What’s a Non-Jew Doing Working at a Jewish Museum?

goyfromillinois By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Marketing

When I accepted this position at the Mizel Museum in July 2013, I was incredibly excited about the work. As with any news I’m remotely excited about, I told everyone who would listen. After hearing I’d be working for a Jewish museum, the first question people would ask was a variation of, “Wait, are you Jewish?” I would say no, and their expression would remain a perplexed one. Of course I knew what they were puzzled by: what’s a non-Jew doing working at a Jewish museum? Are you allowed to do that? Do they know you’re not Jewish?
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First Thing’s First: What’s a Goy?

goyfromillinois By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Marketing

Before I post about anything else, I want to first address the name of this column: “Goy From Illinois.” Before I came to work for the Mizel Museum, I didn’t know the word “goy.” I can’t remember how I learned it, but it’s likely that I first saw it in this really cute book called “Yiddish with Dick and Jane.” It contains a story of Dick and Jane, with many Yiddish words throughout the story and defined in the glossary. We’ll have to learn about Yiddish together later, but for now, let’s concentrate on one word: “goy.” Continue reading

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New Column: Goy From Illinois

goyfromillinois
By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Marketing

What is the role of a Jewish museum? What does “Jewish” even mean; is it a culture or a religion, and can/should those things be looked at separately? What is a mezuzah? What holidays do Jews celebrate?

These questions, big and small, are just a sampling of the ones I’ve asked myself and my coworkers since coming to work for the Mizel Museum in August 2013. As someone who is new to Colorado and new to learning about Jewish culture, I have found myself constantly asking people for their opinions, taking classes and workshops and Googling like it’s nobody’s business. There’s so much to learn, and it’s all so interesting! So, I present to you “Goy From Illinois,” a new column on our blog, and I invite you to come with me on a journey, to discover alongside me what Jewish culture is all about. Continue reading

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Why Thomas Friedman?

FriedmanBy Deanne Kapnik, Director of Special Events and Projects

With The Power of Place as a guiding theme for our programming for the next couple of years, the staff agreed that Thomas Friedman could prompt important dialogue around this theme, as well as to propel us into new, exciting programming.

Thomas Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter and columnist. He has written more than twelve hundred columns, received three Pulitzer Prizes and authored six books, among them From Beirut to Jerusalem and The World is Flat. Continue reading

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The Power of Place: Home with My Sisters

As part of the Museum’s new focus on The Power of Place, we are asking members of the community to submit to us a short blurb about a place of importance in their lives – whether it’s their childhood home, their local bookstore or even a “place” in time or a place that moves around.

Today, we hear from Rachel Smith, one of the Mizel Museum’s most treasured volunteers. Rachel , who relays a beautiful story of connection with others in a place that is special to her. Continue reading

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The Power of Place: An Institution of Growth

As part of the Museum’s new focus on The Power of Place, we are asking members of the community to submit to us a short blurb about a place of importance in their lives – whether it’s their childhood home, their local bookstore or even a “place” in time or a place that moves around.

Today, we hear from Lindan Noel, who gives us a little peek into a place that is special to her. Continue reading

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The Power of Place: Memories of Summer

rolling lawnBy Deanne Kapnik, Director of Special Events & Projects

When I was eight years old, my aunt and uncle bought a big ranch-style house on six acres in the suburbs. About half of the land was soft green rolling lawn. (Infrequently, we got to drive the little tractor lawn mower. That was a thrill.) There was a swimming pool and tennis courts and an orchard, and the whole place backed up to the Highline Canal. There was a flagstone patio off the house that was elevated, and the southwest side of it looked out on Mount Evans and, depending on how clear the day was, Pikes Peak. Continue reading

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Considering Collecting: An Interview with Shannon Robinson

BLOGblock-gregory-classical-still-life-with-moth-28x32-oil-3600By Georgina Kolber, Curator of Exhibits, Collections & Programs

The first installment of our Denver Collects program series will go out with a bang, as we experience the boundlessly energetic Shannon Robinson [President of the Colorado Dominican Vocation Foundation (CDVF) and Chairperson of the Mizel Community Board] discussing one of her favorite topics: collecting art. In the first three Denver Collects programs in the series, Ivar Zeile of Plus Gallery spoke to us from a gallery director’s perspective, and four private collectors toured and dazzled us through their art-filled homes. In this, our last Denver Collects program (for now), Shannon’s unique presentation will use tales of famous collectors throughout history as a springboard from which to lend us practical tips on how everyone can become a collector.

As president of the CDVF, Shannon has curated and produced the Windows to the Divine® Art Exhibition for all its eight years. This year’s show, held at Arthaus in RiNo from May 17 through June 6, features more than 50 artists, including Quang Ho, William Hook, Emilio Lobato, Jill Soukup and Daniel Sprick. After her talk on collecting, Shannon will guide us through this dynamic exhibition, and then we’ll tour a few more galleries in the RiNo district.

As part of our series of blog posts, called “Considering Collecting” (which began with this examination of a handful of collectors), I asked Shannon a few questions to whet your appetites for the June 1st Denver Collects program: Continue reading

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The Power of Place: Home is Where the Heart Is

improvshopdoorBy Lisa Rimmert, Director of Marketing

“Place” is a tricky topic for a military kid. As a child and then wife of the military, I have spent my entire life moving around: from Arkansas to Greece to Texas to Germany. Then Mississippi, Illinois, North Carolina, California… You get the idea. Because of this somewhat nomadic lifestyle, I quickly learned to make new friends, and I quickly became accustomed to saying goodbye. So, last year when my husband and I decided to move from St. Louis to Denver for him to attend medical school, it didn’t seem all that out of the ordinary. Moving was always pretty easy for me; it was just part of life.

So, then, why was it so hard? I think the answer is “because I had found a home.” Continue reading

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Considering Collections: Snippets from Collectors of All Kinds

monkeys

Part of a collection of primate objects


By Georgina Kolber, Curator of Exhibits, Collections & Programs

Now half way through the crowd-pleasing Denver Collects series, I decided to dig a bit into why the topic of collecting appeals to so many people. I’ve read lots of compelling and amusing theories about how gathering “stuff” is biologically and psychologically based, the most poetic being that the objects we choose to keep around us are conduits to another world—a place or time we’ve experienced in the past, or one we’d like to experience in the future. In this scenario, the objects have shed their original function and become more like totems or amulets.

Also interesting to me is the suggestion that for some, the satisfaction of collecting comes from experimenting with arranging, re-arranging, and classifying parts of an otherwise huge and irrational world. In other words, the act of collecting something classifiable (stamps, contemporary painting, black & white photography, Japanese woodblock prints, etc.) provides a sense of comfort and order to those who acquire them.

To explore these and other collecting impulses in action, I conducted a series of interviews with people about their collecting habits. Continue reading

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