Dear Friends of Jewish Museum Milwaukee,
JEWISH MUSEUM MILWAUKEE MATTERS: With the rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S, hate speech and white nationalist activities learning about and from Jewish history is more important than ever. JMM provides resources to people throughout the Milwaukee area and beyond. We bring important and timely issues to the fore, concentrating on four areas that provide opportunities for fact-finding, critical thinking, conversation and community.
According to the 2017 Anti-Defamation League report anti-Semitic incidents rose by 57% in 2017. The permanent exhibit and related school workshops educate visitors and school children on the facts regarding the Holocaust and on anti-Semitism in America through the years.
The expanded Stitching Histories From the Holocaust exhibit this past summer identified key United States immigration policies which limited immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe in the first part of the 20th century—introducing these policies for the first time to many visitors. Programming explored poignant contemporary immigration issues facing diverse populations.
JMM is a place to hear from people of all backgrounds—from survivor speakers sharing their experiences with student groups to the students themselves sharing their family’s immigration stories. We connect the broad themes of the Museum to what our visitors have lived and felt. We elicit these voices to make our work and relationships stronger, through written and recorded response and conversations at programs and through tours.
Anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred take many shapes and disguises. As this quote from the current Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare exhibit demonstrates, dog whistles are not new in American politics, but the depths of the internet make it easier to connect with xenophobic tropes. JMM offers a vehicle to explore this topic historically and to debunk stereotypes then and now.
“One of the names was Danny Kaye, and we found out his real name was David Daniel Kaminsky. There is one who calls himself Edward Robinson. His real name is Emanuel Goldenberg…….” – Representative John Rankin of the House on Un American Activities Committee when discussing unfriendly witnesses.
The special exhibit Allied in the Fight: Jews, Blacks and the Struggle for Civil Rights in spring of 2018 was in connection with the citywide initiative marking the 50th anniversary of Milwaukee’s Open Housing Marches. It celebrated collaborations between the African-American and Jewish communities during the Civil Rights era. Programming explored the issues that continue to plague the African-American community and asked patrons how they could be an ally and/or take action to effect positive change.
YOU MATTER to all of us at JMM.
Whether through visiting, volunteering, becoming a member, donating to or utilizing the archive your engagement makes our work worthwhile. Your year-end gift will help us continue to educate and converse about timely and timeless topics today. All gifts up to the first $15,000 will be matched by a generous anonymous donor. Help us reach our $30,000 goal! It’s easy to give:
Best wishes and thank you for all you do for JMM!
Anneliese Dickman, Board President
Patti Sherman-Cisler, Executive Director
It is the time of the year to reflect upon those people and events that made the year special. At the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, we have so many people to thank: visitors, educators, docents, artists, members, donors, board and committee members.
Foremost, I am thankful every day that the Jewish Museum Milwaukee exists. To the people and staff who put the Museum together – thank you. I am excited to come to work to learn, explore, contemplate and share. It is a rare day indeed when I do not learn a new fact or am challenged to think about a topic in a different way. Museums are places of exploration and learning, and JMM is incredibly fortunate to have curious staff, volunteers, visitors and supporters.
With the rise of violence and hate speech, I feel extremely privileged to work at an institution that at its heart, shares its history of discrimination, intolerance and hate, and connects the Jewish story to other peoples’ stories. Such work promotes empathy, new ways of looking at situations, and cements human bonds. I know I speak for the entire staff when I say this work is meaningful, important and deeply gratifying.
This past year JMM had four exceptional special exhibits. We are extremely grateful to the artists and supporters who made them possible. Once and Again: Still Lifes by Beth Lipman explored this exceptional artist’s photography and glass sculptures. Beth’s creativity, openness, intellect, and talent made the exhibit and her programs rich, thoughtful and compelling.
Fabric of Survival: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz touched the lives of everyone who saw the exhibit; from school children to seniors; from the many repeat visitors to new audiences drawn to her use of needle and thread to tell her remarkable story. We are ever indebted to Esther’s daughter, Bernice Steinhardt, who ensured her mother’s story could be shared with the world.
Moments & Markers: An Adolph Rosenblatt Retrospective enabled JMM to share this remarkable artist’s stories of Milwaukee with a broad audience. We are grateful to the Rosenblatt family, who used their considerable skills and time to clean, conserve and move the art, share stories of Adolph with the staff and visitors, and share their unique talents with program attendees.
The Seventh Day: Revisiting Shabbat allowed JMM to look at Shabbat observances in a traditional sense and through a contemporary lens that addressed a continuum and connection between art and the science of mindfulness. The exhibit and related programs explored spirituality, relaxation techniques, diverse ties that bind, and, importantly, looked at tools to remain connected to those things and people that are truly important.
Family donations made JMM what it is, and families continue to think of us when distributing family heirlooms, photographs and documents. We received many donations this year and all are special. I do want to highlight two donations that will be exhibited in 2018. Louise Stein generously donated two remarkable pieces of Judaica by Yossi Swed that will become part of the permanent exhibit. Edie Shafer donated her family’s documents and photographs of their flight to Shanghai in order to escape Nazi Germany. Her extraordinary story will be shared with the public during the Stitching History From the Holocaust exhibit next spring.
Members are the lifeblood of any museum. We are exceptionally privileged to have loyal members who come to many of the over 40 programs per year, offer us feedback, and support in so many ways. JMM is fortunate to have corporations, foundations and individuals who support the work we do. Their financial support allows for a robust special exhibit schedule and dozens of programs. We in Milwaukee are extremely fortunate to have donors who want to make a difference in the lives of others.
JMM depends on docents and volunteers to carry out its mission. Our docents are simply amazing. They learn about each new exhibit and work with age groups from elementary school to senior citizen. They work weekdays, weekends and evenings. Without this core group of devoted individuals, JMM would not be able to touch so many lives. We are truly grateful.
Volunteers help with each exhibit, with raising funds, reaching diverse audiences, and determining programs. They give their time, ideas, and passion. Each exhibit is better because of your input. When there are so many places you could spend your time, we realize you chose to spend it with JMM and we are very appreciative.
Finally, to the staff and board of JMM – thank you for your vision, your hard work and your support. The Museum is only as informative as your creativity and intellect, only as welcoming as your graciousness, and only as engaging as your openness. Your commitment to our mission, to the public and to our members is noteworthy.
Thank you to one and all for all you do and bring to Jewish Museum Milwaukee. May the coming year treat you and yours with kindness, health and happiness.