Council of American Jewish Museums
          E-News | April 2014   
In This Issue
A Change in Leadership
Following Up on the Retreat
New Director at Illinois Museum
CAJM Election Results
Important AAM Publication
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.



Joanne Marks Kauvar, CAJM's first Executive Director, has announced her plans to retire at the end of June after a decade-long tenure. Kauvar has been a critical force in shaping the organization, helping CAJM to achieve independence and self-sufficiency and to expand its value and benefit to constituents. Under her leadership, CAJM increased its membership base; advanced professional development initiatives, including substantively enriching the annual conference; introduced fellowship, scholarship, and museum admission reciprocity programs; launched a comprehensive new website and monthly e-newsletter; and strengthened the organization's ties with the AAM, affiliate organizations, and the international Jewish museum community. In communicating her decision to the CAJM Board, Kauvar wrote that this "point of strength and renewal" for the organization coincides with "a juncture in my own life." After a 40-year career in arts administration, including 28 years in the Jewish cultural field, she looks forward to having more time to enjoy grandchildren, travel, and return to art-making.  
      Melissa Martens Yaverbaum, CAJM's Immediate Past Chair, remarked, "Joanne has been an integral part of CAJM for many years -- its professionalization, growth, and character. The tremendous dedication and insight she brings to CAJM will be much missed, though we know she will stay part of the CAJM community. We all wish her every happiness in her retirement and her new adventures ahead."  
      Before joining CAJM, Kauvar was the first Director of the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture at the JCC, developing multi-disciplinary programs in art, music, theatre, film, and literature, and Administrator of the Mizel Museum of Judaica at BMH-BJ Synagogue in Denver. Prior to that, she worked at the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities and oversaw creation of the state's Percent for Art Program, Colorado Artists Register, CETA Artists-in-Residence Program, Federal Regional Design Assembly, and State of Colorado Design Improvement Program.
      Kauvar states, "I am so grateful to have served CAJM in partnership with our dedicated leadership, members, and staff during a very dynamic era in the American Jewish community. How fortunate we all are to have shared the experience. I hope that together we have made a difference in other people's lives in the same way that CAJM did for me, professionally and personally." 



Last month's CAJM gathering in Maryland, Retreat/Forward: Connecting to Communities in Changing Times, was a great success - a statement confirmed by anecdotal comments from participants, glowingly positive survey results, and the very tangible, lively esprit de corps. (One highlight was spending time with choreographer Liz Lerman and creating a dance together, as seen to left.) Consensus was that the retreat format, a departure from CAJM's customary annual conference, was satisfying, eye-opening, and a wonderful opportunity to network with CAJM colleagues. You will get a taste of conference proceedings from presentations and retreat-related readings posted on the website, notes on our Facebook page, and, if you are a CAJM member, from the Photo Gallery (this requires signing on to the website with a password; please be in touch if you have difficulties). One important outcome of the event was the inauguration of a CAJM Facebook Group so that Jewish museum professionals can stay in touch, chat and compare notes with one another all year round. If you have not done so already, please be sure to join and participate.



Susan Abrams becomes the new CEO of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in late April. Abrams began her career with McKinsey & Company and as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs before attending Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, where she became passionate about non-profits. She helped set up a center for non-profits at Northwestern University, was Vice President of the Chicago Children's Museum, and served as COO of Jewish Community Centers of Chicago for several years. Abrams is the author of The New Success Rules for Women: 10 Surefire Strategies for Reaching Your Career Goals. Inspired by the museum's mission and committed to reaching schoolchildren, she said, "I'd like to position the museum as an educational jewel right in the backyard of Chicago."



Following the recent annual election, CAJM is pleased to welcome several new officers and members to the Board of Directors.  Avi Decter (History Now and, formerly, Jewish Museum of Maryland) succeeds Melissa Martens Yaverbaum (Museum of Jewish Heritage) as Chair, Deborah Cardin (Jewish Museum of Maryland) continues as Vice Chair, Lynette Allen (independent consultant) becomes Treasurer, and new member Anita Kassof (Museum of Jewish Heritage) was elected Secretary. Also joining the Board for a two-year term: Wendi Furman (Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art), Mira Goldfarb (Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre), Rachel Jarman Myers (Institute of Southern Jewish Life), Marsha Semmel (independent consultant), and Arielle Weininger (Illinois Holocaust Museum). Our sincere gratitude to those rotating off of the Board for their generous years of service: Past Chair Judith Margles (Oregon Jewish Museum), Alla Efimova (Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life), Tal Gozani (Jewish Federation of Los Angeles
and Please refer to the website's Leadership page for the complete Board roster.
Pictures l-r: Furman, Goldfarb, Kassof, Myers, Semmel, Weininger)



One of the distinguished speakers at the March retreat was Ford. W. Bell, President of the American Alliance of the MuseumsHe reminded us that Trendswatch 2014 was recently released by AAM's Center for the Future of Museums. This annual forecasting report summarizes emerging trends identified through CFM's research.  It explores how each trend is playing out in the world, investigates what it means for museums and society, illustrates how some museums are engaging with the trend, and suggests how others might respond. We have made it easy for you to read the report and consider which trends may be affecting your museum and community.



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 Tychman Shapiro Gallery at the Sabes JCC in Minneapolis, MN. Opening there this month: Keren Or: A Decade of Writing and Photography. The exhibition (right) celebrates the creative work of Jewish Minnesota teens over the past 10 years.


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