The Center for Southern Jewish Culture had an exciting 2017! This past Spring, we hosted “An Evening with Kinky Friedman,” the iconoclastic Texas singer and politician. He gave a free performance to a crowd of over 150 and participated in an on-stage conversation with acting director Shari Rabin about his life and career as a Jewish southerner. We also hosted research fellow Luke Wilson, a PhD student in Holocaust studies at Florida Atlantic University, and Steve Krause, co-editor of To Stand Aside or Stand Alone: Southern Reform Rabbis and the Civil Rights Movement, who gave a fascinating Sunday talk. In May, we stepped onto the other side of the podium at the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina meeting, speaking, along with Center affiliate Harlan Greene, about our “Mapping Jewish Charleston” digital exhibition. Work is still underway on this ambitious project, but as those in attendance were able to see, when completed it will offer an insightful – and visually beautiful – overview of where and how Charleston Jews worked, lived, and prayed from the colonial period to the present day.

This summer, Shari Rabin traveled to New York City to conduct research and to Jerusalem to speak at the World Congress of Jewish Studies, an international conference held every four years. Dale Rosengarten was home in McClellanville finishing up her sabbatical. Dale will be returning to the Center as associate director, as Shari Rabin is moving into the role of director. This relationship has always and will continue to be a very collaborative one, even with the switch in titles.

Save the dates now, because our main fall events are coming up early in the semester! On Sunday, August 27 at 10am, historian Jenna Weissman Joselit will speak about the southern stories in her new book, Set in Stone: America’s Embrace of the Ten Commandments. At 7pm on September 5, we will also host Jeffrey Rosen, contributing editor to The Atlantic, fellow at the Brookings Institution, George Washington University law professor, and president of the National Constitution Center. Rosen will speak in the Stern Center ballroom about his book Louis Brandeis: American Prophet in a Constitution Day event co-sponsored by academic affairs, the pre-law program, and the first year experience program.