When you enter rabbinical school, you get used to a couple of questions. Chief among them: What made you decide to go to rabbinical school? And what do you want to do after you get ordained? For me, those answers are actually one and the same: I want to be a military chaplain.
Here’s the news from Mississippi: It’s hot, y’all.
During the fall of 2011 Margaret Anne Goldsmith, a descendant of the first four Jewish families to settle in Huntsville, Alabama, donated her collection of family heirlooms to the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia (NMAJH). A number of these artifacts are now being exhibited in the Museum’s core exhibition. The Museum was especially interested in Margaret Anne’s collection since the story it tells provides a meaningful counterpoint to the more well-known stories of the Jewish communities in large northern cities.
Ever since I was in elementary school, I have always had a strong connection to prayer. On Friday nights during services, I would often find myself overcome with emotions—sad ones, not just happy or peaceful ones like you might expect—and I would cry. I remember one specific time in fifth grade when my rabbi took me outside the sanctuary to make sure everything was okay. She asked me what was wrong, but I couldn’t place the origin of my tears, and I assured her everything was fine.
As we prepare to welcome more than a half-dozen new Jewish professionals to Mississippi for internships and fellowships at the ISJL, we’ve asked a few of them to share their thoughts on heading South. The fourth piece in this series comes from Rachel Fraade, who will spend the next two years as an ISJL Education Fellow.
Summer at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) is a busy and exciting time. During the month of June, the staff works together to prepare for our annual Education Conference, where members of the communities that use our education curriculum come to Jackson for three days of learning, networking, and community.
When a person moves to a new house, there are rituals, of sorts, that celebrate the milestone. We hang a mezuzah on the door and recite Bir’kat Habayit, the blessing for the home. We invite friends and families and new neighbors to the home to “christen” it with conversations and friendship and laughter.
Two months ago, something unexpected happened: I found out that I had stage three cancer.
When I began my position as Director of Rabbinic Services at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life just over two years ago, it felt a bit like the Exodus, but in reverse: I was leaving the Promised Land of West Los Angeles, bound for the wilderness of the Deep South.
As we prepare to welcome more than a half-dozen new Jewish professionals to Mississippi for internships and fellowships at the ISJL, we’ve asked a few of them to share their thoughts on heading South. This time, meet our new Community Engagement Fellow, Rachel Glazer. She’ll be here for the next two years, working on programs to make the world a better place!