By Peggy Grodinsky
Portland Press Herald
September 10, 2023
When the Maine Jewish Museum hired Dawn LaRochelle as executive director, the board probably didn’t realize they were getting a twofer
Portland Press Herald
August 27, 2023
The Aug. 10 fundraiser featured a diverse array of fashion, food and music.
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Get your tickets for Maine Jewish Museum’s Fashion, Food, and Fun(d)raiser: A Celebration of Our Diverse Community on Thursday, August 10. Enjoy an array of finger foods from around the world and music from the Maine Squeeze Accordion Ensemble, followed by an a capella performance by Rwandan pop star Clarisse Karasira. Then, take in the runway fashion show featuring Maine Jewish, immigrant, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ designers and models. There’s also a dessert buffet and a live auction, all in support of the Maine Jewish Museum. Tickets are $54 plus service fee.
The Maine Jewish Museum and Etz Chaim Synagogue to be featured in Tablet Magazine’s “Unorthodox” podcast this week, along with the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine!
Listen to the podcast
By Edgar Allen Beem
The Portland Phoenix
Friday, April 14, 2023
PORTLAND, Maine — Over the past 15 years, the Maine Jewish Museum has managed to transform the Etz Chaim Synagogue in Portland into an important art venue, making use of less-than-ideal spaces to exhibit some of the best art in Maine.
Currently (through April 28), the museum is featuring a trio of one-artist shows. Garry Mitchell’s precise abstract paintings hang in the main hallway. Natasha Mayers’ plein air paintings fill the refectory. And Andy Graham’s photographs of old Portland hang up on the third floor in what once was the women’s balcony of the elegant Etz Chaim sanctuary.
Our 2022 production of The Diary of Anne Frank has been selected as a national semi-finalist for The American Prize in Opera Performance – Professional Division!
The American Prize is the nation’s most comprehensive series of contests in the classical performing arts, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, directors, ensembles and composers in the United States at professional, university, community and high school levels. The American Prize has attracted thousands of qualified contestants from all fifty states since its founding and awarded more than $100,000 in prizes in all categories since 2010.
Congratulations to Rachel Policar, Tina Davis, our incredible production team, the Maine Jewish Museum, and all of the dedicated community partners who made this special show such a success.
By Troy R. Bennett
Bangor Daily News
Monday, February 27, 2023
PORTLAND, Maine — In 2018, Andy Graham set out to photograph the unnoticed, uncelebrated storefronts and commercial buildings dotting the city which seemed unchanged since he first hit town in 1974.
Graham captured some of them just in time.
Students from the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab at Mid-Maine Technical Center in Waterville in association with the Maine Public Digital Production team interviewed Anna Wrobel at the Maine Jewish Museum in Portland, Maine. This video is a companion project to The US and The Holocaust, a video documentary series produced by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein.
The Portland Press Herald
January 29, 2023
By Jorge Arango
The photography of Gary Green and paintings by Sara Crisp are on display at the Maine Jewish Museum in Portland.
December 25, 2022
Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine
If your tradition on December 25th includes Chinese food and a movie – or if you would like it to – come join us at the JCA for the afternoon!
We’ll have a delicious Chinese buffet lunch catered by Maine Jewish Museum Director Dawn LaRochelle (who was a restaurateur and caterer in Western Massachusetts for over a decade), snacks, games, activities, Hanukkah-themed gifts for everyone, and movies. Come for a meal or to hang out and enjoy the afternoon together!
Somewhere To Go:
Visit the Maine Jewish Museum to see Maxwell Bauman’s Jewish-themed Lego Art.
Maine Homes – By DownEast – 2022 Winter Issue
Local artists have been putting their spin on Hanukkah’s nine-light candelabra, incorporating seascapes, a unity symbol, even found objects.
The Maine Jewish Museum is proud to be collaborating with Hole in the Head Review to the first of quarterly poetry readings at the Museum.
Two acclaimed Maine poets, Linda Aldrich and Richard Forester, were the featured readers.
University of Southern Maine
October 21 2022
A series of collages on display at the Maine Jewish Museum uses layers of photographs, paint, and handwritten text to explore the layers of nationality, race, and religion that comprise the artist’s family history.
by Alison Murtagh, WGME
October 20 2022
PORTLAND (WGME) – “Violins of Hope” is on display is at the Maine Jewish Museum all week. It includes 30 instruments from the Holocaust.
Nazis confiscated thousands of instruments from Jews across Europe at that time.
Musicians would play in concentration camps or the ghettos, and sometimes they were hidden away only to be discovered many years later.
Check out this take-down video of Juliet Karelsen and Jocelyn Lee’s “A Flower Expected Everywhere!”
Portland Press Herald
While the Portland Museum of Art displays works from her collection, the Maine Jewish Museum is showing her own photographs.
Portland Press Herald
The symphony has partnered with Violins of Hope, an organization that collects and preserves instruments and then offers for traveling exhibitions and concerts.
Judy Glickman packed the house for her Exhibit Opening and Artist Talk! Between now and October 27, proceeds from the sale of Judy’s magnificent photos will be divided between the Maine Jewish Museum and a nonprofit of Judy’s choice –shop well and do good in advance of the holidays!
We invite the entire community to nominate a deserving individual or couple during the open public nomination period starting: September 4th and ending on October 12th, 2022.
Opera in the Pines presents the Maine premiere of The Diary of Anne Frank, by Grigory Frid. Based on the original text of the famous diary Anne kept as she hid with her family between 1942 and 1944, this monodramatic opera in 21 scenes will proudly feature an all-female creative team, including Rachel Policar (National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene) in the title role of Anne Frank, and pianist Tina Davis (Artist Faculty in Piano at the University of Southern Maine). Join us May 5th and 7th at 7 PM, at Maine Jewish Museum, 267 Congress Street, Portland, Maine.
The Maine Jewish Museum (MJM) has appointed Dawn LaRochelle the fourth Executive Director in its history, at a moment when it recommits to its mission and looks to the future. Celebrating its bar mitzvah 13th birthday this year, the Museum was founded in 2008 to celebrate and honor the contributions and diversity of Maine’s Jewish immigrants in the context of the American experience. Through exhibits, programming, and dialogue, the Museum seeks to build bridges of appreciation and understanding with people of all backgrounds.
Wednesday, November 17 – 7pm
Live virtual panel discussion with audience Q+A
Jews have been living in Maine for 200 years, practicing in up to 30 active synagogues built to anchor Jewish communities across the state. Half of those synagogues no longer exist. Veteran ABC, CBS and CNN producer, writer, director, and media consultant Jo Dondis will bring together voices of these lost synagogues who will help tell the story of the impressive span of Maine’s Jewish community life throughout the state.
Join us for this unique opportunity that will bring life to the exhibition on view at the Maine Jewish Museum, housed in the restored 1921 synagogue, Etz Chaim.
Co-sponsored by The Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine, the Center for Small Town Jewish Life, The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, and Documenting Maine Jewry.
Jessica Lantos, Exhibition Curator and Research Coordinator, Documenting Maine Jewry
Beth Hillson, exhibition subject and former member, Congregation B’nai Israel, Old Town-Orono
Toby Adelman, exhibition subject and former member, Aroostook Hebrew Community Center
Babs Shapiro, exhibition subject and former member, Congregation Beth Abraham, Auburn
We are saddened to hear of the passing of inaugural Maine Jewish Hall of Fame Inductee and HHRC founder and visionary Gerda Haas, a champion for Holocaust and human rights education here in Maine. May her memory be a blessing.
Read a fact sheet about the Maine Genocide Education Program HERE (PDF File 94kb)
Thank you so much to everyone who bid on a piece of art (and a special thank you to those who won a piece), and to all the artists who helped support the auction with their work, and finally to Rob and Annette Elowitch , who curated the auction, Nancy Davidson who leant her expertise throughout the process, and to Juliet Karelson who made it all come to life on Better World! The Maine Jewish Museum is so appreciative of all your efforts, expertise and generosity!
The Maine Jewish Museum is now Hiring a Staff Assistant (15 hrs per week)
Popular non-profit Museum is looking for a staff assistant to help to create and maintain a pleasant work environment, ensuring high levels of organizational effectiveness and communication. A successful applicant should have experience with a variety of office software (email tools, Constant Contact, spreadsheets) and be able to work well with other staff, such as Art Curators, volunteers, including Bookkeeper, President of Board, Hall of Fame Committees and Program Committee, as well as outside Consultants, to support their efforts. Ability to update and create Social Media postings is a plus. Schedule is flexible.
The Past is Present
Gerry Holzman – Artist in Wood
In the late 1990’s, while conducting a personal and intellectual exploration of my long-neglected Eastern European roots, I came across the photographs of Roman Vishniac, a chronicler of Jewish life in pre-World War II Europe. The powerful and provocative photographs in Vishniac’s book, A VANISHED WORLD, affected me profoundly. I was particularly impressed by the portraits of the various artisans–the blacksmiths, the cobblers, the carpenters–and by the bearded scholars with their long flowing coats and their omnipresent books.
For the past twenty years, I have been recording my response to this extraordinary experience. My responses in wood are unlike anything seen before. In some carvings, I have faithfully copied the individuals portrayed in the various photographic records but have placed them in an entirely different setting. In others, I have extracted the figures from within the raw walnut logs where they have dwelt for centuries. In a few pieces, I have simply presented the viewer with the vague outline of a provocative notion.
While these carvings present a window into a world that disappeared in the 20th century, I like to think my work in the 21st century offers vivid proof of Roman Vishniac’s conviction that this vanished world was definitely not a vanquished one. And perhaps, it reinforces an even more important message—“We’re still here.”
These pieces from our Current Exhibitions are for sale. View a selection of work
Falling into Place
Fineberg Family Community Room
Penelope Jones embraces architectural structure, surface texture, and color interaction in this exhibition of paintings, drawings, and collages. Her work is inspired by such disparate sources as Ukiyo-e Japanese paintings, boat slip structures, the snaking streams of Maine estuaries, and architectural details from the Alhambra Palace in Spain. She takes great pleasure in precise lines, angular and curved shapes, and spatial ambiguity.
Born and raised in upstate NY, Penelope Jones received a BFA from MECA and an MFA from Cornell University. After a stint living and working in Boston, she moved back to Maine, where she resides and exhibits her work. Since 1992 she has taught visual arts at Cornell University, Bowdoin College, Maine College of Art, University of Southern Maine and SMCC. She has been a part-time lecturer at Bates College for over 20 years.
These pieces from our Current Exhibitions are for sale. View a selection of work
Jody S. Sataloff Art & History Pavilion
Meeting Hall Maine records for posterity the documentation of hundreds of meeting halls found throughout the state. This photographic project began in collaboration with Hauser’s late husband, Andrew S. Flamm (1967-2018). Hauser has continued on with their shared vision to adhere to centered compositions of frontal, side or back views and to sequence the typology of structures into groups. Grids and pairings invite comparison and also create an abstraction of architectural forms. At some sites three-quarter views of the halls were captured to evoke the experience of place. The exhibition also includes work that appropriates signifiers used in ritual activities taking place inside the meeting halls.
In 1981, Hauser forged lasting ties to Maine at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, leading her to return to Maine to paint, using a former Odd Fellows Hall in Mount Vernon. The hall served as an inspiration. Extending her studio time there was the catalyst for winning a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. It was where she and Andrew Flamm first met. They went on to open Odd Fellows Art and Antiques that specialized in vernacular photography and the Material Culture of American Fraternal Organizations which in turn sparked their idea for Meeting Hall Maine.
(Meeting Hall Maine is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.)
Sadly, 2018 Maine Jewish Hall of Fame Inaugural Inductee Bernard Lown, passed away at 99 on Feb 16, 2021.
The Museum Board and the Hall of Fame Induction Committee sends it deepest condolences to his family.
May his memory be a blessing.
Exhibition Opening Scheduled for Thursday, February 4, 2021
We are happy to announce the Maine Jewish Museum is opening after months of renovation due to a fire this past Spring. We are also celebrating the 100th anniversary of the creation of Etz Chaim Synagogue which houses the Maine Jewish Museum. “Mixing It Up” will be our first exhibition in the newly renovated space. This exhibition of 10 artists will be held in the Spiegel Gallery and Fineberg Community Room. We will also have a photography exhibit by Jan Pieter van Voorst van Beest, on the third floor in the newly dedicated Jody S. Sataloff Art and History Pavilion.
As you can see from the photos, demolition is well underway throughout the Museum. We have hired great craftsmen to lovingly restore the Ark (Chris Coose and Chris Considine), replace the flooring (Andy Walsh), and restore the amazing stained glass window over the Ark (Matthew Kendall), while our general contractor oversees the entire project. We are most fortunate to have Licensed Architect Curt Sachs as our Owner’s Representative and thank him for his volunteering to fill this important role.
Please click the link below to make a donation to the Etz Chaim Synagogue/Maine Jewish Museum Fire Restoration and Operating Fund, and you will play a key role in ensuring that these two organizations and this historic building will be here for all to enjoy for another 100 years!
Be well, be safe, and thank you for your consideration.
Mark Aranson, President of Etz Chaim Synagogue
Rabbi Gry Berenson
Steve Brinn, President of the Maine Jewish Museum
The Maine Jewish Museum Board of Directors has recently voted to name the third floor of the Museum the Jody S Sataloff Art and History Pavillion in honor of Jody’s tireless leadership, creative vision and generosity of spirit!
Jody, the founding President of the Museum, has stepped down from the Board after 12 years serving as a founding Board member. We will greatly miss her wise counsel, her great insight and her willingness to help at all times, whenever time, ideas or resources were needed.
We are greatly in your debt for making the Museum what it is today. A ceremony will be held at the Museum when the time is right to honor Jody and we hope you can all attend!
Portland Press Herold
By BOB KEYES