Museum Matters: January 2015

Posted on January 9th, 2015 by

Warm Up with Mendes

Hope you heard about the Mendes Cohen exhibit on Maryland Morning on Wednesday.  If not, click HERE to hear the interview. Feel free to share the link with friends, relatives and neighbors.

Now we know, it’s coooold out there and though you want to come and see the exhibit, it’s hard to motivate yourself to bundle up and venture out into Baltimore’s equivalent of Lower Slobovia.  Well we have a little incentive.  Come this Sunday, January 11th, buy a commemorative Mendes mug and you’ll get a free hot chocolate (while supplies last).  The Mendes mug bears a replica of the American flag he took down the Nile and its warm tones of brown and red will look great next to the purple Ravens paraphenelia you have left over from Saturday night.

Baltimore is buzzing for our A-Mazing Mendes MUG! (and dishwasher safe!)

So don’t let the weather hold you back.  Warm cocoa and warm smiles are waiting for you here at JMM.  And if you can’t make it on the 11th, check out the upcoming programs listed below on Jan. 18th and 25th – guaranteed to warm up your brain as well.

~Marvin

 

Upcoming Programs

Please note that unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). For more information and to RSVP for specific programs, contact Carolyn Bevans*: (410) 732-6400 x215 / cbevans@jewishmuseummd.org. For more information on JMM events please visit www.jewishmuseummd.org. *Carolyn is filling in for new mom Trillion Attwood from January through March.

 

January

Curaçao_synagogue2

The Sephardic Atlantic: Mendes I. Cohen and the Story of Early American Jewry

Speaker Dr. R

Sunday, January 18, 12:00pmonnie Perelis, Yeshiva University

Program included with Museum admission

Before there were thriving Jewish communities in cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Charleston and Savannah, most Jews in the Americas lived in the Caribbean. They were part of a dynamic Sephardic network of trade and culture which connected major metropolitan centers such as Amsterdam and London to colonial ports such as Curacao and Kingston. The first American Jews were connected through their Atlantic connections. We will explore how early American Jews such as Mendes I. Cohen were a part of this global Jewish community.

Ronnie Perelis is the Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Abraham and Jelena (Rachel) Alcalay Chair and Assistant Professor of Sephardic Studies at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies of Yeshiva University.

 

Marta Swiderska (left) and Olga Pressler (right), 1934, Oświęcim. Collection of the Auschwitz Jewish Center.

70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz Memorial Program

A Town Known As Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community

Speaker: Shiri Sandler, Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

Sunday, January 25, 1:00 pm

Program included with Museum admission

Co-sponsored by Baltimore Jewish Council

 

The town of Oświęcim – today in Poland – has been called by different names, in different languages, at different times. Though it has a long and varied history, the town is known for one thing: Auschwitz. Yet for centuries prior to World War II, Jews and non-Jews lived side by side in Oświęcim and called it home. Join Shiri B. Sandler, U.S. Director the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oświęcim, Poland, to gain insights into the history of the formerly Jewish town that has become known as the symbol of the Holocaust.

Shiri Sandler runs the AJC’s programming for American students, including Holocaust and ethics programming for US military students.

Image: Marta Swiderska (left) and Olga Pressler (right), 1934, Oświęcim. Collection of the Auschwitz Jewish Center.

 

 

February

Epoca_1902_IssueLadino, a language of the Jewish Diaspora

Speaker Dr. Adriana Brodsky, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Sunday, February 8, 1:00 pm

Program included with Museum admission

 

Explore Ladino, a Jewish language that developed in the wake of the expulsion of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492 as new Jewish communities settled in the Ottoman Empire. Professor Brodsky will introduce the history of this language, and present examples of the Ladino in early 20th Century America, as well as old and modern ladino songs.  Although many argue that Ladino is ‘dead,’ especially after the extermination of entire ladino-speaking Sephardi communities during the Holocaust, Brodsky argues that, in fact, this Jewish language is alive and well.

Adriana M. Brodsky, Associate Professor of Latin American History at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and has published on Sephardi schools in Argentina, and on Jewish Beauty Contests.

 

Audience Research Image - please use captionHelp Make a Museum: Audience Workshop for the Core Exhibition of DC’s New Jewish Museum

Sunday, February 8, 2:00 pm

Facilitator: Zachary Paul Levine, Curator, Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington

Program included with museum admission

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHSGW) has asked for our help as our neighbors in DC make plans for their new facility (projected opening 2020). As part of that process, they are coming to Baltimore to collect thoughts on stories for the new museum’s core exhibition.  This workshop will include a series of activities designed to get participants thinking, talking, and sharing their counsel for this new project.  Participants will look at a handful of objects and stories, and discuss how, together, they tell the unique story of Washington DC’s Jewish community.  Of course, we will be listening too – as we think about ideas to improve our own site at JMM.

Image: President Calvin Coolidge spoke during the cornerstone laying ceremony of the 16th and Q Street building on May 3, 1925. JHSGW Collections.

 

1024px-View_of_Baltimore_-_William_H._BartlettClimbing the Ladder of Success in a Nineteenth-Century Boomtown: The Cohen Family in Early Baltimore

Sunday, February 15th, 1:00 P.M.

Speaker: Tina Sheller, Goucher College

 

When Israel I. Cohen died in Richmond, Virginia in 1803, his wife, Judith, packed up her belongings and moved herself and her children to Baltimore.  Why Baltimore?  Early Baltimore was a bustling port town of merchants, shopkeepers, skilled craftsmen, workers, and slaves.  How did these groups contribute to the dynamic expansion of the city’s antebellum economy? Who were the people that populated the growing port town, and how did the Cohens and other Jewish families adapt to life in a city soon to be known as “Mobtown?”  All of these questions and more will be answered as we journey back in time to the era of Boomtown Baltimore.

Tina H. Sheller is an assistant professor of History at Goucher College where she teaches courses in American history and Historic Preservation.

 

Jew Bill imageHow Jews Entered American Politics: The Curious Case of Maryland’s “Jew Bill”

Sunday, February 22nd, 1 p.m.

Rafael Medoff, The David Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

 

During Maryland’s first decades, a “Christians Only” policy applied to those seeking public office. Dr. Rafael Medoff, a noted scholar of Jewish involvement in American politics, will take a candid look at the Maryland legislature’s debates in the early 1800s over political rights for Jews and other non-Christians –a controversy that sheds fascinating light on the process by which Jews entered the American political arena.

Dr. Rafael Medoff is the author of 15 books about American Jewish history, Zionism, and the Holocaust, including a textbook, Jewish Americans and Political Participation, which was named an “Outstanding Academic Title of 2003” by the American Library Association’s Choice Magazine.

 

More Programs

The JMM is pleased to share our campus with B’nai Israel Congregation. For additional information about B’nai Israel events and services for Shabbat, please visit bnaiisraelcongregation.org.  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit biyabaltimore.org or check out BIYA on facebook. www.facebook.com/groups/biyabaltimore

 

Exhibits

Exhibits currently on display include The A-mazing Mendes Cohen (on display through June 14, 2015), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks!

 

Hours and Tour Times

The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm.

Combination tours of the 1845 Lloyd Street Synagogue and the 1876 Synagogue Building now home to B’nai Israel are offered: Sunday through Thursday at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 2:00pm.  We will offer tours focused on the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Sunday through Thursday at 3:00pm and on Sunday at 4:00pm.  On November 9 we introduced a new Lloyd Street “1845: Technology and the Temple” tour at 3:00pm. This tour is available every Sunday and Monday at 3:00 until The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen closes in June 2014.

Please note that the JMM is open on MLK Day, Monday, January 19 from 10am-5pm.

 

Get Involved

The JMM is looking for volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or icohen@jewishmuseummd.org.

 

Membership 

Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families.

All members receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street.

Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. Memberships can be purchased online! http://jewishmuseummd.org/get-involved/museum-membership/ For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org.

 

Gift Shop

Baltimore is buzzing for our A-Mazing Mendes MUG! (and dishwasher safe!)

Baltimore is buzzing for our A-Mazing Mendes MUG! (and dishwasher safe!)

Mendes Cohen is A-Mazing in the Museum Shop!  We have Mazes for all ages, from the all-time favorite, the Labyrinth Game, to, yes, Chinese Checkers, to the Amaze Thinkfun game, and on and on!  Come in and checkout our Amazing Assortment, topped by the Mendes Cohen mug, designed just for this exhibition, complete with his image and flag of the period!

Gravi-1006-Thinkfun.HiResSpill

Members receive a 10% discount in our Amazing Museum Shop. We cheerfully gift wrap and mail your purchase for you.  The JMM directly benefits from all purchases made in our Museum Shop.

Money Maze Bank

For more information, call Esther Weiner, Museum Shop Manager, 410-732-6400, ext. 211 or email at eweiner@jewishmuseummd.org.

 

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Performance Counts December 2014: Top 10 Programs of 2014!

Posted on December 12th, 2014 by

2014 has been a busy year at the museum. In total, we have seen presented four different exhibits over the course of the last twelve months (Passages Through the Fire:  Jews and the American Civil WarProject Mah JonggElectrified Pickle and The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen).  This rich menu of offerings stimulated some great ranging from serious lectures to cotillions and concerts – on topics from Abe Lincoln to zombies.  I’ve asked Trillion Attwood to take a look back and give us a quick review of our ten top programs of the last year.  Just in case you missed a few, here are the highlights.

~Marvin
———————————————-

Thanks, Marvin.  We had so much fun with the program schedule this year that it was hard to pick out just 10 (we actually presented/will present more than 60 programs in 2014).  Here are my choices.  How many of these do you recall?

1. Kaddish For Lincoln with Harold Holzer
The Sadie B. Feldman Family Lecture
Sunday, February 23rd

We invited Harold Holzer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the JMM to deliver his talk Kaddish For Lincoln. The talk was a fascinating exploration of how the Jewish community mourned the passing of the 16th president and how his connection with the Jewish community passed into legend.  Prof. Holzer, a nationally respected Lincoln scholar, offered new insights on why this unlikely self-educated man became the beloved “Father Abraham” to so many American Jews.

2. The Jews of Shanghai with Rabbi Marvin Tokayer
The Eighth Annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration 
Sunday, May 18th 

The Eighth Annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration focused on the plight of European refugees in China in WWII.  Rabbi Marvin Tokayer provided incredibly vivid descriptions of what life was like for thousands of people living in limbo in a land with few shared customs and culture.  He kept the large audience at Baltimore Hebrew Synagogue on the edge of its seat. We were especially excited to welcome a number of former Jewish Shanghai residents to the event.


3. The Future of American Jewry with Professor Leonard Saxe
Annual Meeting 
Sunday, June 1st

The Annual Meeting, when we welcome our new board members and thank those who are leaving, is always an important event in our programs calendar. This year we also welcomed to the museum Professor Leonard Saxe of Brandeis University to present his keynote lecture The Future of American Jewry, which is based upon the recent findings by the Pew Report. This fascinating talk presented a much more optimistic view than anticipated by many based upon the initial report findings.

4. Annual Volunteer appreciation event featuring Our Volunteers
Friday, June 6th

Each year, we hold a number of events for our volunteers, and this year our volunteer appreciation lunch was held at the National Electronics Museum. We all had an opportunity to explore the museum that would be our partner institution for the then upcoming exhibit The Electrified Pickle. We were taken on a guided tour by Alice Donahue, the Assistant Director, who was able to highlight some of the most important parts of the collection.  I know that some of you may be thinking I’m cheating a bit to put this on the list, because only volunteers could attend this great event – and you are not a volunteer.  Well give us a call and we can fix that!

5. Mah Jongg: More than Just a Game of Chance with Dr. Robert Mintz
Sunday, June 8th

Project Mah Jongg brought a new audience to the Museum. We were surrounded by the sounds of tiles clicking for three months, and some of us even managed to learn the game ourselves. Our most popular program in connection with the exhibit was the presentation by Dr. Robert Mintz of the Walters Art Museum. Dr. Mintz discussed the art of the game and the significance and history of the images on those tiny tiles.  Even the most experienced Mah Jongg aficionados found new details about the design and history of the game that they had never thought to ask.

6. Imagine This! featuring Jennifer George (Rube Goldberg’s granddaughter) and a team of robots
Sunday, August 3rd

For five weeks over the summer we featured a different tech related theme each week as part of The Electrified Pickle.  I learned so much on each of these Sundays and we had such great volunteers from the Jewish tech community that it was hard to pick just one.  But I believe I have a special passion for Imagine This!, in which we explored the world of tomorrow. The museum was overrun with robots of all shapes and sizes, including one that was able to play giant Jenga with our visitors!
On the same day, we were also very excited to welcome Jennifer George to speak about her grandfather, Rube Goldberg,  and some of his crazy inventions.  The talk had some of the funniest bits we put on all year, thanks to Mr. Goldberg’s marvelous cartoons and some of the videos that professionals and amateurs made in homage to his art.

7. Where are all the Jewish Zombies with Prof. Arnold Blumberg 
Free Fall Baltimore
Sunday, October 26th

We participated again this year in Free Fall Baltimore. It has been a great success in the past, and this year proved no different. As with previous years, we saw plenty of new faces which is always a great sign. We invited Arnold T. Blumberg to speak, and he  delivered a great talk titled Where are all the Jewish Zombies?  The focus was on the story of the “golem” through its many twists and turns in Jewish history.  We couldn’t resist the opportunity for a little horror so close to Halloween!

8. Profiles in American Jewish Courage with Dr. Gary Zola
Synagogue Night 
Thursday, November 6th 

It was a very significant night for us when we marked the 50th Anniversary of the re-dedication of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. This special event was attended by lay and religious leaders from our local community. We were honored to welcome Dr. Gary Zola, Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives, to present his keynote lecture, Profiles in American Jewish Courage.  Dr. Zola tied his stories of three exceptionally brave activists of the 19th and 20th century to their contemporaries here in Baltimore.

9. Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights 
Sunday, December 7th

Our most successful family program of the year was this past Sunday, when we welcomed Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights to the museum for a Chanukah concert. Families had a wonderful time singing along and dancing. Freeze Dance proved to be one of the most popular songs of the entire concert, getting everyone up on their feet!
The performance was part of our Downtown Dollar Day program which, in total, drew 190 people to the museum in just one day!

10. Early Jewish Baltimore with Gil Sandler
Mitzvah Day
Thursday, December 25th  

So far we have had a great year with some wonderful programs, but we are not finished yet! We still have several great programs left, including our Jewish Book Festival on Sunday, December 14th and Mitzvah Day on Thursday, December 25th. We are especially excited to be welcoming back to the museum noted local historian Gil Sandler on December 25th.
This has been a great year to be at the museum, and I have had a wonderful time planning such a range of events. I hope you enjoyed attending them and are looking forward to another year of great programs!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




JMM Insights: November 2014

Posted on November 21st, 2014 by

This week’s edition of JMM Insights highlights the work of two of our volunteers, Martin Buckman and Vera Kestenberg, who have been diligently compiling a database of Jewish Times birth records. This important genealogical resource can be accessed from the JMM website along with other important databases such as burial listings and circumcision and midwife records.

Marty and Vera have been working on an ongoing project that lists all births that were announced in The Baltimore Jewish Times starting with the March 1928 edition. From these newborn notices, they have created a database that now contains pertinent information about more than 10,000 births. It should be noted that while this database is not a complete record of all the births that occurred within the greater Baltimore Jewish community (because not all new arrivals were routinely reported to The BJT) it is probably a good representation.

We are thrilled to report that the database has surpassed 10,000 listed births, a major accomplishment. In recognition of this important milestone, I asked Marty and Vera to share some insights that they have learned from their work on this project and here are some of their thoughts regarding the popularity of names:

Marty & Vera

Marty & Vera

Marty Buckman:

I thought it would be interesting to learn which given names were the most popular in the Baltimore Jewish community during three distinct eras: the initial period of 1928 through 1941; the World War II years of 1942 through 1945; and the post-war years from 1946 through 1954.

The ten most popular female names from the 14-year era beginning in 1928 were (in descending order) Barbara, Elaine, Phyllis, Judith, Beverly, Lois, Harriett, Marcia, Ruth and Linda. The list of favorite male names was headed by Howard, David, Stanley, Robert, Louis, Barry, Edward, Richard, Joseph, Marvin, and Stuart or Stewart. Most of the reported hospital births took place at Sinai Hospital; to a much lesser degree, Women’s Hospital, University Hospital, Church Home and West Baltimore General Hospital followed.

During the four war years 1942 through 1945, Barbara was still the leading female name but the rest of the list changed somewhat to follow with Harriet, Susan, Linda, Ellen, Judith, and Marcia or Marsha. For the males, David moved to the top of a list that was sprinkled with some newcomers- Alan, Stephen or Steven, Michael, Richard, Barry, Howard, Robert, Harvey and Ronald. The top three hospitals remained the same: Sinai, Women’s, and University followed by Franklin Square and West Baltimore General.

After World War II, from 1946 through 1954, Susan rose to the top to become the favorite female name, followed by Barbara, Judith, Linda, Deborah or Debra, Ellen, Sharon, Nancy and Carol or Carole. Male names were dominated by Stephen or Steven, followed by Mark or Marc, Alan or Allan or Allen, Michael, David, Robert, Richard, Jeffrey, and Howard. Sinai and Women’s remained the favorite hospitals, followed by West Baltimore General which became Lutheran Hospital , University and Johns Hopkins.

When we reach our 15,000th name, we will take another look at our database to see if and how preferences have changed.

Additional Comment by Vera Kestenberg:

One interesting thing to note is that many announcements do not list the mother’s name, just Mr. and Mrs. (husband’s first name followed by last name). It gives the appearance that the mothers have nothing to do with the birth!

 

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