As I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, I have always wanted to be considered a Southerner. Some of my friends in college told me I was a Yankee because I was born in New York. Truth be told, this may be the first time I am publicly announcing that. It's not that I am not proud of our Northern states, or that I am embarrassed to have been born in NY, but nothing about me IS New York. I am a DIE-HARD Atlanta Braves fan, a Georgia BullDAWG through and through, and want to eventually return to the South to live. As Batya is from Texas, settling somewhere far away from snow is ideal! Of course, I have to admit I am a New York Giants fan, but when I was growing up in Columbia, SC, the Atlanta Falcons didn't exist yet! So, I rooted for the team my Dad did...and that has stuck with me. But, rest assured, I am a Southerner.
This past weekend, I ventured to a new congregation, Meir Chayim, in McGehee, Arkansas. This little town of a few thousand is situated close to Dumas, Dermott, and a few other small towns. The entire population of the four or five cities I drove through getting to McGehee was around 10,000. So, we're talking REALLY Southern. Truth is, there used to be a nice sized Jewish community there. For lots of reasons, mostly economic, 99% of the Jews have moved away, and the congregation in McGehee is struggling. I will tell you, though, they truly know Southern hospitality, and those that I visited are proud of their Jewish heritage! I conducted Kabbalat Shabbat services, had a short Religious School session on Saturday, and visited some very nice folks in their homes. It was a great visit, and it reminded just how important Southern Jewry is!
On another note, we are nearing the midterm of second semester. I am totally overwhelmed right now with the amount of work to be done, but I'll pull through as I always do...just have to keep my head in the books, and keep my eyes on the goal! I will be returning to Beth Isaac in Trenton this weekend, and I am looking forward to that visit. They are also a very gracious congregation, and it's always a lot of fun visiting with them!
Check out my brother's blog - it's new and improved, and it even has a new name!
Be well, and stay safe!