Council of American Jewish Museums
          E-News | March 2014   
In This Issue
Food For Thought and Conversation
JHSGW to Grow
Theme for 2014 Heritage Month
Meet a Colleague in Maine
Help Advocate for IMLS
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.



We're only a week (or so) away from our annual gathering, Retreat/Forward: Connecting with Communities in Changing Times, scheduled for March 23-25 near Baltimore, MD. If you are planning to participate, you can look forward to provocative presentations, congenial conversations, and rejuvenating R&R. Whether or not you can be with us, you will find much food for thought in this intriguing list of readings and videos assembled by the conference chairs, as well as in Steven M. Cohen's paper on the "shrinking Jewish middle."



In last month's article about Zachary Levine's new position, we mentioned the prospective expansion of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. Laura Cohen Apelbaum, Executive Director of the JHSGW and Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum, reports that the historic Adas Israel Synagogue building, which, notably, was moved three blocks in 1968, will soon hit the road again. JHSGW, new The structure will become part of Capitol Crossing, a major, mixed use development that, by 2020, will connect two parts of the District now separated by a sunken highway. The synagogue will be a focal point on one corner, regaining its historic orientation (the ark will again face east), and will be integrated with a new, larger museum facility (left, rendering by Beyer Blinder Belle). The JHSGW is working with architects and museum planners; specific plans and emphases will emerge in coming months. One element that Apelbaum hopes to see: a children's or family gallery, since DC is one of the few cities where the 20-to-30-year-old population is growing. 



Spring is nearly here, which means that Jewish American Heritage Month is approaching. JAHM The theme for May 2014 is American Jews and Tikkun Olam - Healing the World, drawing attention to individuals who have contributed to social justice, research, community-building, and philanthropy. JAHM is partnering with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), marking its 100th anniversary of humanitarian work. Corporate sponsor Manischewitz has created special tie-in packaging for their matzo boxes and a special insert on "Passover in America" with materials from the American Jewish Archives. Use this occasion to post your May events on JAHM's interactive calendar and add entries to "Tell Me a Story" and "50 States/50 Stories". 



Ani Helmick is the new Executive Director of the Maine Jewish Museum. For the past two years Helmick has coordinated art exhibitions at the synagogue-based museum in Portland and developed its public tours. Helmick She brings varied experience in studio art, art therapy, and oral history, as well as a background in business. Among past positions, she was volunteer coordinator at the city's Jewish Community Alliance and ran "Pass the Torch Productions," a personal history service that conducted interviews and prepared heirloom quality, multi-media books for families. Helmick reports that the crowd of 70 people who attended a recent opening on a sub-zero temperature day is indicative of wide interest in the MJM. She sees tremendous growth ahead, including new curriculum projects, theatrical productions, and a role as anchor for the India Street corridor, also home to the Abyssinian Meeting House and first American home for immigrant Irish, Italians, and Jews.



In conjunction with Museums Advocacy Day, which took place last month, Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Michael Grimm (R-NY) are circulating an online letter urging the House Appropriations Committee to provide robust funding in FY14 for the Office of Museum Services (OMS) at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). AAM logo The deadline to sign on to this letter is Friday, April 5, 2013. The American Alliance of Museums makes it easy for you to reach out to your own Representatives and encourage them to participate in this bipartisan effort. Read the full advocacy alert.



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 Herbert & Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica at New York's Temple Emanu-el. The Museum presents online exhibitions, like Conversations with Sacred Space, and as well as gallery exhibitions, such as the upcoming Justify Your Existence, Graphic Posters from the Moldovan Family Collection (right).
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