There is nothing quite like summer in Maine, from picture-perfect sunny days to beach walks to ocean breezes to dining al fresco. The summer is also when the Maine Jewish Museum Garden — one of only two public gardens in the East End — bursts into glorious bloom. And this year, for the first time, we are excited to offer a come-to-one-or-come-to-all “In the Garden” program series, with (weather permitting) outdoor events for all ages and interests. We look forward to taking time to smell the roses with you!
Tuesday, July 18 2023 4:00 – 5 PM
The Notorious RBG, when asked in 2017 about the most important person in her life, responded, “My personal trainer.” The late Supreme Court justice’s twice-weekly strength-training workouts were credited with keeping her physically and mentally spry well into her octogenarian years and spawned a book detailing her training regimen.
While we can’t promise you a seat on the Supreme Court, we can promise you a fun high-octane pre-dinner workout in the magnificent Museum Garden with award-winning personal trainer. published author, nutritional expert, and international speaker Melody Schoenfeld, MA, C.S.C.S. Melody will coach you up on her riff of the RBG workout, sprinkled in with nutritional tips that will keep you feeling your best, inside and out. She will also demonstrate how — at 5’0 tall and 105 lbs. — she can bend metal nails and rip telephone books in half and that strength can come in any size! No matter your shape, size, or assigned or chosen gender, you are welcome in the no-judgment Museum Garden Zone!
Every Wednesday, June 21 – July 19 2023 (no session on July 5) 4-6 PM
From its origins in China in the 1800s to its revived popularity among Jewish-American women in the 1950s to its recent renaissance among younger Jews and non-Jews of all genders, mah jongg has always been a way to find community that spans generations and groups. You, too, can learn the joys and pleasures of the game (while also enjoying the joys and pleasures of the magnificent Museum Garden) in our new four-week Mah Jongg for Beginners program, taught by beloved Mah Jongg Mainer Genie Nakell. This series of classes will provide an introduction to the novice player and is also perfect as a refresher for someone who hasn’t played in a while and/or is looking for tips and strategies. Registration is free, but required. The series is limited to eight participants, and we request that participants make a commitment to the full four-week session.
Thursday, July 13 2023 4 – 5 PM
“Etz Chaim,” or “Tree of Life,” is the name of the historic synagogue that houses the Maine Jewish Museum. And “Tree of Life” Tai Chi is all about gentle movement that enhances our vital energy. Robin Brooks, an experienced tai chi and qigong instructor, will introduce the fundamentals of tai chi and how, by simply adjusting posture, breath, and mental attitude, we can nurture our well-being. We will explore our roots, trunks, and branches as we connect with the Tree of Life and the energy of nature in the magnificent Museum garden.
About the instructor: A graduate of the Institute for Integral Qigong and Tai Chi (IIQTC) in Santa Barbara, California, Robin Brooks is a tai chi and qigong instructor and visual artist whose joy is helping people of all ages and abilities. By skillfully combining age-old forms and improvising, she assists young and old with stress reduction, improved inner and outer balance, and the development of their chi (pronounced “chee”), or vital energy for health and well-being. Robin lives in Topsham with her husband, Jon, a high school English teacher, and their cat, Toshi.
Every Wednesday, July 26 – August 16 2023 4-6 PM
From its origins in China in the 1800s to its revived popularity among Jewish-American women in the 1950s to its recent renaissance among younger Jews and non-Jews of all genders, mah jongg has always been a way to find community that spans generations and groups. You, too, can learn the joys and pleasures of the game (while also enjoying the joys and pleasures of the magnificent Museum Garden) in our new four-week Mah Jongg for Beginners program, taught by beloved Mah Jongg Mainer Genie Nakell. This series of classes will provide an introduction to the novice player and is also perfect as a refresher for someone who hasn’t played in a while and/or is looking for tips and strategies.
Sunday, August 20 2023 5 – 6 PM
“Jews in the Garden reads like the best of narrator-guided murder-mysteries. But in this case the who-done-it is real, chilling, and makes clear why today’s Polish government is so determined to keep its bloody Holocaust-era secrets.” ―Larry Tye, New York Times bestselling author
Join us in the magnificent Museum Garden as author Judy Rakowsky discusses her newly-published book, Jews in the Garden: A Holocaust Survivor, an Investigative Reporter, and a Family’s Quest for Answers in Poland, a shocking true story of untold World War II secrets. Part memoir, part detective story, part family history, Jews in the Garden is the lively, heartfelt story of Judy (with a long career as an award-winning investigative reporter) and her older cousin Sam (a Holocaust survivor) and their quest for answers about what happened to family members who were hidden away during the Holocaust. As Judy turns her investigative eyes and ears toward their task, she sees a cover-up. She and Sam knock on doors, petition court documents, get run off properties, seek clandestine meetings, and ultimately find Poles who do want to remember that their relatives hid Jews in an effort to save them. They were the Jews in the garden next door, and Judy and Sam want to tell their story once and for all. Registration is free, but required.