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