This website is made possible by generous donations from users just like you. $18 helps keep JWA online for one day. Please consider making a gift to JWA today!
Close [x]

You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

American South

Eyes Wide Open

It’s hard to admit I’m not an expert when it comes to race. I do my best to be as informed as possible, but as a privileged white woman, I recognize I’ll never be able to fully understand systemic racism and how it affects people of color. On a school trip to the American South, though, my eyes were opened further, and I learned that there’s far more to racial injustice in this country than I was aware of initially.

Passover in Charleston

I went to Charleston, South Carolina during the week of Passover to escape the fact that this year my holiday didn’t really feel like a holiday. My three kids were with their father for the week, according to the custody schedule. My parents and siblings were in Israel, and I’d decided not to join them there.

My boyfriend and I had picked Charleston because it was a city I’d never been to and as a Southerner myself, I’d always wanted to visit. But until now, it had never made it to the top of the list – and indeed, my own sense of myself as a Southerner was fading. The longer I lived away – in New York and now in Boston - the less present that personal and family history felt, more a piece of where I come from, but less and less who I am.

Dayenu. Dayenu. Dayenu.

This past year, I took a group of seven teens on a tour of the American South. The trip was inspired by my desire to infuse young people with a sense of history and context as it relates to Judaism in the South and Jews in the Civil Rights Movement.

We began in Atlanta, then drove to Alabama, stopping in Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, and many places in between. We met with people who had lived through segregation and fought against it. We saw the Rosa Parks Museum, experienced history, and talked about what it means to be an American Jew from the Northeast.

Interview with Mary Glickman: Enthralling Author, Charming Mensch (Part I)

Mary Glickman is a writer, public relations professional, and fundraiser who has worked with Jewish charities and organizations.

Community Organizing I: Freedom Summer

Explore the role of community organizing, Jewish values, and moral conviction in the lives of young civil rights activists as you imagine yourself a participant in Mississippi Freedom Summer.

Moments of Personal Resistance

Examine how individuals take stands against racism and injustice using an essay by Grace Paley and three other short vignettes of individual protest.

Power, Privilege, and Responsibility

Analyze how power and privilege shape our relationships and involvement in social justice and activism, using sources including clips from the film Driving Miss Daisy.

Jews and the Civil Rights Movement: the Whys and Why Nots

Assume the roles of Southern Jews participating in a Temple board meeting on whether or not to support Northern Jewish activists staging a protest in town.

Phoebe Yates Levy Pember

The life of Phoebe Yates Levy Pember, Confederate administrator of Chimborazo Hospital outside Richmond, Virginia, in many ways epitomizes the high level of acculturation, regional identity, and acceptance into Christian society that characterized second- and third-generation southern Jews in the nineteenth century.

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "American South." (Viewed on December 16, 2017) <https://jwa.org/tags/american-south>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs