With vacations interrupted this year by the Covid pandemic, the Jackson-based Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life has instituted a weekly Virtual Vacation, featuring interactive digital events with museums, historic sites, scholars, chefs and more from across the region.
The Tuesday sessions will be on the ISJL Facebook page, starting with an Aug. 25 discussion of “Why Study Southern Jewish History,” with ISJL Director of History Josh Parshall.
The first session, at 11 a.m., will be a conversation with ISJL Director of Heritage and Interpretation Nora Katz, discussing why the story of the Jewish South matters. There will also be information about the history of the Arbeter Ring (Workmen’s Circle) in the South, and the challenges and joys of developing and maintaining the Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities.
For those who sign up, every Thursday there will be an email with resources, links and educational materials. The weekly updates will be about the week’s theme, with a video or song about the program, a recommended article, a home activity and additional links.
The Sept. 1 session is a virtual visit to Mississippi’s oldest Jewish community, Natchez. Sept. 8 will be an exploration of Summer Camp Magic, Sept. 15 will be Jews and civil rights, and on Sept. 22 there will be a virtual visit to Selma’s historic Jewish community. Additional sessions are being planned, and the series will continue as long as there is demand for further sessions.
“Our goal is to introduce people to key ideas, themes, moments, places, and people in the Jewish South through engaging, interactive programs that draw on our network of historians, scholars, museum professionals, and others,” Katz said. In September and October, there will be a particular emphasis on the history of southern Jews and Civil Rights, “with an emphasis on contemporary organizing for voting rights and civic engagement.”
In addition to the Virtual Vacation, ISJL offers an online Virtual Road Trip through the Jewish South on its website.
To sign up for the Virtual Vacation list, click here.