Council of American Jewish Museums
          E-News | January 2013   
In This Issue
Practical Matters
New Senior Staff at The JM
A Day at the CJH
Insights from Designers
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.



While conferences are great opportunities for big-picture thinking and philosophical musings (and you will find some of both when ours convenes in New York City from March 3-5, 2013), it is the planning committee's goal to place equal emphasis on the practical matters with which we grapple each day. Throughout the conference, sessions will get down to brass tacks, providing pointeWharton, Grs an13 conf logo smd up-to-date information that we can all use. Sunday's programs include Thinking Outside the Box: Non-Traditional Collaborations, Programs, and Audiences; Broadening Our Reach: Marketing and Public Relations; What's Next? Creating an Inspiring Vision and Successful Strategic PlanObjects in the Age of Technology: Changing Roles; and Making Room: Residencies for Visual and Performing Artists. On Monday and Tuesday, highlights include Reaching Deeper: Artists, Curators and Educators Engaging Community and The Truth About Young Adult Engagement. For these important discussions, CAJM representatives from museums across the country will be joined by colleagues from major New York cultural institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (left above, Special Projects Conservator Glenn Wharton) and consultants from national and international planning firms such as Lord Cultural Resources and METStrategies (to right, Managing Director Beth Tuttle). View complete conference information and register online at


We welcome Jens Hoffmann, formerly Director of the California College of the Arts (CCA) Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in San Francisco, as the new Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs at The Jewish Museum in New York City. Hoffmann has organized m
ore than thirty exhibitions internationally since the late 1990s, including tHoffman, Jhe 9th Shanghai Biennial in 2012, and he was curator of the 12th Istanbul Biennial in 2011. Hoffman served as Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London from 2003 to 2007. In the newly created position at The JM, Hoffmann will utilize his global perspective, broad understanding of culture, and knowledge of contemporary art to conceptualize ideas and strategies for exhibitions, acquisitions, publications, research, and public programs. He said, "I am attracted to The Jewish Museum as a place where art and artists are contextualized within a larger cultural picture ... I am interested in thinking about contemporary and historical art side by side with cultural history, connecting the two while taking a particular Jewish perspective into account."



The Center for Jewish History will be our host on March 3, and conCJH exhibitference-goers will get to visit a number of exhibitions produced by CAJM institutions at the Center: the Yeshiva University Museum, the American Jewish Historical Society, and the Leo Baeck Institute. One exhibition  we especially look forward to is Passing Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil Rabbi Arnold Fischel War, produced by AJHS and YUM with guest curator Ken Yellis, principal at Project Development Services. Rare artifacts, weaponry, letters, diaries, photographs, and Judaica will illuminate the transformative force of the Civil War on American Jewry, and the degree to which the crisis led to the Jewish community's full participation in American life. (Rabbi Arnold Fischel, advocate for Jewish Union Army chaplains, left.) This sesquecentennial exhibit will be the subject of a thoughtful panel critique. (As an aside, with Steven Spielberg's new film making such a splash, the Civil War is certainly in the zeitgest. You might want to check out J. Hoberman's recent article in Tablet, which posits that Lincoln was the first "Jewish" president.)



Some especially talented and creative individuals will be part of the 2013 conference: exhibition and media designers with extraordinary credentials, projects, and insights to share. The JMTC, Moscow Monday exhibition critique referenced above will feature Tom Hennes, founder of Thinc, whose current clients include the National September 11 Memorial and Museum; Hana Elwell of Ralph Appelbaum Associates, which recently completed work on the new Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, Russia (left)), Limud and Sonnet Takahisa, a pacesetting educator and principal of Arts and Cultural Strategies. In a Tuesday session on Engaging Your Audiences Digitally, a group of interactive designers will reveal ingenious strategies that can work within museum budgets. They are Jake Barton of Local Projects, a frequent collaborator with Thinc and with cultural organizations like the National Museum of American Jewish History and StoryCorps; Ben Rubin of Ear Studio, who recently developed works for the New York Shakespeare Festival and New York Public Library; Phillip Tiongson of Potion, which has created installations for, among others, the Museum of Science and Industry, National Building Museum, and Museum at Eldridge Street (Limud table, above right); and Jon Voss of Historypin, a wonderful online, user-generated archive of historical photos and personal recollections.



Also on the impressive roster of conference presenters are several inspiring, prolific, and influential Gurock, J Freund, R academics. Among them, we will hear from Richard Freund (left), Director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies and Greenberg Professor of Jewish History at the University of Hartford, who is the author of numerous volumes on archaeology and on Jewish ethics; and Jeffrey Gurock (right), Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, whose most recent book is Jew in Gotham: New York Jews in a Changing City, 1920-2010. Also joining us will be Linda G. Mills, Professor of Social Work, Public Policy, and Law at New York University, where she Smith, Salso sMills, Lerves as Executive Director of the Center on Violence and Recovery and Vice Chancellor for Global Programs and University Life; and Stephen Smith (lower right), Executive Director, University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. Smith is a theologian by training with a particular interest in the impact of the Holocaust on religious and philosophical thought. Finally, the aforementioned Glenn Wharton of MOMA will speak to us wearing a second hat, that of Time-Based Media Curator and Research Scholar in NYU's Museum Studies program.



Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM), which annually commemorates the contributions made by American Jews to our nation's history, culture, and society, has announced Brice its theme for the May 2013 celebration. Entertaining Jews will explore how and why Jews JAHMhave been so successful in radio, film television, theater, and music (like Fanny Brice, right), and in a proportion far greater than their total numbers would suggest. Take advantage of this national initiative by spotlighting your programs or exhibits that reflect this theme. Make sure that your activities are included in JAHM calendars and publicity. You can visit their website to learn more. 

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