Tag Archives: Delta

Delta Deli Day 2013!

This week, we have a special “Snapshots from the Southern Jewish Road” collection of pictures to share with you, from last week’s Deli Day at Hebrew Union Congregation in Greenville, MS, right in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.

HUC used to be the largest congregation in the state (you can read more about the history of the Greenville Jewish community here). Now, the membership numbers have diminished- but the spirit has not, and that’s never more evident than on the day that HUC invites the rest of Greenville to come to the congregation for a good old fashioned deli lunch, featuring, of course, corned beef sandwiches with all the “fixin’”s.

This tradition has lasted for 130 years – and this year, several of the ISJL Education Fellows went up to the Delta again to help serve the record 2,000 sandwiches sold at the 2013 deli luncheon. They shared these photographs. Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom, y’all!

Education Fellows Amanda, Reva, and Elaine pose with Richard Dattel

                              Education Fellows Amanda, Reva, and Elaine pose with Richard Dattel

Ben's eager to sample the goods; Erin and Dan have to remind him "not yet"!

                  Ben’s eager to sample the goods; Erin and Dan have to remind him “not yet”!

Who wouldn't want a Cake Raffle ticket??

                                                   Who wouldn’t want a Cake Raffle ticket??

 Prepping in the kitchen

                                      Prepping in the kitchen
Ready for a sandwich - or 2,000!

Ready for a sandwich – or 2,000!

If you want to learn even more about this community, and the Deli Day in particular, Vox Tablet did a great mini-podcast story on it two years ago – wherein the interviewees talk about the importance of preserving this tradition. What’s a tradition that your community is committed to preserving?

 

Posted on March 8, 2013

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From the Collection: Clarksdale’s Spunky, Scrapbooking Youth

The Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience has a collection of over 3,000 objects and archival materials that tell the story of Southern Jewish communities.  This includes temple sisterhood minutes, Jewish store memorabilia and objects from temples that are no longer active.  I’m excited to use this space to share some pieces that best illustrate the history of these communities.

1970 Clarksdale Temple Youth Group Yearbook

I’ll start with one of my favorites, a collection of youth group scrapbooks from Clarksdale, Mississippi. Clarksdale, most famously known as home of the Blues, also happened to have some Jews. We have 8 books from 1962-1975 in our collection but this one from 1970 stands out because of its ornate custom circular design and hand drawn calligraphy. Someone crafty was clearly excited about being yearbook editor.

The Clarksdale Jewish community has a long history, starting with early Jewish settlers in the 1880’s. At its peak in the 1930’s, Clarksdale was home to 400 Jews, but by 1970  the  community was only a hundred families; the youth group had  25 members. This group was active in the  community and participated in regional conclaves that enabled them to network with other Jewish teens in the SOFTY (Southern Federation of Temple Youth) region.

Here are some of the gems from their scrapbook:

Making the local newspaper, Gerald Kline is elected youth group chapter president.

A play on marijuana performed at the 1970 SOFTY Conclave hosted in Clarksdale

Anyone recognize this classic marshmallow icebreaker?

Purim Party in Clarksdale

I can’t help but wonder what these kids would have thought about their book being cataloged into this museum archive. Could they have known that their thick rimmed glasses would come back into style 40 years later? Would they have included their “play on marijuana,” featuring a progressive dialogue between teenagers and their parents on the merits of the drug?

These scrapbooks are especially telling of the Southern experience because it was this generation of young people who did not stay in Clarksdale or other Delta towns to grow the Jewish community but moved to larger cities like Memphis  for greater opportunity. As a result, the community could no longer sustain the congregation and, like many pieces in our collection, these artifacts are from a temple that had to shut its doors.

They are paper and glue relics of the past since today most of our memories are posted to digital pages on Facebook. These should inspire you to print out your favorite Instagram shots and paste some into a book. You never know what important material (or embarrassing hair cut) you’ll be leaving for historians to blog about in the future.

Posted on October 12, 2012

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