JMM Insights: The Power of Programs

This week’s edition of JMM Insights comes from Program Assistant, Laura Grant


At the JMM, we hope our public programs inspire attendees whether by sparking a curiosity to learn more, providing a chance for reflection and escape, or prompting a shift in perspective on an issue.

As a member of the programs team, I have the privilege of witnessing the impact programs can have and sense of community they can provide, especially during these challenging times. Over the past year, I have enjoyed listening and participating in the variety of programs we’ve hosted—from family programs, to author talks, panel discussions, and more. As we mark a little over a year of hosting virtual programs, I’d like to uplift two programs that were particularly meaningful for me. 

Last Wednesday, we hosted Faiths in Mourning, a program inspired by the current installation on display on the exterior of the Museum, in the absence of a proper mourning. During the event, we heard from a panel of local faith leaders, Rabbi Etan Mintz, Dr. Terris King, and Imam Yaseen Shaikh, about the mourning practices within their religious traditions and how those have been disrupted and adapted due to Covid.

The panel discussion began by looking at the points of connection and difference around mourning rituals associated with faith traditions. It was powerful to listen to the personal stories shared by the faith leaders about the immense difficulty witnessed due to the inability to gather and participate in grief rituals fully. As the moderator for the conversation, Chloe Zelkha, noted, our communities have experienced a double loss—they are grieving their loved ones and the way they would have grieved if not for Covid. It was also particularly meaningful to hear our speakers share how their faiths have provided a sense of solace during this time and recount instances when they have witnessed creativity and joy amid sorrow.

If you have not had a chance to listen to this powerful conversation, I encourage you to view the recording available now on our website.

I would also like to highlight one of the programs we presented alongside our current exhibit Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in OrbitBack in January, we hosted a discussion with three local, contemporary science fiction authors at the event, Writing Ourselves into the Narrative: Maryland Sci-Fi Writers. 

Our panel of authors, Sarah Pinsker, Aliza Greenblatt, and Jason Harris discussed the connections between identity and science fiction. It was enlightening to hear the various ways the writers incorporated elements of their backgrounds and communities into their work and to consider why science fiction and fantasy is such a great vehicle for doing so. I had never considered how science fiction can allow us to move beyond the restrictions of society that are normally reflected in literature and therefore expand the stories that are told and characters that are represented.

As someone who had never been particularly interested in reading science fiction, this program prompted me to reconsider my views of the genre. It also led me to expand my reading selections, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the recent science fiction books I’ve read by Octavia Butler and Rumaan Alam.  

Whether or not you are a sci-fi fan, I encourage you to give this program a listen. Also, if you haven’t had a chance to see the Jews in Space exhibit and are a JMM member, make sure you book your tickets to visit!

Come and Learn: A Greater Baltimore Virtual Shavuot Experience

May 16th at 7:00pm-May 17th at 4:00am Eastern

Join the Baltimore Jewish community for a fun night of Jewish learning.

Don’t miss the conversation on May 16th at 9:00pm between Chief Arts Officer of the JCC Sara Shalva and Artist Tal Beery about the installation at the Museum in the absence of a proper mourning.

Check out the full schedule of events and register here.


Shavout Unbound 
Explore short schedules of videos, podcasts, games, and comics from which to learn and be inspired to think deeply about what Judaism is and what it might become. 

Learn more here.


Dawn: A Cosmic Reunion
May 16th-17th 

Join an all-night culture and arts festival feasting music, film, comedy, dance, food and, teaching across multiple channels presented by Reboot, the Jewish Emergent Network, and LABA.

Register here.

Don’t miss out 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting!

Reminder: Executive Director Sol Davis is holding weekly office hours to meet you! Make an appointment for a virtual visit and share your thoughts, ideas, and aspirations for JMM.

Click to schedule an appointment now!

Esther’s Place Online:

Spring Bundles

Check out the new spring-themed bundle available exclusively through the online shop. 

Help rejuvenate your home for the season with this bright and lively collection. 

Categories
Museum Stories News Programs and Events

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