JMM Insights: New Kids on the Block

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by

JMM has always prided itself on its small, dedicated team of outstanding professionals.  It’s amazing what a dozen people can do, when you have great talent supported by strong volunteers and lay leadership.

This month has brought two new members to the team to existing/future vacancies.  I thought that we’d use this issue of JMM Insights to introduce Tracie Guy-Decker, our new Associate Director for Projects, Planning and Finance, and Graham Humphrey who will replace Abby Krolik as Visitor Services Manager.  I am really excited to have Tracie and Graham on board and I know you will join me in welcoming them into our family.  I have asked them both to tell a bit of their own stories.


From Tracie

My great great grandmother, Dora Bachrach Fink, was a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation when it was in the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Now that I am Associate Director at JMM, every day, I sit at a computer that is but yards from the place my ancestors worshipped more than a century ago. Working for JMM is also a homecoming for me professionally—a return to working with and for the Jewish community. (I served as the Marketing Director for the Jewish Federation and the JCC in Virginia Beach until my husband, a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy, received orders that moved us to Maryland.)

Tracie and Dave NAVY

Tracie and her husband Dave.

This is an exciting time for JMM, and I’m honored and humbled to be able to be a part of it. My colleagues are smart, funny, capable professionals, and under Marvin’s leadership the Museum is on a trajectory to become a center for Jewish and secular history and culture in Baltimore—not tomorrow, but soon. I’m excited to lend my skills, expertise, and experience to that trajectory (and to learn new skills along the way!). I’m also excited to be able to share this amazing resource with my daughter, Ruth (3 years old). The Museum family will watch Ruth and the Museum grow together over the next several years.

Ruth enjoying the rocket seats at Patterson Park

Ruth enjoying the rocket seats at Patterson Park

I’m also heartened by the welcome I’ve received from all of the friends of the Museum thus far—professionals, lay leaders, volunteers, members, and visitors have all been amazingly friendly and helpful as I learn my way around (literally and figuratively). I’d love the opportunity to reciprocate that welcome: if you’re in the Museum, please stop by. You can tell me your story of the Museum or the Lloyd Street Synagogue, we could play “Jewish Geography,” or just say ‘hi,’ I’m here Monday through Thursday, and will never turn down a cup of coffee.

From Graham

Hello! My name is Graham Humphrey and I was recently hired to be the new Visitor Services Coordinator to replace Abby Krolik after she leaves the Museum at the end of the month to continue her studies. I received my MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and my BA from Brandeis University in Art History. For the past seven years, I have been working at museums, aboard sailboats and at National Park sites in visitor services, education, development and collections management. I have gotten to lead experiential education programs while dressed up in period costume at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, teach basic seamanship to students aboard the schooner the Lady Maryland and work with goats at the Carl Sandburg Home in North Carolina. In my free time, I enjoy visiting other museums and historic sites, exploring the great outdoors, attending cultural events and staying involved within the Jewish community.



I am excited about continuing to make the Jewish Museum a welcoming environment and to ensure that visitors have a rewarding experience. I also hope to encourage public discourse about contemporary issues, explore how we can engage new audiences as well as serve as agents for social change in our community.

Marvin’s note:  We don’t plan I having Graham work with goats… but a “Jewish pirates sail”, well who knows what is possible.

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JMM Insights: Dear Abby

Posted on April 17th, 2015 by

Dear Abby,

I have a fixed lunch date on Sunday afternoons at 1pm with my machatonim (in-laws). As much as we—or at least I—would much rather come to the JMM for one of your many, fabulous lectures and programs at that time, skipping these lunches is just not a negotiable matter. Sadly, it seems that all of your programs are at 1pm on Sundays. It’s very frustrating! Can’t you ever have them at a different time or day?


Filial Obligations

Dear Filial Obligations,

The good news is that we do, in fact, offer public programming at times other than 1pm on a Sunday afternoon. The bad news is that, yes, the majority of our programs do take place on Sunday afternoons because we’ve consistently gotten the best attendance at those programs. It’s probably because they are on a weekend afternoon when people are likely to want to do something fun downtown.

However, we do periodically host events at other times, including our quarterly Late Night on Lloyd Street events, which are typically on Wednesday or Thursday evenings, from 6pm-9pm. We even have a lecture coming up on May 7th that everyone should mark on their calendars! This is the Sadie B. Feldman lecture; we present this lecture annually, and this year it features professor of History and Jewish Studies, Pam Nadell, who will speak about the lives of early Jewish American women such as Judith Cohen (Mendes Cohen’s mother).

Also, this summer we will host several outdoor movie screenings in our back lot in conjunction with the upcoming exhibit, Cinema Judaica. More information about that will be arriving in the next few months—so stay tuned, folks!

Best Wishes,




Dear Abby,

Hypothetically speaking, if an extremely wealthy person were to be inspired by a few ghostly visions of the past and future—which demonstrated to said person the errors of his or her miserly and uncharitable ways—to donate a vast fortune to the JMM, how would that person go about it?

Thank you for your assistance.


Asking for a “Friend”


Dear Asking for a “Friend,”

Hypothetically speaking, if a person were to decide to donate any sum of money to the Jewish Museum of Maryland, that person should speak to Sue Foard, our administrative assistant who handles monetary donations (not to be confused with Joanna Church, our collections manager, who handles object donations). Sue will be happy to lead you through the process.

Thank you very much for your generosity! As a relatively small non-profit organization, we appreciate any gift, small or “vast”!

Best Wishes,



Dear Abby,

I read in one of your earlier columns that you answered the question of how to schedule an adult group tour (6/21/14 “The Fairest Housekeeper of Them All”); could you tell me how do I arrange a visit for my students?

I’m a very unconventional, hands-on kind of educator. I prefer for my students to really get inside the subject that we’re learning—whether it’s the digestive system or outer space, I make sure my students have a magical learning experience! I’ve heard from other teachers that the JMM has a similar approach to learning, and I’d love to learn more about what my students can do at your museum.

Is it true that you can offer transportation to and from the museum to school groups? If it is, then that’s a very generous offer, but thankfully, I have my own trusty school bus that we use for everything. How much is the admission for school groups? Is there a minimum or maximum for how many students I can bring?


The Teacher with the Magic School Bus

Come down for a visit!

Come down for a visit!

Dear Magic School Bus,

We would love for you to bring your students to the JMM, and I’m sure we can find activities that will complement their studies in a very immersive way! It’s true that our Education Department prides itself on developing educational programming that builds multiple, core skills while also teaching content. For example, students from 2nd to 8th grade can put on their archaeologist’s hats while learning about the early history of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Many—if not most—of our exhibit activities involve practicing critical thinking skills that are easily adapted for different grades and abilities.

To schedule a group visit, you will need to contact our Visitor Services Coordinator, who is in charge of the museum’s calendar. She will tell you which dates and activities are available to you—it’s best to contact her at least three weeks in advance. It helps if you describe what it is your students are currently studying, so we can find the best match of activities that will deepen your students’ knowledge and their museum experience.

The maximum number of students that we can accommodate at one time is 55. If you have 100 students, this means that we could, potentially, serve 50 of them in the morning and 50 in the afternoon. We require that each group have at least one adult chaperone (a teacher, a parent, etc.) per ten students.

For private schools, we charge only $2 per student and $3 per non-teacher chaperone. Teachers accompanying school groups to the Museum are always free!

For all Maryland public K-12 schools, we are happy to waive the admission fee and to provide up to one free school bus (which typically holds 44 passengers). We know this makes a big difference for many public schools. For schools that are coming from farther away than Baltimore County, we ask that the teacher find a bus charter company that is local to their area, and we will still pay for it.

Once you have scheduled a visit with the Visitor Services Coordinator, she will send you a confirmation form to fill out and return as soon as possible. Then, two business days before the scheduled field trip, each teacher is required to contact the JMM—by phone or email—to confirm the number of students and chaperones coming. This may sound redundant, but it is really helpful for us to have a final head count ahead of the visit! The numbers almost always change between the time of booking and the visit itself, and we need to know how many educators and materials we need for the group. We also need to know that the school group is prepared with the right number of chaperones.

I look forward to speaking with you in more detail about bringing your class on a field trip here!

Best Wishes,






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JMM Insights: The Silver Screen

Posted on March 20th, 2015 by

Oscar season may be over but we’ve still got movies on our mind here at the JMM. Beginning this spring with our partnership with the Baltimore Jewish Film Festival to a new summer exhibition, the silver screen is making a big appearance here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.


Herbert M. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration

First off, we are pleased to announce the Ninth Annual Herbert M. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration which will be presented in special partnership with the William and Irene Weinberg Family Baltimore Jewish Film Festival (which begins this Sunday, March 22nd – see below for more details).  This year’s Risch program includes the Maryland Premiere of the film Stateless and a talk with the film’s director Michael Drob.



In the late 1980’s, on the brink of the collapse of the Soviet Union, tens of thousands of Soviet Jews were finally allowed to leave the USSR. What these people did not expect was that their final destination, America, no longer welcomed them with open arms. In 1988, American policy suddenly changed and thousands of Soviet Jews were stranded in Italy.

Stateless relies on firsthand accounts from these émigrés, exploring the difficulty of deciding to leave, the discrimination faced, and the consequences of both.

The film and talk will be held on Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 3:00pm. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

Support for the Risch Memorial Program is provided by Frank and Helen Risch through the Risch Memorial Endowment Fund at THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

You can read a little about last year’s Risch program here.
Baltimore Jewish Film Festival
This weekend marks the opening of the William and Irene Weinberg Family’s 27th annual Baltimore Jewish Film Festival! This year’s festival includes eleven films from six different countries. As described in the Jewish Times: Themes this year, both meaty and provocative, tackle Israeli/Palestinian relations and delve into modern Israeli culture … and explore the Holocaust and its aftermath. Several evenings feature after-film question-and-answer sessions with guest speakers and filmmakers [read more from this article.]

With such a diverse slate of films, there is sure to be something for everyone.  The festival begins March 22 and runs through April 28th. You can view trailers for each film and get the whole schedule for the festival over at their website HERE. All films will be screened at the Peggy and Yale Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Avenue, Owings Mills, MD 21117. Contact Danielle Feinstein at / 410.500.5909

Still from Run Boy Run, screening April 20th at 7:30pm.

Still from Run Boy Run, screening April 20th at 7:30pm.

Cinema Judaica

catalog cover 400dpi no author

Cinema Judaica catalog

We are thrilled to announce our next exhibit: Cinema Judaica, opening on July 1, 2015. Cinema Judaica was created by Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. This is an unprecedented exhibit of iconic Hollywood film posters and memorabilia from 1939 to 1971 and contains more than 100 original motion picture posters, movie stills and trade announcements. The exhibit highlights the connections between American Jews and the motion picture industry as well as how films from this time period shaped public opinion issues of importance to the Jewish community such as World War II and the establishment of the State of Israel.

Our program staff has been working hard to organize a dynamic and engaging series of related programming. As part of the opening festivities we welcome exhibit curator Ken Sutak, who will be speaking on the evening of July 2nd. Later in July we will host historian Amy Davis, who will speak on the historic movie houses of Baltimore, many of which were owned by Jewish families. In August we will present “Cinema Sundays on the Backlot,” an outdoor film series here at the Museum, located in our “backlot” i.e. our fabulous parking lot. These film showings will be free to the public.

Help Us “Make It Maryland!”
In addition to the movie posters and advertisements that make up the Cinema Judaica exhibit borrowed from Hebrew Union College, the JMM will add material that explores how Maryland Jews experienced Hollywood movies from this time period. The experience of going to the movies is as much a part of this exhibit as the movies themselves, and we’d love to include your memories and stories.

small 4 Gentlemans Agreement

Movie poster

Do you remember watching “Gentleman’s Agreement” or “Ben-Hur” when they first came out?  Visiting your favorite neighborhood movie theater every week? Discussing “Son of Liberty,” “The Search,” or “Exodus” with your family, friends, or youth group?  If you are interested in sharing your stories and related memorabilia, please contact Joanna Church, Collections Manager, at or 410-732-6400 x226.

Cinema Judaica will be on display at the Jewish Museum of Maryland from July 1 to September 6, 2015


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