Introducing: Our First Remote Intern

Rafael Wirtschafter is interning (remotely) with Development and Marketing Manager Rachel Kassman. He will be blogging for JMM once a week and sharing his research and progress throughout the spring semester. Welcome Rafael!

My name is Rafael Wirtschafter. I am a student of history and Jewish studies at American University in Washington, DC and I have just begun my internship at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

I grew up in Berkeley, California in a practicing Reconstructionist household. I went to a non-denominational Jewish day school and had my bar mitzvah at a Renewal synagogue. I went to Camp Tawonga, a Jewish summer camp. I was heavily involved in Midrasha, a Jewish teen educational program that I later worked for. I love learning about Judaism and the Jewish people in every way I can and am currently becoming more observant.

JMM intern Rafael Wirtschafer posing in front of the historic ship USS Constellation in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
Me and the USS Constellation, Baltimore, Maryland.

I am excited to work at the Jewish Museum of Maryland because I love Jews, museums, and Baltimore has one of the most storied Jewish communities in the country. I love telling stories and sharing knowledge and I am considering doing museum work professionally in the future.

I have an extremely tangential connection to the museum as well. One of the founding donors to the JMM was a businessman named Jacob Epstein. One of Epstein’s businesses was to give pushcarts to Jewish immigrants and allow them to pay him back with the profits they earned selling goods further west. An ancestor of mine was one of those immigrants. Because of this business, my family was able to take hold in America, settling in Petersburg, Virginia, south of Richmond where my grandma grew up.

Her son, my father, was born in Baltimore, though he moved in his early childhood. My mother’s brother lives in Pikesville and I have visited Baltimore on a few occasions and I am shocked it isn’t more of a tourist draw given its architectural beauty and high quality museums and sites. While I cannot claim to be a Marylander of any sort, I recognize the many ways that all histories are both interconnected and personal and I hope to bring that perspective to my work here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.


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