Southern Jewish Life in the News, Part 2

My dear former colleagues at the j. in San Francisco saw fit to publish my op-ed this week on – what else? – the being Jewish in the South. Some days I sure do miss taking the ferry across the Bay and walking to work through the Financial District…

Friday July 11, 2008

Y’all wouldn’t believe the good life of a Southern Jew

by jessica leigh lebos

We Jews are an adaptive bunch. Put us beyond the Pale, in the dusty Negev or on the streets of San Francisco, and we’ll set up shop and shul and do just fine. Yet a couple years ago when I informed my Bay Area friends that my family and I were moving from the foothills of Mount Tamalpais to Savannah, Ga., I got some pretty freaked reactions.

Some folks were mystified: “They allow Jews in the Deep South?”

Some had watched “Deliverance” too many times: “If you find some people burning a cross on your lawn, don’t panic. Just start speaking in tongues, and they’ll think you’re one of them.”

Some were just clueless: “Georgia? Like, Russia? Dude, the housing prices are gonna be so cheap.”

My husband grew up Jewish in Savannah, so I knew better than to think our neighbors would expect us to have horns. Still, I had reservations about leaving. Where else but the Bay Area can the entire family dress in drag for Purim? Would taschlich ever feel as meaningful as it did under the redwoods? Would I be able to find a corned beef sandwich as good as the one at Saul’s?

Read the rest at!

Good Shabbos from the Family Yenta!

4 thoughts on “Southern Jewish Life in the News, Part 2

  1. Hey Yo — You know I’m looking at our temple’s pic you posted and realizing that it is cruciform. Not within the sanctuary, but the social hall is wider than the sanctuary which means it would look like a cross, or maybe a “T” if you were looking down at it.

    It would be interesting to look at the old Gothic shuls that R. Berman mentioned (Rashi shul in Worms, Neualtsynagoge in Prague, & Cracow shul) to see if they are cruciform as well.

  2. Very nice research, Dan! I think our MI is still the most regal though…

    MI’s social hall was rebuilt in the last few years – and wasn’t part of the original architecture – so I think it really is cruciform (with “little” wings – no need for confessional booths or alcoves to worship the Virgin Mother, after all!)

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