Over the past year, the Jewish Museum of Maryland had the good fortune to watch our First Thursday series, Brews & Schmooze: First Thursdays at the JMM grow. Each month, we welcomed new visitors through the doors and watched as the community came together to socialize, learn and connect.
The series, generously funded by the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education, celebrated its 12th installment last month with a cheese making demonstration lead by Kayam Farm, along with a kosher wine tasting. This program, along with other favorites such as Esther Fest (where our own famous Esther Weiner made latkes for the masses) and Iron Chef: Passover, combined themes from the Museum’s current exhibit Chosen Food: Cuisine, Culture, and American Jewish Identity with a fun, upbeat, interactive program.
While I’ve loved each of the twelve events, these were some of the best to experience. Esther Fest, in particular, was a favorite. Esther Weiner is a pro (you may even have heard her on WYPR’s The Signal), She’s always telling jokes and keeping people entertained as she teaches them—the best kind of educator, in my opinion.
Esther is like an adopted grandma to all of us junior staff at the Museum; she tells us she loves us, compliments our outfits and admonishes us if we look too thin. And, like any grandma worth her chops, she can cook! Her latkes are unreal, and that’s only the beginning.
When I started planning Iron Chef: Passover, everyone thought I was crazy. A quickfire cooking competition in a Museum lobby? That would never work. But despite the circuit breaker popping every 30 seconds, the event was incredible. Four teams whipped up a medley of dishes featuring the secret ingredient, horseradish (generously donated by Tulkoff Food Products), while a crowd of excited guests watched, ooohed, and ahhed.
By the end of the night everyone was asking when our next cooking event was going to be. The answer? Stay tuned for Iron Chef: Sukkout this fall!
Starting in July our First Thursday series will become Late Night on Lloyd Street, a series similar in atmosphere and style to Brews & Schmooze but open to anyone and everyone who wants to come. Brews & Schmooze has evolved and, with the support of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education, become four signature annual programs. This means that there will be more free, open, engaging programming to take advantage of at the JMM this year.
On July 5th, to kick off Late Night on Lloyd Street, we’ll be having an Ice Cream Social in honor of the 100th anniversary of Hendler’s Creamery. Join us for a free program where we make, eat and celebrate all things ice cream.