One Year Since We Closed

A blog post by Chris Sniezek, Manager (Esther’s Place).  To read more posts from Chris, click here.

Next week, it will be one year since the Jewish Museum of Maryland closed our physical doors to the public in the attempt to protect the health of staff and visitors while we all adjusted to pandemic life. From March to July, JMM staff almost exclusively worked from home where we expanded and improved upon our mission of capturing, preserving, interpreting, and conveying the meaning in the stories of Maryland’s Jewish community.  

JMM staff on a weekly Zoom meeting

Our public programs ballooned as we switched from physical programs to virtual Zoom programs that have seen increased participation rates, donor outreach has expanded, we have hired new staff, and we’ve collected more stories about peoples Covid lives.  

Passover Seder matching game – for sale in Esther’s Place: Online!

As someone who is not Jewish, last year would have been my first Passover holiday (among those who celebrate the holiday) had we not closed the Museum doors. In fact, most of the store is still set up in preparation for last year’s Passover season.  

However, because we weren’t able to be in the museum last Passover, we switched swiftly to creating an online store. While this was a nice temporary fix that has been added on over the course of the last year, I think everyone can agree it would be much nicer to shop in person once we are able to securely reopen. However, the online store contains most of the Passover items we have available, with some new ideas implemented to try and make picking out items easier.

One of our delightful Passover-themed bundles – makes a great gift! Did you know we offer free curbside pickup?

This includes our new bundle options. For Passover, we are offering two of our new bundle options, one as an adult bundle which contains a similarly patterned Seder plate, Elijah cup, and wall hanging while a children’s bundle contains plushy’s, a book, puzzle, and coloring mat.  

This lovely bundle is perfect for the kids in your life, including coloring placemats, a story book, a Seder plate puzzle and the most adorable version of the 10 plagues you’ve ever seen.

While last year’s Passover was hectic as everyone adjusted to a rapidly changing to a quarantined world, this year’s Passover will be a mixture of painful recollection of the past year and celebration for the light at the end of the tunnel. This past year of quarantining has found everyone yearning for reconnecting with friends and family, a growing itch to travel and go out, and wondering when life can resume. Luckily, we are seeing mass vaccination beginning to take effect across the state of Maryland and the rest of the country. Both my parent’s have been vaccinated, all my grandparents are fully vaccinated, and many of my friends and family who work in the medical profession/essential fields have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine.  

My mother after her vaccine dose. 
My father after getting his vaccine.

So the end of all this is approaching, we just need to hold on a little longer. 

As of writing this blog, over 500,000 Marylanders have received their second dose of the vaccines meaning we are that much closer to entering Phase 2 reopening and vaccinations. As more people are vaccinated, we can finally begin going back to normal. While we won’t be able to be completely open by Passover, if we keep up the rate we’re going, we might very well be able to open by July (fingers crossed). All this being said, I am in no way a health professional. Always adhere to professional health advice like that coming from the CDC.  

Since this is the end of the blog, I’ll leave you with this singular question: who do you want to see/where do you want to go once you are able to? 

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