Council of American Jewish Museums
          E-News | December 2015
In This Issue
2015 Highlights
New York Sites
CJH Event - Jan. 10th
Foreign Perspectives
Postcards From Abroad
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.


2015 has been a busy, exciting, and fruitful year for CAJM. Our annual conference took us to the Bay Area for a look at collaborative culture, West-Coast style. A group of colleagues in New York started their own regional gatherings around the city, and we'd love to replicate this model elsewhere. Eight Jewish museums around the country volunteered to join our professional development cohort on engaging new communities, while our Advisory Committee has been busy guiding us through strategic issues in the field. CAJM was proud to offer fellowships to Israel this November for five professionals to attend the AEJM conference in Jerusalem and to meet with colleagues at Beit Hatfutsot, Yad Vashem, and Israel Museum. Our 2016 conference, "Next Narratives," will convene from March 20-22, 2016! Registration is now open, and please keep in mind the Early Bird deadline of January 22nd. (You'll find more on these last two items below.) Thank you to our volunteers, funders, and members for a great year. We can't wait to see you all in 2016. 


Our March conference in New York City will take participants to a number of sites around the city. Starting on Saturday night, participants have the option of a tour and social gathering at the new Whitney Museum of American Art.  Sunday will be hosted by the Bernard Museum of Judaica at Temple Emanu-El, followed by a reception at The Jewish Museum (above right, an installation image from their current exhibition Unorthodox. Tuesday will take us to the Center for Jewish History (including its partner organizations), with opportunities in the afternoon to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum (left) or tour the Museum at Eldridge Street (right). Register early for the conference to make sure you are booked for space-limited activities!


On January 10, the Center will co-sponsor a symposium that should be of great interest to CAJM's membership: Jewish Museums in the 21st Century: Perspectives on Eastern Europe and the U.S. The presenter line-up features leading scholars and museum professionals; among them, a number of CAJM friends: Olga Gershenson
(right)Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Ruth Ellen Gruber (far right),
Norman Kleeblatt, Anna Manchin, Pamela Nadell, Edward Rothstein, and David Shneer. The participants will reflect upon the recent boom in Jewish museums within the countries of Eastern Europe, and will discuss the state of Jewish museums on both continents. Read all about the symposium here. Our colleagues at CJH have extended an invitation to CAJM members, who may attend the symposium for free. If you are interested, please contact Judy Siegel.


Heartfelt congratulations to our colleagues at Jewish Museum Milwaukee for a trifecta of awards in connection with their original exhibition Stitching History From the Holocaust. Milwaukee Public Television received an Emmy award for an episode of "The Arts Page" about the exhibit; the American Association for State and Local History presented the JMM with a History in Progress award; and the Wisconsin Historical Society recognized the museum with the 2015 Governor's
 Archives Award for Archival Innovation. Great show! (Contact the JMM about bringing the exhibit to your museum, too). Also worthy of envy and praise: earlier this month, CBS Sunday Morning presented a story about the unprecedented collaboration across cultural and educational institutions in Cleveland around "Violins of Hope." The related exhibition is currently at the Maltz Museum of Jewish HeritageFinally, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington was able to provide the White House with provenance information on the menorah that the President and First Lady illuminated for the annual Hanukkah celebration. The candelabra was created by Holocaust survivor Erwin Thieberger, and is similar to this one from the JHSGW/Small Museum's collection.


We are delighted that grants from the Malka Fund and the Nadav Foundation enabled CAJM to send five of our museum professionals to Israel in November. To left you see the entire group (with their knowledgeable guide, CAJM board member Gabriel Goldstein) 
and, below, a subset during their time at the Israel Museum. Upon their return, all five had glowing reports about their journey and the opportunity to learn and forge connections for future collaborations. Janine Okmin found the experience "enriching on many levels, from the professional to the cultural to the personal." 
Sandra Oberdorfer benefited from hearing about a youth program designed for Jewish and Arab Israeli children, similar to one at her home base, the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. Ivy Weingram considered it a "fantastic opportunity for dialogue" with international colleagues about "diversity within Jewish museums, Jewish life, and more broadly in the world." Ilana Segal valued the chance to travel and connect with colleagues at similar career and life stages; and Lisa Kranseler came back with the ability to "work in a whole new light and move forward with renewed energy and excitement." 


Registration deadline for AAM's Museum Advocacy Day in Washington is January 22, 2016. The event actually takes places over two days the following month, February 22 and 23.  


Keep in mind that the Council of American Jewish Museums is also a non-profit organization. While you're thinking about end-of-year giving, donations to CAJM may be sent to P.O. Box 12025, Jackson, MS 39236-2025. Thank you.


CAJM offers resources for learning on our website and at our annual conference, models professional standards, provides opportunities for information exchange, and works on behalf of Jewish museums and museums throughout North America, like the Yeshiva University Museum, whose exhibition Fields of Dreams: Living Shmita in the Modern World provides an in-depth look at a revived tradition of the Biblical "sabbatical year" in which land was left fallow, debt were forgiven, and other arrangements were made to ensure an equitable, just and healthy society. The exhibit continues through January 3rd. (Image left: Fallow Fruit by Dorit Jordan Dotan)


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