Tag Archives: culture

Here’s to Funny Valentines, Y’all

vdayjblog

If you’re wondering whether or not Jews should send valentines, give chocolates, and generally “feel the love” when it comes to Valentine’s Day, you should read this excellent, nuanced piece on the topic. If you want to celebrate the Jewish Valentine’s Day (yes, there is one – kind of), that won’t be until late summer.

If, however, you have already decided that yes, you want to observe Valentine’s Day in some way, and by gosh, you want it to be a FUNNY VALENTINE (because… Barbra, obviously, y’all!), well, you’ve come to the right place.

After enjoying some of the many Valentine’s Day hash tags this week on social media, like #ActivistPickUpLines and #SochiValentines, I decided to have a little fun with some #JewishValentines.

I started with these:

I love you more than matzoh ball soup. #JewishValentines

Can I call you sometime? My Bubbe thinks I should. #JewishValentines

Be mine! (In a progressive, egalitarian sort of way. And of course I’m asking, not telling.) #JewishValentines

Then I also started thinking about what #SouthernJewishValentines might look like:

We may be a minority within a minority, but the majority of my heart is yours. #SouthernJewishValentines

When you said “shalom y’all,” I knew we were meant to be. #SouthernJewishValentines

We may disagree on SEC teams, but we’ll always have Shabbat. #SouthernJewishValentines

So, if you’re celebrating this holiday or just giggling at it, enjoy the day – and share any great #JewishValentines or #SouthernJewishValentines you come up with on social media, to make some of your fellow Funny Valentines keep on laughing!

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Posted on February 14, 2014

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

Yes, Alabama Has a Jewish Film Festival – And More

filmreelBelow is an excerpt from a recent article in the Jewish Daily Forward entitled “The Best Jewish Film Festivals of 2014”:

The Mobile Jewish Film Festival, Mobile, Ala.

New York, Chicago, Miami, we expect. But Charlotte, N.C.? Baton Rouge, La.? After much deliberation, we finally chose The Mobile Jewish Film Festival, which will feature just seven selections (one of which is still a mystery), but still deserved an award because, well, Alabama.

We don’t know about y’all, but to us, a Jewish film festival in Mobile, Alabama isn’t so stunning. Neither, for that matter, is a Jewish film festival in Charlotte, North Carolina, nor Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (In fact… several of the Southern Jewish film festivals, including the ones in Mobile and Baton Rouge, were started up as part of the ISJL’s Jewish Cinema South regional film festival network.)

In fact, when looking at the communities in-depth, a Jewish film festival in these towns merits more of an “of course.” The Jewish community of Mobile is in fact home to two synagogues (one Reform and one Conservative), a Jewish Family Services, a Jewish Federation, and an excellent Holocaust Library. And then there’s Charlotte, with 12,000 Jews and 26 different Jewish organizations listed in the Jewish community directory. It’s also home to Shalom Park, a 54-acre campus which brings together the entire local Jewish community. Baton Rouge’s community, while small, also has two synagogues, a Federation, and a Hillel located at Louisiana State University.

The two of us writing this post are big-city Yankees in every sense of the term. One of us hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, considerably more well-known for its cheese than its grits. The other one of us is from Baltimore, Maryland, which some might argue has little bits and pieces of Southern character. However, most would agree shares more with Delaware or New Jersey than it does with Louisiana or Tennessee.

We understand the author’s perspective, because at one point each of us shared it with her. Our communities growing up did not discuss the South as a contributor to Jewish life. To be frank, versions of ourselves from a few years ago might not have expected to hear about Southern Jewish Film Festivals, either.

But these feelings of ours were at best sectionalist and at worst ignorant. They failed to recognize the unique and beautiful character of many Southern Jewish communities. They ignored the truth that many of the earliest American Jewish communities sprouted in the South, in locations such as Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Finally, they create a schism between Jews in the North and those beneath the Mason-Dixon line.

We hope the author will come and visit Mobile, Charlotte, or even us at the ISJL headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi. We’re confident that, if she does, she’ll leave with the knowledge that Jewish life in our region is alive and well. And maybe, just maybe, she won’t be so stunned the next time she learns of a Jewish cultural event in the Deep South.

Today’s blog post was co-authored by Education Fellows Dan Ring and Lex Rofes.

Posted on January 17, 2014

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

I Belong Everywhere

state test

This week, as I perused the internet, I stumbled upon a quiz entitled “Where You Belong: Your State Personality.”

It involved a series of ten questions and, at the end, it tells you in which state you should live. I’m a little bit of a sucker for these kinds of quizzes, so I took a stab at it. Based on my answers to the ten questions, I belong in… Georgia!

I was pretty unfazed by this, considering I was raised about twenty-five minutes from the Florida-Georgia Line (the boundary, not the band) and feel comfortable in the area. But this whole concept of a person “belonging” in a state really got me thinking. Is it true? Are there states in which I “belong,” and states in which I do not?

I have never felt this way. In Florida, I belonged. In Massachusetts, I hated the cold, but I belonged. In Mississippi, I belong. However, when I talk to some of my friends, I don’t get the same reaction. Sometimes, my friends are too nervous to even try a new place, a location different from where they grew up.

“The South?” My Northern friends will say. “Oh, no. No thanks, I’m fine up here. I don’t think I could ever move down there.”

“The North?” My Southern friends will say, “Oh, no. I’m fine down here. I don’t think I could ever move up there.”

Why do I feel comfortable everywhere I go, when others just… don’t?

mississippi

The author, now a proud Mississippian

I think I’ve figured it out, though. It’s not that I’m a perfect blend of Northern and Southern, or that I’m more adaptable than most. It’s that I’m Jewish.

After much thought, I realized that this defining characteristic – being Jewish – is what has consistently allowed to me to find a home and to feel comfortable in all the states, and all the countries, in which I have lived. I don’t have to worry about where I will make my first friends, where I will find meaning, or how I will be spiritually fulfilled. All that is a given: I just find the other Jews!

I now realize how incredibly lucky I am, but I also am hopeful that others will understand that they too can belong anywhere once they find their niche, be it a faith community, activity, cause, or passion. Besides, as dynamic personalities, we change and find new ways to fit in, too.

Case in point? I took the quiz three days later to see if it was the same, and this time it said I’m made for Tennessee…maybe that’ll be my next stop!

Posted on November 13, 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