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!
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.
The conference is primarily organized and run by the Education Department. For three conferences, I was a member of the education team and was always so excited to show off the amazing things we were doing in that department and the different ways we could support communities. For the past year, I have been in a new role, serving as the Programming Coordinator, leading another one of the ISJL’s fabulous departments: Cultural Programming. With the conference approaching, I got a little nervous: What would it be like to be out of the education world at conference?
When the conference finally arrived the last weekend of June, while I did miss being an ambassador for the Education Department, I loved getting to share the world of Cultural Programming with so many community members face-to- face. We have a vast array of performers and presenters, and getting to share the types of events we can help a community host was a whole new kind of exciting.
On the Monday night of the conference, comedian Dave Goldstein, a presenter from our presenters’ roster (the great collection of artists, performers, scholars and more that we put on the road to visit Southern Jewish communities), made everyone roll with laughter. Afterward, I had so many community members coming up to me asking how they could get him in their communities. It got me so fired up for the programming year ahead!
Currently we have 15 people included in our presenters’ roster, and that number is continuing to grow. I encourage you to check out the Cultural Programming page of the ISJL website to see what piques your interest– whether you’re in the South and want to book a presenter, or you’re outside of the South and want to see the amazing level of talent the ISJL helps make accessible to Southern Jewish communities.
While I wasn’t in the Education Department at this year’s conference, it was still such an excellent reminder to me of how much my own department has to offer. I encourage you to check it out!