JMM Insights: Exploring Lloyd Street Synagogue

“A good work has this day been accomplished, a new house of prayer rears its fair proportions toward heaven.” – Rabbi Abraham Rice, during the dedication of the Lloyd Street Synagogue, September 26, 1845

This week’s edition of JMM Insights is the next entry in our LSS 175th celebration series! Hopefully, you had a chance to join us for our exciting kick-off with WYPR’s Sheilah Kast on October 1st, but if not (or you just want to relive the evening), we’ve got a live recording of the event available now!

This Sunday, we hope you’ll join Marvin for his final “official speaker” program with JMM, Illoway vs. Einhorn: A Battle for the Jewish Soul. In 1861, two rabbis spoke on the brink of war – one from the pulpit of the Lloyd Street Synagogue and the other in writing to the reformed worshippers of Har Sinai. Marvin will lead us through a dramatic recreation of the arguments put before Maryland’s Jewish community as it struggled to find its voice for social justice.

Mark your calendars for January 31st, 2021 as JMM Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Davis takes us on a dive into The Historic Mikva’ot of the Lloyd Street Synagogue.Inspired by real questions asked by museum visitors, this program will explore how the historic mikva’ot worked, how they fulfilled Jewish law, and the many evolutions of the Lloyd Street Synagogues mikveh complex, the oldest documented mikveh in the United States.

Speaking of visitor questions, did you know that we have a new “Ask Our Docents” series on the blog? JMM Project Manager Paige Woodhouse is working with our Museum docents to ask, answer, and explore many questions about the Lloyd Street Synagogue. The first edition in the series tackles the Hebrew script above the ark, the placement of the Bimah, and thoughts on keeping warm during Baltimore winters!

The second edition of the series is coming later this month, with questions about wall paintings, the name of the Synagogue, and where congregants went while the building was a church. Be sure to check our blog regularly to not miss anything.

Hot off the proverbial presses, just yesterday we published a fascinating post by JMM Director of Collections and Exhibits Joanna Church about the Lloyd Street Synagogue’s chandeliers. We won’t spoil too much here, but we will say it was a research journey involving two churches, a Pittsburgh reflector company, historic newspaper articles, and an issue of Generations Magazine. There’s even a hint of scandal – what more could you ask for?

For the younger members of your family, check out our hands-on activity pack about discovering the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Kids can test their knowledge with this virtual tour quiz, design their own stained glass window, practice the basics of field archaeology, and more! We definitely recommend the whole family taking some time to read The Synagogue Speaks together. (You can also order a print copy of the book here – it makes a lovely Hanukkah gift.)

To close out this week’s JMM Insights, here are a few bits of Lloyd Street Synagogue-related trivia!

  1. In addition to designing the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Baltimore architect Robert Carey Long, Jr. also designed the St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church, the St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, and the Gothic Revival-style gates of Greenmount Cemetery.
  2. During various archaeological investigations of the Lloyd Street Synagogue, we’ve found everything from shells to old clothes to glass milk bottles to pieces of spittoons!
  3. The Star of David glass window currently in the synagogue was restored from a basket full of broken glass saved from the original window. (You might enjoy this collection of some of the most beautiful stained glass windows in the world!)

JMM Synagogue Stories Lloyd Street Synagogue News