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!
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. We’re kicking off the series with this post from Leah Wittenberg, who will spend the next two years as an ISJL Education Fellow.
These past few weeks have been a whirlwind, with all the collective craziness that has emerged from studying for finals and graduating and packing for my big move from Boston to Jackson. Because of all that frenzy, I haven’t really had time to reflect on how excited I am for this opportunity. I have rarely visited and never lived in the South, so this experience is going to be entirely new to me.
I can’t wait to bond with the other Fellows and everyone in the office. When I went to Jackson for my interview, one of my favorite parts was getting to know all of the amazing people at the ISJL and their friends in town. I am really excited to go to Fondren’s First Thursdays and to live in this up-and-coming neighborhood within Jackson. I also think I’m ready for the hot and humid weather after all of these years living in cold climates (Chicago and Boston). I am planning to immerse myself in the Jackson culture by tasting as much Southern-and-Jewish food as I can (lox and grits?!), joining equality committees, and taking exercise classes at the Y.
I’m especially looking forward to contributing to the Jewish community in Jackson, and all across the South as I travel to serve the communities I’ll be visiting and exploring. After many months of anticipation this next chapter of my life is finally starting to feel real, and I can’t wait to see all that Jackson has in store for me this summer and beyond.
Stay tuned for more of Leah’s adventures – and the Southbound thoughts of the rest of her cohort headed this way!