head-on. Guided by our mission, vision, and values, we reimagined the manner in which we do things in dramatic and long-lasting ways.

From celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Lloyd Street Synagogue to hosting our Winter Teachers Institute, we excelled at the “acceleration to digital,” offering a broad range of virtual programs. The result: attendance at livestream programs far outpaced pre-pandemic physical attendance attracting a worldwide audience from 46 states and 9 countries!

We found ways to bring our exhibits to the people. When people could not come to the physical museum, we offered virtual tours for individuals and groups. Reaching synagogues and organizations in Baltimore and beyond, we are concluding this year having provided over 50 customized virtual tours.

While we could not host students in person, we found ways to continue providing curricular resources and professional development opportunities to teachers – strengthening our credentials as a community resource for Holocaust education and combatting antisemitism.

Like the different fabrics, colors, and patterns in Henrietta Jacobi’s matzoh cover, Maryland’s Jewish community is equally diverse. As the community is divided by ongoing racial injustice and increasing mistrust, we committed ourselves to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice by focusing on representing and amplifying the voices of all Maryland’s Jewish community members.

Finally, just as the matzoh cover was passed from guardian to guardian, JMM transitioned leadership. We bid farewell to our esteemed Executive Director Marvin Pinkert and welcomed Sol Davis to the role. Sol brings so much passion, innovation, and creativity to the work. We look forward to the JMM’s future under Sol’s very capable leadership. While FY21 will be remembered as a year filled with unprecedented challenges, I hope you, like me, appreciate JMM’s ability to create opportunities from uncertainties.

It has been a pleasure serving as president this past year, and I invite you to join us as we imagine the future of JMM together.

Nancy Kutler

Board President

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