Category Archives: ISJL

You Say “Crawfish.” He Says “Crawdad.” I Say “What’s That?”

As our Monday post indicated, it’s that time of year when we have new staff starting at the ISJL. During orientation we have time to get to know each other, sit around lunch tables discussing our former homes (Florida, Washington, New York, Wisconsin!) when it inevitably comes up—regional differences.

I started using this phrase during my first year as a fellow. I was making my summer visits and found that I was having the same conversations over and over again.

“So Rachel, where are you from?”
“Connecticut”
“Oh my goodness,  it’s so cold there! How are you adjusting!”
“Um.. air conditioning?”

Soon I was having the “the temperature varies in different parts of the country” and “people are interested in different sports teams” conversations over and over again with new host families throughout the region. And so the “regional differences” title stuck.

Someone else must have known it was Orientation Week because this great article with regional dialect surveys was recently posted on the Business Weekly website. Joshua Katz, a Ph. D student in statistics at North Carolina State University, just published a group of awesome visualizations of a linguistic survey that looks at how Americans pronounce words.

It’s a perfect example of the typical regional differences dialogue. My particular favorite is the survey for “pecan.” Early in my ISJL tenure someone on a visit told me the way I pronounced it was not the ingredient featured in pecan pie but  that a “pee-can” was something you take on a fishing trip. I always think of the anecdote before I utter the word aloud!

pecan

I had never even heard of crawfish, yet alone tried to eat them, before I moved to Mississippi, so I’m not sure my pronunciation would gave mattered. But after spending time in Louisiana, I know how delicious they are!

crawfish

 

And of course y’all is always a heated  topic of conversation in this office of transplants. I myself could never pick it up.

y'all

The diverse make up of our staff makes for a really interesting summer, as new interns and fellows join our team and spend time in the South. I’m going to make sure I figure out where everyone places themselves on these surveys. Where do you fit on the map?

Posted on June 7, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

2013 New Staff Orientation

Every year, shortly after graduation season, we have the pleasure of welcoming new faces to our office: new permanent staff, Education Fellows and summer interns.

macy-and-new-staff-smallerAlong with social events, our orientation includes informational sessions that get all of the new folks on the same page.  Above, ISJL president Macy Hart addresses new staff in the organizational overview session. Throughout the day, they’ll hear from each of our departments and prepare for their summer (or new life!) in Mississippi, in the office, and on the road. Hopefully, these new voices will be joining us here on the blog as well, to share some of their experiences with you, both during the summer and in the year to come.

Please join us in welcoming these new faces to their new Southern Jewish experience!

Posted on June 3, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Video Excerpt from My Recent Kentucky Adventure

Last month, I had the pleasure of visiting Ashland, Kentucky, to conduct a series of oral history interviews.  The trip was funded by the Kaplan-Simons Family Foundation, which was started by the owners of Star’s Fashion World, once a leader among the retail businesses of downtown Ashland.

I was lucky to sit down with Jerry Mansbach for a short interview on the last day of my trip. Mansbach’s father, Joe, founded a very successful scrap metal business in Ashland and became a major supporter of the town’s small traditional shul. Jerry talks here about his family’s story and his father’s success.

More videos from the trip will be available soon on the Ashland, Kentucky, page of our Online Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities. You can also hear a short radio interview that I did about the project.

Posted on May 8, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy