What makes a house a home? Transforming what was once just a brick and wood into a place for families to gather, friends to laugh, and lives to unfold takes a lot of work. For me, the idea of turning a house into a home is no longer just a cliché, but a reality.
I don’t mean to brag, but I’m basically the number one expert on Southern Jewish road trips. See, I’ve logged a lot of miles traveling the South from Jewish community to Jewish community. More than 225,000 of them, as a matter of fact.
When I first told people that I was moving to Mississippi to work for a Jewish organization, I received a wide variety of reactions.
I consider myself to be a versatile teacher. I’ve taught all ages, all topics, and in all settings—or so I thought. But this week, I had an all new setting for teaching Judaism: at the gym, during an actual exercise class.
Today’s post is co-written by two Jewish professionals, Amy (Steinberg) Goldberg and Ali Duhan, who share the love of one car and many Southern road trips.
My family and friends back home were baffled when I announced that, upon graduating from college, I would be moving to Jackson, Mississippi. After all, it isn’t exactly the most common thing for a Jewish girl from New York to do.
I just completed a two-month Sabbatical from my congregation in New Orleans. I spent most of that time visiting small Southern Jewish congregations, going from town to town on my motorcycle. I visited congregations in Lafayette, Louisiana; Natchez, Mississippi; Selma, Alabama; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Monroe, Louisiana; and Galveston, Texas.
Over and over again, I have noticed that when someone says “ugh, they don’t get it” when talking about someone else it often means “I don’t want to explain it” or “If I explain it, you’ll probably still be too (fill in the blank) to understand.” In other words, “You just don’t get it” is an excuse not to partake in uncomfortable dialogue.
“I don’t speak because I have the power to speak; I speak because I don’t have the power to remain silent.” – Rabbi A.Y. Kook
Editor’s Note: This is the blog we had scheduled to run today: a lovely piece about any gathering place becoming a sacred space because of the people there. As we read the news from Charleston this morning, we were shocked and saddened. We mourn the tragic loss of life, the violent deaths of men and women who had gathered in their sacred space to learn and pray together. This violation is painful, unjust, and heartbreakingly wrong. We are still posting this piece, along with our prayers for peace, and our hope that all places, and all people, will be safe to gather and share in fellowship.