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!
I love New Year’s Eve. I love reflecting on the past year, celebrating with friends, and watching the ball drop. I love the sense of newness and the feeling that anything is possible. I’m a holiday enthusiast in general, and this one is great. But while I enjoy the beginning of every new year, I am especially excited for the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 – because I’ll be that much closer to completing my Jewish graduate school experience while living in Mississippi.
In 2015 I started a master’s program in Jewish Education at Hebrew College in Boston (online, from Jackson!). In 2016, I added a specialization onto my degree: Interfaith Families Jewish Engagement – something really relevant to me, personally and professionally, especially after several years on staff at the ISJL. Now, entering 2017, I am hitting another milestone: I will be halfway done with my three-year program. WOW.
As I sit here at my desk, the place where I do most of my homework when everyone at the office has gone home for the evening, I am shocked by this realization, and proud of the hard work that has gotten me to this point. I am also incredibly excited for the next year-and-a-half. As a distance student, studying with colleagues from all over the world, I hear new perspectives and insights on the Jewish community every day. I hear challenges and I hear success stories. I learn practices from my colleagues that I can then implement in my Southern and Jewish community. And, in addition to listening, I get to share.
As the only student from Mississippi, I love telling my classmates about the vibrant Jewish community in Jackson, and the vibrant Jewish communities across the South. Everyone is interested in what Jewish life is like here, and I am more than happy to share.
So, as we welcome 2017, I am excited. I am excited to keep learning about Jewish communities around the world and teaching my classmates about the Jewish communities in the South. And, yes of course – I am excited to be halfway done! Knowing my graduate goals can be achieved even from afar, and I can continue serving Southern Jewry along the way, gives me new energy for my new semester. Happy New Year to all!