Friday, January 22, 2010

Weekly Report 1.22.10

Dear Friends,

Things are heating up here at the Museum in preparation for our 50th Anniversary. Fabrication and media production for our new core exhibition, The Synagogue Speaks, is moving along; preparations for the re-opening of Lloyd Street Synagogue are moving along; and we are making good progress on several of our special Anniversary initiatives. Details on these 50th Anniversary events will be coming weekly in this report, and also in our newsletter, e-blasts, and fliers! Please stay tuned. In the meanwhile, here are some updates on a range of current activities:

LEADERSHIP: We were delighted to host a lively crowd at our January Leadership Luncheon. Trustee Larry Kamanitz welcomed Robert Bogolmony, president of the University of Baltimore; Matthew Melnick, a commercial real estate broker; Al Saval, retired CEO of Saval Foods; and Bill Lewis, a former scholastic athletics director and summer camp administrator. As usual, the conversation was animated and engaged. Lunch was followed by a behind-the-scenes tour and a sneak preview of the restored Lloyd Street Synagogue. Our thanks to Larry and to our distinguished guests.

The JMM Executive Committee met on Monday to review a report on our governance and administration, to consider initial ideas for our FY11 operating budget, and to discuss progress on our 50th Anniversary activities. The meeting, chaired by Vice President Jerry Doctrow, was-as usual-lively and engaged.

SPECIAL GUESTS: Johns Hopkins professor Rob Gamble brought his freshman class for a tour of the Museum on Wednesday. Deb Weiner and Anita Kassof introduced them to the Voices of Lombard Street exhibition. Afterwards, Prof. Gamble wrote: "We very much enjoyed the museum as a whole, and I personally thought the Voices of Lombard Street was fantastic. (I had one student from Manhattan's Lower East Side who was struck by the similarities and differences with her neighborhood.)"

On Sunday, Ilene Dackman-Alon staffed a bris rental-Jacob Harry Blecker was born on Friday 11 January. Mazel Tov to parents Dr. Saul Blecker and Nina Rabinovitch Blecker, along with big sister, Joey Blecker, who regularly attends our Tot Shabbat programs co-sponsored with the JCC. Following the bris, Ilene welcomed the Downtown Jewish Family Network to the JMM, where children and their parents learned about Jewish life a long time ago and we engaged in our Living History Program - Paving Our Way. Downtown families participated in activities, playing the board game, Are We There Yet, practiced making silhouettes, and tried writing with ink and a quill pens.

On Tuesday, Beth Ami brought 20 adult learners to tour the Museum. The following day, Glen Meadows, a senior retirement center from Glen Arm, MD, brought a group to tour the synagogues and exhibits. On Thursday morning, a group of 18 6th graders from Graceland Park (Baltimore City Public School) participated in the Introduction to Judaism program and enjoyed a scavenger hunt in Voices of Lombard Street.

On Friday, the JCC and JMM partnered for a Tot Shabbat program geared for downtown families of very young children. Participants listened to a Shabbat Story, sang and danced to Shabbat songs, and finished the morning with a juice and challah snack. These Tot Shabbat programs are part of the JCC's program, "JCC Beyond the Borders," supported by the The Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education.

OUTREACH: On Tuesday, 60 residents of Atrium Village were fascinated by JMM Research Historian Deb Weiner's presentation on Coal Field Jews. Her stories of Jewish life of in the small mining towns of West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky were presented for the JMM Speakers Bureau, sponsored by Attman's Delicatessen. Deb's presentation was based on her award winning book of the same title.

MUSEUM SHOP: Esther Weiner has completed the Museum Shop's transition from Chanukah to Purim and Passover. Check out the newest items and add something bright, new and different to your holiday table this year-don't forget a 'little something' for your host or hostess for Seder! Reminder, JMM members receive a 10% discount on shop purchases.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Thursday evening, Lauren Silberman led a teacher training workshop for Baltimore City public school teachers at Mt. Royal Intermediate on the Museum's Introduction to Judaism program.

On 28 January, 8:30am to 3:30pm, the JMM and the BJC will jointly sponsor a Teacher-Training Workshop on Anne Frank and Beyond: Using Diaries to Teach about the Holocaust with Christina Chavarria of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. To register contact or 410-542-4850.

STAFF ACTIVITIES: In my recent review of volunteers and interns working at the Museum, I inadvertently left out Bobbie Hurwitz, who enters collections information and Rose Cohen, who translates materials in our collections. Our thanks to them both.

Deborah Cardin, Jeanette Parmigiani, and Lauren Silberman met with Marcie Taylor-Thoma and Donna Olszewski from the Maryland State Department of Education to begin planning our 6th annual Summer Teachers Institute. Dates for this Holocaust-themed teacher training workshop are August 2-August 5. Plans for this year include an optional fourth day devoted to the topic of interpreting the Holocaust through arts and literature. Deborah Cardin also met with Becky Pepkowitz to discuss plans for a June conference on the topic of Jewish diversity.

Marketing Director Simone Ellin met with representatives from Alter Communications (Style and Jewish Times) to discuss media sponsorship of the Museum's 50th Anniversary events. Simone continues to work with our web-team to bring our re-designed JMM website on-line in the next few weeks. On Wednesday, Program Director Ilene Dackman-Alon met with Jeff Counts, Program Director at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, about possible joint programming during the JMM's Anniversary year. Ilene also attended "Knit One Learn Two" at Chizuk Amuno led by Melton educator Judy Meltzer.

Lauren Silberman spent the past weekend in Boston, MA as her husband attended the American Library Association (ALA) mid-winter conference. She utilized the opportunity to tour several museums. And Curator Karen Falk continued to plan for the design and launch of, a website linked to our Jewish foodways project.

Best wishes to everyone for a peaceful Sabbath and a lovely mid-winter weekend.


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