Council of American Jewish Museums
         E-News | December 2011 
In This Issue
Early Bird Deadline
Magnes Grand Opening
Young Professionals
Detroit Renewal
Conference Scholars
CAJM is ...
Jewish art and history museums, historic sites, historical and archival societies, Holocaust centers, synagogue museums, Jewish Community Center galleries, children's museums, and university galleries ...  the professionals and volunteers who work in them ...  the children, adults, and families who visit them ...  the patrons who support them ...  the organization that keeps them vital.


Why not check off one of the items on your to-do list before 2011 ends?  Register for the 2012 CAJM Conference in Detroit (February 26-28) before the Early Bird deadline of January 2ndYou can save $50!  And remember, after the first registrant, additional staff, volunteers, or board members from the same institution save an additional $50.  You can now register online, which makes the process even easier.  Articles below reveal more about the upcoming conference and the vitality of our destination city. 



The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary with the grand opening of a new home in downtown Berkeley.  Magnes facade Pfau Long Architecture of San Francisco designed the dramatic renovation of a 25,000-square-foot facility in the city's arts and commerce district. The elegant and environmentally sensitive building will debut next month, with grand Open House festivities planned for January 22nd. The building's visible storage and locally handcrafted exhibition cases will allow for unprecedented access and engagement with the Magnes' 10,000-piece collection of precious art, music, rare books, ethnographic materials, and historical archives on the cultures of Jews in the global diaspora and the American West.  Pfau Long rendering Last year the Magnes collection was transferred to The Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley, enhancing the research holdings, enriching Jewish Studies scholarship, complementing the university's academic offerings, and raising the profile of The Magnes. Support from the former Judah L. Magnes Museum donors financed the renovation of the new building in downtown Berkeley. 



In connection with its annual conference, CAJM offers three special opportunities for younger Jewish museum professionals (<40).  Our competitive Fellowships Program recognizes emerging professionals and makes it possible for a number of newer colleagues to attend the annual conference.  Our MentoThe Cornerrship Program welcomes first-timers to the conference by pairing them with "veteran" professionals in the field who share similar areas of interest.  And, on one night of each conference, we sponsor a Young Professionals After Hours gathering.  This year's will take place at The Corner (left), the very popular bar and performance venue attached to our elegant  Birmingham hotel, The Townsend.  It's scheduled for Sunday evening, February 29th from 9:30-11, and our conference-goers will be joined by under 40's from Detroit's CommunityNEXT.  Read more about them ... next.



Here's a surprising statistic:  While Detroit's population shrank by 25% in the last 10 years, the city also experienced a 59% growth in college-educated residents under the age of 35. That is a figure 30% higher than two-thirds of the nation's largest cities -- and many of the new or returning residents are Jewish. They have been attracted by the metropois' increasingly rich arts scene, and by state, civic, and private incentive programs that are designed to encourage entrepreneurs, social activists, and new business owners to move downtown. Wolfe, Jordan

Some of the incentive programs are Jewish, too.  Jordan Wolfe (left) who founded CommunityNext, says that "Young Jews are going to move to the city, not the suburbs, [and they're] willing to take jobs as a waiter if there's something to do."  He, among others is providing something for the resurgent community to do, offering Jewish cultural events, small business loans, and free office space.  There are further signs of thRooftop social eventis renaissance of, by and for Detroit's Jewish population: an active Moishe House, with ten tenants organizing regular special events each month; Torah on Tap, a discussion group led by a local rabbi at a popular bar, which attracts as many as 100 people a week; an intramural sports league; and a revitalized synagogue. The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue (the last remaining of what had once been 44 in the urban center), which we will visit Saturday night of the conference, now offers a wide variety of popular programs and has tripled its membership in the past few years, making it the only conservative synagogue in the state of Michigan not to suffer a decline.  We will learn more about these phenomena when we get to Detroit, and understand better that, as young Jewish adults form social bonds and make work connections, they also help to strengthen the city they have adopted.


In a past issue we have told you about our Keynote Speaker Deborah Dash Moore, Professor of History and Director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan.  The conference will, in addition, feature an array of specialists in art history and museum studies, Jewish studies, and other areas of history. Two scholars of note will be Lila Corwin Berman (below left), on the "Motor City Frontiers" panel,Berman, Lila and Karla Goldman (below right), who will moderate "Where the Particular Encounters the Universal: the Civil Rights Movement in Museum Education."  Berman holds the Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History and directs the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History at Temple University. She is author of the award-winning Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, Intellectuals, and the CreatioGoldman, Kn of an American Public Identity (2009) and is currently working on a new book that traces Jews' journeys away from Detroit in the postwar years.  Goldman is the Sol Drachler Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan, where she directs the Jewish Communal Leadership Program.  Her book Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism was published in 2000. She previously taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and was historian in residence at the Jewish Women's Archive.  Program session panels will also include representatives of four Detroit area museums that we will be visiting: the Arab American National Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Henry Ford Museum, and Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.   


CAJM Puts the Spotlight on You

JTS Eden

CAJM offers resources for learning all year round on our website and at our annual conference; models professional standards; offers opportunities for information exchange; and works on behalf of Jewish museums and museums with Jewish content, like the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary.  The image to right, by Lola (Leon Israel), is from the Library's Traveling Exhibition Radical Visions: Graphic Satire in the Yiddish Press, 1894-1939 You might take an online tour of the Library's incredible holdings - or, see what other Jewish museums are presenting across North America by visiting CAJM's  At Our Museums  page, the central address for you and the public to find out what's happening at our member institutions.

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