Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekly Report 11.13.09

Dear Friends,

We continue to have very busy and productive work weeks at the Museum. Here are a few of the highlights:

PROGRAMS: The Steering Committee for Lloyd Street Synagogue Re-Opening, chaired by JMM vice President Jerry Doctrow, met with Deborah Cardin and Simone Ellin on Friday 13 November to develop plans for the LSS public opening and a VIP event at LSS. These twin programs will mark the kick-off of the Museum's 50th Anniversary year.

On Tuesday, the JMM program Committee, chaired by Carol Glusman, convened at the PH JCC to resume discussion about enhancement to the visitor experience. This was, as always, a lively and substantial conversation.

Actress Katherine Lyons performed for Covenant Guild, Inc., at their annual Membership Dinner, as Ida Rehr in The Leo V. Berger Immigrant's Trunk. Her very moving portrayal was very much appreciated by the audience.

On Sunday 8 November, the Sisterhood of B'nai Israel Congregation listened to JMM Research Historian & Family History Coordinator Deb Weiner present a Speakers Bureau presentation, sponsored by Attman's Delicatessen, about "Women in the Family Business." The talk touched on three Baltimore Jewish Women who were at the forefront of their family businesses: Rose Shanis of Rose Shanis Loans, Min Shavitz of Nates & Leon's Resturant, and Dora Silber of Silber's Bakery.

LEADERSHIP LUNCHEON: On Monday 9 November, JMM Trustee Larry Kamanitz hosted community leader Gail Bendit; Jim Blum, a long-time member and supporter; Greg Cantori, director of the Knott Foundation; Dr. Adam Gregerman, resident scholar at the Institute for Jewish and Christian Studies; and community leader Glenn Weinberg. As usual, conversation was lively and engaged. We thank our guests for an enjoyable visit.

VISITORS: On Sunday 8 November, the Museum hosted four Jewish congregations from a variety of geographic locations: Baltimore Hebrew, who brought their 6th graders; Temple Rodef Shalom from Virginia who brought their 7th graders; Temple B'nai Israel of Easton, Maryland who brought a range of ages; and Temple Sinai from Washington, DC, who brought a group of adults. On Thursday 12 November, Independence High School (Baltimore City Public School) brought another group of 9th graders to tour the Museum, while on Friday, a group of 5th graders from Patapsco Elementary (Baltimore City Public School) watched the Leo V. Berger Immigrant's Trunk before participating in Introduction to Judaism and Voices of Lombard Street programs.

EDUCATION: On Tuesday 10 November, the JMM was invited to participate in a full-day World War II-themed educational program at the Maryland Historical Society. More than 100 Baltimore City high school students (participating schools included Northwestern High School, Mergenthaler Vocational Tech, Forest Park High School, and Poly) spent the day exploring aspects of WWII and the Holocaust. In the morning, students had the opportunity to listen to personal testimony from Holocaust survivor Rubin Sztajer and WW II US Army veteran Sol Goldstein who participated in the liberation of Buchenwald. In the afternoon, the group split up to take part in a variety of activities. One of the groups participated in a Lives Lost, Lives Found photograph exploration activity facilitated by JMM education staff. Many thanks to Naomi Coquillon of the MdHS and Amy Rosenkrans of Baltimore City Public Schools for including us in this program.

On Wednesday 11 November, we held our first session of the
Lessons of the Shoah high school interfaith initiative. Fr. Robert Albright and Rabbi Geoff Basik jointly provided a brief overview of the history of Judaism and Christianity, as they explored the Parting of the Way and how centuries of anti-Jewish discrimination promulgated by the Catholic church provides context for the Holocaust and the Nazis' antisemitic doctrine.

COLLECTIONS: Archivist Jennifer Vess reports that our inventory of archives and manuscripts has reached the 87.8% completion point; this long-term effort is part of the continuous process of raising standards in collections management by giving us greater intellectual control of our historical resources. Intern Heather Besch completed a draft transcription of Allan Hirsh II's oral history interview.

Collections volunteer Debbie Farthing named and photographed our mannequins on Wednesday, and on Thursday Collections Manager Jobi Zink added the records and photos to our database, as part of our effort to track exhibition display material. Jobi also compiled a list of audio tapes from the institutional archives and added those to the database

STAFF ACTIVITIES: We welcome Nicole Paterson, who started an internship in the Collections Department on Thursday. Nicole will receive her MA in Historical Studies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County next month. At the Museum, she will help develop hands-on archaeology activities for The Synagogue Speaks exhibition.

Rachel Kassman organized a JMM table for the Jewish Health, Wealth and Lifestyle Expo in Pikesville this coming Sunday. Be sure to stop by and visit! On Tuesday 10 November, volunteer Robyn Hughes brought Dr. Linda Lee to the Museum to meet with the Education and Program departments to discuss the possibility of the Museum hosting a chess tournament for Baltimore City Public School students in the spring.

On Monday, Ilene Dackman-Alon attended an International Month Celebration sponsored by MSDE in Annapolis. Education leaders from around the State of Maryland and three countries celebrated International Education Month during the kick-off event that showcased international curricular programs and teacher exchanges in fine arts, social studies, and world languages. Storyteller Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff and our three storytellers from the JMM's latest educational initiative
Student Immigration Stories, shared stories of their recent immigration experiences. Ilene also attended a meeting with representatives from The Jewish Salons, an international network that addresses Jewish identity through arts and culture. Currently, this project is being done in cities Amsterdam, Mexico City, Vienna, Budapest and Tel Aviv. The salons network connects young Jews from different communities by co-producing community events that present contemporary international Jewish culture.

On Tuesday. Anita Kassof and I met with Trustee Lee Rosenberg and architect John Srygley to discuss plans for the Museum's future expansion. Meanwhile, Rachel Kassman and Jennifer Vess are organizing a steering committee for the 2010 Purim Pandemonium, our annual young adult extravaganza.

Karen Falk, Deb Weiner, and Heather Besch were out at Trader Joe's in Pikesville this week, running a pilot for a video interview project we are calling
Stories We Live By as part of the preparation for a training session next week with Dr. Jayne Guberman, a consultant on oral history.

Lots of other, ongoing activities took place, as well. I hope that everyone enjoys a peaceful Sabbath and a brisk, but clear fall weekend. Best to one and all.


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