Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekly Report 12.11.09

Dear Friends,

The arrival of Hanukkah this evening reminds us that autumn is coming to a close and winter is about to begin. Before we go into seasonal mode, however, we have been very active in preparing for our 50th Anniversary programs and events. Here is a report on current activities:

LEADERSHIP: On Tuesday 8 December, we hosted a lively crowd at our monthly Leadership Luncheon: Deborah Adler, executive of the Howard County Jewish Federation; community leader Katie Applefeld; Irene Hoffman, director of the Contemporary Museum; JHU Hillel director Rabbi Debbie Pines; community activist Leonard Schleider; and Randi Vega, program officer of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA). JMM President David Liebman welcomed our guests, and animated conversation ensued. Our thanks to all the participants.

PRESS AND MEDIA: On Sunday morning, 13 December, WJZ- Channel 13 will be on-site at the Museum for two live spots focusing on Hanukkah. An article just appeared in the Sun on Hanukkah in East Baltimore. The complete article can be viewed at:,0,7255046.story. Kudos to Marketing Director Simone Ellin for her success in promoting the Museum.

KUDOS: On Tuesday evening 8 December, our new initiative, Student Immigration Stories, headed the agenda of the Baltimore City Pubic Schools Board meeting. This compelling program was funded by the Frank and Helen Risch Endowment at THE ASSOCIATED.

Education Director Deborah Cardin, Program Director Ilene Dackman-Alon, storyteller Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff, Ms. Franklin and Ms. D’Anna (teacher and principal at Patterson High School), and Therese Kapange, a student storyteller from Patterson, attended the meeting. Ilene gave opening remarks about the project and Jennifer gave brief closing remarks. Therese spoke for five minutes to an attentive audience, receiving praise for her courage in making and describing her journey to a new life in America. After the presentation, Luke Dillon and Michael Sarbanes, Director of Communication at BCPS, expressed appreciation for the project. The program is highlighted on BCPS Channel 77

PROGRAMS: On Sunday 6 December, students and parents participating in the Lessons of the Shoah (our high school interfaith initiative) met at the Basilica of Baltimore for a session exploring aspects of the Catholic faith. We received an in-depth tour of the Basilica from docent Don Henderson (who is also a staff facilitator of the program). A highlight of the visit was the opportunity to meet with Cardinal Keeler who made a special visit to the Basilica to greet the group and to discuss his work promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperation. The visit ended with small group discussions as Catholic students shared their personal experiences of growing up in the Catholic faith.

On Monday 7 December, approximately 60 people--students, faculty, area educators, survivors, and community members--heard an intriguing, thought-provoking presentation, “The Phenomena of Holocaust Denial and the New Antisemitism” by Ephraim Kaye, director of International Seminars for Educators at Yad Vashem, Israel. This successful program marked the first collaboration between The Jewish Museum of Maryland and the Baltimore Hebrew Institute (formerly Baltimore Hebrew University) at Towson University.

EDUCATION: On Sunday 6 December, about 30 elementary students from Beit Tikvah and their parents toured the Museum and participated in activities from the Paving Our Way: Early Maryland Jewish Life 1632 - 1845 educational resource kit. On Tuesday 8 December, a group of Israeli teens made their annual visit to the Museum courtesy of the Bronfman Foundation in New York. On Thursday, nearly 50 1st graders from Federal Hill Prep (Baltimore City Public School) participated in the Introduction to Judaism program, toured Voices of Lombard Street with a scavenger hunt, and enjoyed a great cooking presentation by Esther Weiner on latkes and Chanukah. On Friday, about 40 high school students from an ESOL (English as a Second Language) class at Patterson High School (Baltimore City Public School) toured the Museum. Their tour is in conjunction with the recent initiative: Coming to America: Student Immigration Stories. Also on Friday, Ilene went to Temple Emanuel Early Learning Center and did an outreach program, the Leo Berger’s Immigrant’s Trunk for the preschool.

STAFF ACTIVITIES: The LSS exhibition team went over to St. Alphonsus (successor congregation to St. John’s) for research. On Monday, Jobi, Karen and Jenn installed a Hanukkah display at City Hall; the JMM will also have a Hanukkah display at the Baltimore Visitor Center again this year. Also on Monday, Ilene Dackman-Alon met with Rabbi Dovid Katz, Edward Hoffman, and David Liebman to discuss possible programming for the upcoming year, and the collections staff met to review possible accessions to the Museum’s collections.

On Wednesday, Karen Falk attended a presentation in the Sant Oceans Hall at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian) on museum applications of Sony’s new 3D film technology. Lauren Silberman and Simone Ellin attended a meeting on social marketing at THE ASSOCIATED on Thursday. Also on Thursday, Karen Falk and Susan Vick, curator of the Goldsmith Museum at Chizuk Amuno, visited two exhibitions of Judaica in New York, as part of their research for the Object Lessons exhibit of Judaica.

This week we welcomed a new intern, Charlotte Knight, who began work on Wednesday in the collections department. Charlotte holds a BA in Art History (minor in Anthropology) from Rutgers University and is new to Maryland. She has previously worked at Acorn Hall, a historic house museum, in Morristown, NJ. Heather Besch wrapped up her internship with us on Friday; she starts a full-time job as a Teacher’s Aide next week. Our thanks and best wishes go with her. Intern Nicole Paterson continued work on The Synagogue Speaks archaeology component, contributed cataloging information on the artifacts excavated from the mikveh complex within the LSS, and developed a timeline for the changes to the mikveh structure. Development Coordinator Mindy Glaser McShane responded to a call from a gentleman who asked for a definition of “putz,” having heard the word in the film, Blazing Saddles!

Best wishes to everyone for a delightful fall weekend, a peaceful Shabbat, and a joyous Hanukkah festival!


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