Council of American Jewish Museums
          E-News | April-May 2016
In This Issue
Celebrate Jewish Heritage
AAM Panel Later This Month
Siegel Moves On
Kruger Honored
News & Job News
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.


Since 2006, when the Jewish Museum of Florida (now JMF-FIU) and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz led a charge and Congress enacted legislation, May has been Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM). In a proclamation signed at the end of April, President Obama wrote, "This month, we remember that the history and unique identity of Jewish Americans is part of the grand narrative of our country, forged in the friendships and shared wisdom between people of different faiths." (Read the full proclamation.) A Library of Congress website highlights Federal activities specifically, and JAHM's own site showcases special  lectures, publications, commemorations, film screenings, readings, and exhibitions t aking place around the country this month. Be sure  to add your own museum's heritage events there. 


If you will be attending the AAM's 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo in Washington, DC this month, and if you are still thinking about issues raised at CAJM's recent conference in NYC, be sure to attend our sponsored session on Thursday morning 5/26,  Next Narratives: Changing Audiences Need New Stories, which continues the discussion Executive Director Melissa Martens Yaverbaum , Board member Zachary Levine , and three colleagues - Anita Kassof  of the Baltimore Museum of Industry, Christy Coleman (r.) of the American Civil War Museum, and Hunter O'Hanion (l.), of 
the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art - will reflect on the  growing diversity among our core audiences, which calls into question the relevance and value of many current narratives. In museums of art, history, and culture, w hat kinds of stories are likely to replace those that are becoming outdated or irrelevant ? Bring your own next narratives to the conversation. 


A handful of pictures from our March conference in New York City, attesting to the good cheer that accompanied the thoughtful panels, presentations, and inspiring museum visits. 


Last month, Judith C. Siegel concluded her tenure as Director of Academic and Public Programs at the Center for Jewish History . Following two decades as an Educator and Director of Education at The Jewish Museum, Judy spent nine years as an independent consultant providing insights, creativity, program and management expertise to a range of cultural clients before joining CJH in 2007. There she steered outstanding programs drawing on resources of the Center's partner organizations, and major events like January's symposium on Jewish museums in Eastern Europe and the U.S. For CAJM, Judy has been a Steering Committee member, conference co-chair, key player in strategic planning and professional development initiatives, and superb role model. We share the sentiments of CJH CEO Joel Levy, who approached Judy's departure "with one eye smiling and the other weeping." 


Another New York City colleague deserving - and receiving - of honors is Laura Kruger, whose curatorial gifts were celebrated on May 9th as the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion  museum marked its 25th anniversary. Artist and critic Richard McBee has written, "The HUC Museum has been at the epicenter of what it means to be modern, Jewish and visually creative and Laura Kruger has been its guiding light." Through the years, Laura has been a conference co-chair for CAJM, generously hosted special events, and brought warmth, sensitivity and intelligence to conference conversations and commentary. We applaud her many accomplishments. Read McBee's full Jewish Press tribute from 2014.


We are thrilled for our friends at POLIN Museum (Jewish museum in Warsaw, left), who have won two prestigious European museum awards:  the 2016 European Museum of the Year Award (the first time in 39 years that this has gone to a Polish museum) and the European Museum Academy Prize 2016, whose jurors wrote, "It is not just an excellent museum but a state-of-the art cultural institution that reaches diverse publics all over the world." ... The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, OK (right), recently received a beautiful stained glass window from a synagogue in Muskogee, OK, which now embellishes its entrance walkway. ... Condolences to our friends at the Jewish Museum & Archives of BC on the death of Cyril Edel Leonoff, founder of the Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia, at the age of 91. ... The Temple Judea Museum at Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA has become an integral part of the non-sectarian preschool onsite; according to Rita Rosen Poley at the Arts Alive Gallery one finds engaging art projects, special child-centered collections, professional artists interacting with young people, and paintings hanging at kid-appropriate heights.


The Museum of Jewish Heritage is recruiting for the position of President to lead this major New York City Jewish cultural institution at a critical moment in its development.  Jewish Museum Berlin is also seeking a new Program Director. See that job description here.


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