Wednesday, March 24, 2010

AAM Advocacy Days

I got my first taste of Hill lobbying this week when I participated in the American Association of Museums' Advocacy Days on Capitol Hill. On Monday, I attended a workshop revealing insider tips on how to prepare and talk to legislators.

Then on Tuesday, the real deal. Visits to two Congressional offices where along with colleagues from museums across the country we encouraged increased federal support for museums. I joined a group visit to a staffer of our own DC Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton. Afterward, I met with folks in the office of Representative Ed Perlmutter from Colorado. That's me in the back right corner of the photo.

In addition to our museum, I had been asked to represent the Council of American Jewish Museums—the professional group for the more than 60 Jewish museums nationwide. As a former chair of that group, I like to participate and show support however I can to our sister institutions throughout the country. It’s been an interesting experience, and I was able to meet some really interesting new colleagues. And I always love telling folks about our Museum and how our historic synagogue was moved-- it never ceases to amaze.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Circus Comes to Town

On this beautiful, sunny afternoon, I found myself staring out the window. Why is everyone gathered along the street below? It's mid-March so it could only mean one thing-- the elephants are coming!

Sure enough, with email, cell phones and twitter, we soon learn that the circus has come to town and the elephant parade will once again pass by the corner of 3rd & G.

Something about seeing the elephants parade by against the backdrop of the red brick of the historic synagogue is just visually compelling. And it always brings a smile to my face. I even saw that most of the DC police officers lining the route were smiling.

So many thanks to David McKenzie for taking these snaps of the parade. Hope it makes you smile too.

Object of the Month: March 2010

JHSGW 50th anniversary logoTo honor our 50th anniversary, we invite you to peek into our archives each month.

From the Archives...
Passover salt-water bowl

Archives Record
Object #: 2009.34.10
Donor: Robert Barkin
Description: Egg-shaped salt-water bowl, date unknown

This three-legged saltwater bowl would have been used at a seder (ceremonial Passover meal). Salt water's role during the seder is to remind the meal participants of their Jewish ancestors' tears and sweat when they were slaves in Egypt.

Read more about the bowl and donor's family!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Third Salon a Touchdown!

Yesterday the Society held the third of our series of salons, this one featuring sportswriter David Elfin. Twenty-seven people braved a rainy day to come to the home of our executive director, Laura Cohen Apelbaum.

David has written for the Philadelphia Bulletin, Syracuse Post-Standard, Washington Post, and Washington Times, and served as president of Congregation Beth Chai. He regaled us with stories of his career in sports—including how he got Darrell Green, Art Monk, and Russ Grimm into the NFL Hall of Fame—recapped the Redskins’ 2009 season, and looked into the Burgundy and Gold’s future. After the lecture, everyone stayed around for a kosher tailgate meal. All in all, a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

We still have plenty of other salons coming up, and we’d love to see you at a future event!

Monday, March 8, 2010

JHS part of Massive "Learn In" at Convention Center

Billed as 70 sessions in 7 hours on March 7, the massive "learn in" yesterday did not disappoint. I was honored to be asked to give an illustrated lecture on our exhibit and book, Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln's City, at this annual event hosted by PJLL (Partnership for Jewish Life & Learning) at the DC Convention Center. Several hundred "students" of all ages attended sessions on everything from tips on baking challah to notions on Jewish prayer. I was awed by the SRO (that's standing room only) attendance at our session. This was a terrific opportunity to teach about our community's history in a room of folks new to the Society and its programs.

For another blogger's perspective on the event and more photographs, check out Rachel Mauro's JewishDC post.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Featured in The Examiner!

Executive Director Laura Apelbaum recently spoke about the Society's new book, Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln's City with The Examiner. Check out the interview!

To hear more about the book, join Laura for a book talk at the Rockville Barnes & Noble on Sunday, April 11th.