Volunteer Spotlight on: Warren Clayman
Warren Clayman is a Diversity Consultant. As such, he was invited to a Leadership Luncheon at the JMM in 2008. What he learned about the Museum that day convinced him that it would be a good place to volunteer. The blend of his professional skills and his interest in Judaism were a good combination of qualities that resulted in him becoming a Museum Docent. His family emigrated from Russia to Ohio. His grandfather was a rag merchant who traveled to Hagerstown and Frederick, Maryland. He has always been impressed with the courage of immigrants, especially with the fact that they preserved their religion in their new home and established synagogues like the Lloyd Street Synagogue.
Before coming to the JMM, Warren was a Director of Planning with HUD in Baltimore. While working in the neighborhood in the 1970’s he noticed the Lloyd Street Synagogue, and watched the renovation of the building years later. He currently works in Workforce Diversity. He works with corporations to ensure ethnic and civil rights. He enjoys traveling around the country and partners with a person of color, to give his work legitimacy. He still likes walking around the neighborhood and often does so between his scheduled tours. While traveling, he likes to visit Jewish museums and synagogues.
His favorite aspect of volunteering at the JMM is meeting the fascinating visitors. He recalls people who came from as near as the Baltimore Convention Center, to the Caribbean Islands, from Russia, and in particular an Asian woman who had a Jewish boyfriend and wanted to learn about his religion. One group of Russian immigrants came with an interpreter. He understood that the Jewish religion had passed a lot of the visitor’s right by but they seemed fascinated nonetheless. When he opened the ark in the Lloyd Street Synagogue, two visitors ran up and had tears in their eyes as they looked at the Torah’s up close. He endeavors to focus each tour on the relationship of the visitors to the synagogues, in a warm and friendly way. He learns as much as he can about their connection (or not) with Judaism and sets the tone of the tour from that. He says it has been a great volunteer experience so far. His favorite part of Docent training is getting to know the other volunteers and the staff of the JMM. He recalls the storytelling sessions facilitated by Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff as a “phenomenal” experience.
A blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.