As we prepare to commemorate Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, I’ve been thinking about my father- in- law, Leon Schipper, z’’l.
In our Southern and Jewish blog, we usually focus on topics that are… well, Southern and Jewish. This one might seem a little random, but it springs from our time on the road as Education Fellows, and a shared food obsession. Also, last week Bethany & Arielle’s boss wrote about his specific-sandwich craving during the Passover Pilgrimage, and this seems a fitting follow up. So here it is—two nice Jewish girls’ stories and rankings of getting our Chipotle fixes while on the road in the South!
I’m a Florida native. I’ve been described as a fish, spending so much time in the water, swimming and splashing in the sun. Now, I live in Mississippi — and while I miss the sand and salt water of the gulf shore of Florida, there’s something I wish Jackson had even more than a real beach: Publix.
Is there any topic more Jewish than food? I feel like a pretty strong argument can be made that food is one of our most unifying obsessions– even when we don’t eat the same foods. It’s something I think about a lot. I don’t keep kosher, but I do eat quite mindfully; my culinary considerations are an ongoing part of my Jewish identity. It’s a subject I explored in one of the earliest Southern & Jewish blog posts. But there’s one week of the year when I do entirely overhaul my eating practices, and follow Jewish-food-rules far more closely: Passover.
Where I grew up in Connecticut, “road trip” typically meant a trip to New York City or to Boston – both being about two hours away, without too much traffic. As a kid I remember preparing for these long journeys, gathering a pillow, blanket, books and my cassette player and splaying my feet out in the back seat. (Can you tell I was an only child?)
Sometimes, being Southern and Jewish means raising our voice. The Board of Directors of the Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) meets in person twice a year, and approximately every fourth meeting is held in Jackson, Mississippi, where the regional organization is headquartered. This April, the Board gathered together once more in Mississippi, right as the conversations were heating up around the state’s controversial HB 1523.
We live in exciting times – but also trying times. Over the last year, in particular, I have observed and read about some very scary things take place around the world and in our own backyards. (Certainly the case here in Mississippi.) So much time has been spent of divisiveness, hate, anger, frustration, and cruelty. Many of our would-be leaders seem to be bring out the worst in us, both by example and by request. Countless tears have been shed and countless wounds have tried to heal and yet, this forward march toward division continues steadily like a metronome to a John Phillips Sousa march.
“You were my first Jew, you know,” a friend reminded me the other day.
“They tried to kill us; we won; let’s eat.”
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to this year’s Mensch Madness final game!