Council of American Jewish Museums
          E-News | May 2014   
In This Issue
CAJM Conference Heads West
JWA Director Retires
Yiddish Book Center Wins IMLS Medal
Join CAJM at AAM
Pritikin Appointed CJM Curator
Check Your TV Schedule
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.



Mark your calendars: Next year's CAJM conference, scheduled for March 8-10, 2015, will bring us to the West Coast. Board members Anita Kassof and Marsha Semmel are Co-Chairs for the three-day gathering, which will provide an opportunity to explore resources and collections at several CAJM museums in the San Francisco Bay Area, plus other notable cultural institutions and landmarks. Kassof, Deputy Director at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and former Associate Director of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, co-chaired our 2013 NYC conference. Semmel, Senior Advisor at the Noyce Leadership Institute, previously directed numerous programs at the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was President and CEO of the Women of the West Museum and Conner Prairie. James Leventhal, Deputy Director for Development at the Contemporary Jewish Museum and Alla Efimova, Jacques and Esther Reutlinger Director of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in Berkeley, will be Host Co-Chairs. A planning site visit and the first program committee meeting are scheduled for later this month.



Warm congratulations and best wishes to Gail Twersky Reimer, Founding Director of the Jewish Women's Archive, who was honored this month at the organization's 18th anniversary gala as she brings an impressive chapter of her career to a close. The JWA, which uncovers, chronicles and transmits the legacy of Jewish women in North America, was inspired by Reimer's co-editing work on two anthologies of Jewish women's writing. She was previously a faculty member at Wellesley College and Associate Director of the Massachusetts Foundation for the HumanitiesThe Forward designated Reimer as one of the 50 most influential Jews in America in 2001; she received the Dr. Benjamin J. Shevach Memorial Award for Distinguished Achievement in Jewish Educational Leadership from Hebrew College in 2011, and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion presented her with the American Jewish Distinguished Service Award in 2012. We are proud of her and very grateful to her. (Photo by Krista)



IMLS Medal

The Yiddish Book Center is among ten institutions that received the prestigious National Medal for Museum and Library Service on May 8thFirst Lady Michelle Obama awarded medals to honorees at a special White House celebration (with her to right, Book Center Founder and President Aaron Lansky). According to Susan Hildreth, Director of the IMLS, which selected the awardees from 100 nominations, "The prime criteria is the impact [organizations] are having on their community." Since 1980, the Book Center has collected over a million volumes in Yiddish for redistribution to libraries and online digitization. Each of the National Medal winners also received a $5,000 grant for public outreach programs. Mazel tov to Lansky, Executive Director Susan Bronson, and the entire staff.



If you will be in Seattle at the American Alliance of Museum's Annual Meeting, be sure to attend the CAJM-sponsored session Strategic Transformations on Tuesday morning, May 20th. It will feature four case studies that exemplify high-level goal setting, rebranding, and audience engagement initiatives.  AAM logo Judith Margles (Oregon Jewish Museum) will speak about OJM's upcoming merger with the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center as it impacts capacity building. Josh Perelman (National Museum of American Jewish History) and John Wetenhall, Director of The Textile Museum at GWU, will discuss, respectively, CAJM's and AAM's strategic planning processes. Alla Efimova (Magnes Collection) will discuss the way in which changes in the museum field and Jewish cultural philanthropy demanded re-interpretation of the Magnes' mission.



The Contemporary Jewish Museum has announced the appointment of Renny Pritikin as Chief Curator. He will lead all programmatic initiatives, including exhibitions, educational and public programs, and online programming. A leading figure in the Bay Area arts community, he has been Co-Director of New Langton Arts, Chief Curator at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Director of the Nelson Gallery and Fine Arts Collection at the University of California, Davis. He has lectured throughout Japan and New Zealand, visited Israel as a Koret Fellow, and curated U.S. participation in the Cuenca Bienal in Ecuador. Pritikin will work with Executive Director Lori Starr "to further extend The CJM's impact and ambition locally and nationally."



The IIllinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center's 60-minute documentary Skokie: Invaded But Not Conquered has been airing on 200 PBS affiliated stations across the country. Using archival footage and contemporary interviews, the film examines a challenging episode in American Jewish history, the attempted neo-Nazi March in Skokie, IL in the late 1970s, and reveals how a debate over First Amendment rights inspired Holocaust survivors to become activists. Check your TV listings for showings. A DVD of the film is available from the museum. 



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 Reuben & Helene Dennis Museum at Beth Tzedec Congregation in Toronto. The museum houses the fifth largest collection of Judaica in North America. Its more than 2,500 artifacts, building upon the extensive Cecil Roth Collection, include exceptional ketubbot, rare Esther scrolls, unique Hanukah lamps, and distinctive life-cycle objects. The museum also presents temporary exhibits throughout the year. 



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