Meet Talia Makowsky!
This post was written by JMM Visitor Services Coordinator Talia Makowsky!
As I settle into greeting visitors, scheduling groups, and listening to chickens cluck from the Lombard Street exhibit, I’m learning more about the Jewish community in Baltimore and about the community involved with The Jewish Museum itself. It’s exciting to be a part of a new family of dedicated staff, volunteers, members, and visitors who all have their own connections to the stories of the Museum. I hope to encourage these moments of connection, as I learn the role of Visitor Services Coordinator. (But don’t worry! Paige Woodhouse will still be around to help. She is transitioning to the role of School Program Coordinator).
My work experience in the past has been driven by my own commitment to community and education. As I was growing up, my mother was a Jewish educator and I assisted at the religious schools she ran, eventually becoming a classroom teacher Whenever I had the chance to create my own lesson plans, I always dived head-first into story-based activities, wanting to find creative ways to connect the students with their heritage and culture.
As I got older my interest in the complex nature of culture and identity grew stronger, and I looked for work and education in diverse places. I ended up in Baltimore because I went to school at Goucher College and I fell in love with this quirky, complicated city. I knew that my passion for community building and education could serve Baltimoreans well, and so I stayed in the area, eager to find work at an educational nonprofit.
I ended up joining as an AmeriCorps member at Reading Partners. Reading Partners is a literacy program that mobilizes volunteers to work one-on-one with Baltimore City elementary children on their reading skills. I gained a tremendous amount of patience and compassion through this position. It also solidified my love for community service and my dedication to the Baltimore community.
One thing was missing though- my personal connection to my Jewish identity. I hadn’t explored much of Baltimore’s Jewish community when I first arrived in the area, but had been wanting to find out more about this city that I call home. That’s how I ended up here, at the museum. I knew as soon as I started exploring the website, that this was a place that combined my desire for community service, my love of education, and my connections to my culture that I want to learn more about.
I hope that you can all help me to learn more about the Jewish Baltimore community as well as my new role. Keep sharing your stories, questions, and especially your patience as I step into the position. I’ll be at the front desk to help you with anything!