Southern & Jewish
Southern & Jewish celebrates the stories, people, and experiences – past and present – of Jewish life in the American South. Hosted by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, posts come from educators, students, rabbis, parents, artists, and many other “visitors-to and daily-livers-of” the Southern Jewish experience. From road trips to recipes to reflections, we’ll explore a little bit of everything – well, at least all things Southern and/or Jewish. Shalom, y’all!
With three months left of my time as an Education Fellow at the ISJL, the final countdown of this Southern and Jewish adventure has begun. I find myself looking forward to my next adventure while still making the most of my five remaining visits. There’s no better way to make sure you check off everything on your Education Fellow bucket list than sharing that countdown list with y’all, so here goes!
5. Play a saxophone during services.
I have played the tenor saxophone since 5th grade, though I didn’t get to play it much in college.When I was packing up to move to Jackson, space in my car was very limited, so I emailed Rabbi Dreffin to see if it was worth bringing my saxophone down. His enthusiastic yes got me thinking of all the ways I could use my rusty musical skills in my new job. I have played my saxophone for a few congregations, and it is always a good time. Once I even played a song on my sax instead of giving a D’var Torah! Getting to do one more Southern Shabbat on the saxophone before finishing my fellowship was a bucket-list must– so on my upcoming visit to Missouri City, Texas, I will be performing with their guitarist a few songs at Saturday morning services.
4. Visit the Bill Clinton Presidential Library
Little Rock is one of the communities I serve. It’s a historical town that has a lot of cool things to do. I’ve always found fun stuff there, like a knitting store called Yarn Mart. I bought some funky red patterned yarn and chatted with the woman working there about Little Rock’s Jewish community. This time around, I want to go see the Bill Clinton Presidential Library. I have never been to a Presidential Library before so I am looking forward to my visit!
3. Go see Rachel Stern in San Antonio
Our fearless leader Rachel Stern lives in a mystical land called “San Antonio,” overseeing our Mississippi-based office from afar most weeks. I have never been to San Antonio but it sounds like a really cool place. (It has to be if Rachel Stern lives there.) Last time I was in Corpus Christi, Texas, everyone there was shocked that I had never been to San Antonio. They love it, and lucky me… the next time I’m heading to Corpus Christi, my host family’s kid has a soccer game in San Antonio. They offered to bring me along when they head to the soccer field, so I’ll finally be able to see San Antonio. See you soon, Rachel!
2. Use The ISJL Selfie Stick
My fellow Fellow, Leah Apothaker, made a donation in kind to the ISJL in the form of a selfie stick. I have yet to take it for a spin, but so far it has produced some great photos from the road and the office. I want to use it on my upcoming trip to Knoxville, Tennessee, to get an aerial shot of students playing our giant Chutes & Ladders game!
1. Lead A Program Outside
Last time I was in Pinehurst, North Carolina, our planned outdoors-program got rained out– but this time I will be redeemed! The Sandhills Jewish Congregation is a relatively new congregation with a lovely building, but it is a smaller space than some other synagogues. However, they have a large parking lot and a big outdoor space, great for all kinds of activities. I want my last visit to be full of fun and the best way I know how to do that is to get outside of the classroom.
I cannot wait to kick-off my countdown. I am going to miss my communities, but this list will help me achieve my goals and make the most out of the time that I have left. Five visits, four states, three long drives, two flights, and one fellow, adventure is out there!
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.