The Center for Southern Jewish Culture has had a busy 2016! Our website went live in March, helping expand our online presence. You can now find us at JewishSouth.cofc.edu, in addition to Facebook.com/JewishSouth, and Twitter.com/JewishSouth. We are also compiling an email list. If you’d like to receive the latest information about the Center’s activities, sign up at http://jewishsouth.cofc.edu/contact-us/email-list/.
In the spring we hosted our second film screening, of Carvalho’s Journey, which charts the remarkable life and work of Charleston Jewish photographer and artist Solomon Nunes Carvalho and which includes Center Director Dale Rosengarten as a talking head! Director Steve Rivo joined us for a Q&A and reception following the film, which was co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center Without Walls.
In March we hosted our first sponsored Sunday speaker, Steve Stern, author of The Pinch, a novel of Jewish Memphis, and our second Charleston Research Fellow, Sandra Fox, a PhD candidate in Hebrew and Judaic Studies and History at New York University. Fox undertook research in the College’s Addlestone Library and gave a public workshop on her dissertation, which shows how postwar Jewish youth movements and summer camps throughout the United States combined forms of Jewish nationalism with opportunities for youth to “perform” authentic Jewishness. We also held our first walking tour, with Harlan Greene, a Center affiliate. Ten Charleston young professionals meandered south of Broad Street, learning about “Jews Who Broke the Rules” before enjoying a drink at the Craftsmen Kitchen & Tap House. Meanwhile, work on our digital projects continued apace, with considerable progress made on both “Synagogues of the South” and “Mapping Jewish Charleston.”
Summertime was conference season, with the Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in Charleston and the American Jewish Historical Society Biennial Scholars’ Conference in New York City. In Charleston, Harlan presented on “Mapping Jewish Charleston,” while Dale presented on Charleston artists Theodore Sidney Moïse and Solomon Nunes Carvalho. In New York City, Shari Rabin was on the program as a presenter and respondent. She also hosted an informal happy hour for conference attendees – the Scholars’ Conference’s first and only – in order to spread the word about our activities and encourage applications to the Charleston Research Fellowship.
This fall, director Dale Rosengarten will be on sabbatical, so Shari Rabin will be serving as acting director. On September 28, the Center is sponsoring the first talk in the Jewish Studies Program’s lunchtime series on “Jews and Elections.” Professor Rabin will present on the presidential election of 1860, in which sectionalism flourished and the country’s first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, was elected. On October 30, we will welcome Kimberly Hartnett, author of Carolina Israelite: How Harry Golden Made us Care about Jews, the South, and Civil Rights, rescheduled after the epic flooding of last October, as a sponsored Sunday speaker. We look forward to the upcoming academic year and to continuing conversations about the southern Jewish experience!