By Dale Rosengarten, Director, and
Shari Rabin, Associate Director, Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture
Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program Newsletter, Spring 2016

The Center’s activities actually began at the end of August with a visit from Hebrew Union College Professor Michael A. Meyer, who had come to consult the Rabbi Jacob Raisin papers in the College of Charleston’s Jewish Heritage Collection (JHC). Professor Meyer was our first Charleston Research Fellow, and while he was in town, he gave the Jewish Studies Program’s first fall Sunday brunch lecture on the changing roles and robes of the modern rabbi. Future fellows of the Center will come from the ranks of academics, journalists, and others working on projects that would benefit from the resources for studying southern Jewish history at JHC, the College, and the city.

To spread the word about our work, we recently attended the Southern Jewish Historical Society’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina’s fall meeting in Columbia and Orangeburg. At a College of Charleston campus event on diversity and creativity called “Boundless Words and Voices,” we reached out to undergraduates. We have also begun to make waves on the Internet. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

In the coming year our new website will host two exciting online exhibitions: Synagogues of the South, based on postcard images from the William A. Rosenthall Judaica Collection in Special Collections at Addlestone Library, will explore the mostly lost history of Jewish sanctuaries in the American South; Mapping Jewish Charleston will show how the city’s Jewish geography has changed over four centuries.

On March 20th we will welcome novelist Steve Stern, whose new book, The Pinch, chronicles the zany history of Memphis’s traditional Jewish neighborhood. We also will co-sponsor, with the JCC, a screening in April of Carvalho’s Journey, a feature-length film about Charleston-born Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815–1897), pioneering American Jewish artist and daguerreotypist.

As we bring our passion for southern Jewish history to a broader audience, the best is yet to come!