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!
It’s amazing how everything comes full circle.
Last year at this time, I was in full-out job search mode. I had a few interviews here and there, but I was really focused on one specific job interview—the one where I’d be flying down to Jackson, Mississippi, hoping to land an Education Fellow position at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL).
I knew this was the job I wanted. As a college senior and finalist-candidate for a position, I got the opportunity to fly down to Jackson and see the ISJL office. I was so excited. I flew down last President’s Day weekend to Jackson; it was my first time in the Deep South, and I was nervous. But I walked out of the airport into 80-degree weather, in February—and coming from Wisconsin, this was a good start for me.
I was greeted by two Education Fellows, who were friendly and welcoming and eager to meet me and show me how much they love this job.
Luckily, everything went as hoped: I was offered a fellowship. I took the job. I packed up my things after graduation in May and headed down to Jackson for the start of a new adventure. And now, looking back on my past 9 months in Jackson, it really has been a crazy adventure.
Flash-forward almost a year to the day, and I was sitting at my desk in the ISJL office in Jackson typing this blog… while preparing to welcome this year’s second round of Potential New Fellows (“PNFs”) getting flown down to Jackson to see and experience what it’s like here. And it makes me remember how I felt in these moments last year.
It’s weird to think about that less than a year ago, I was in their position. I remember two of my current coworkers picking me up from the airport with a sign in their hand saying my name. And here I was, preparing to do the same thing.
So now, it’s full circle. And I think that’s pretty cool. I’m looking back on how much I’ve changed, how much I’ve experienced, how much I’ve already grown and how much I know I will continue to grow in the upcoming year. Getting to meet the PNFs, and show them everything I have come to love and appreciate about this job and the community of Jackson and Southern Jewish Life, was an important reminder to me of just how exciting this whole journey continues to be.