Monthly Update • Thursday, January 21
ISJL Virtual Vacation Junior: Southern Jewish Immigration
Tuesday, January 26, at 11am Central
Join the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) on Tuesday, January 26, for a hands-on exploration of the southern Jewish immigrant experience. This episode is geared toward third through fifth graders, although there is something in the episode for viewers of all ages. Starting in the mid-eighteenth century, Jewish immigrants left their homes in Europe and came to America in search of economic opportunity and religious and civic freedoms. Many southern immigrants soon became peddlers, and began to get accustomed to American culture while traveling through the South. Contemporary American immigration has many parallels with historic Jewish immigration—immigrants still come to the United States and face incredible odds to build better lives for themselves and their families.

Parents, grandparents, and caregivers, this is a wonderful episode to enjoy with the young people in your life! You'll learn together as you meet a southern Jewish immigrant, learn about her life in Europe, help her pack for the journey to America, sail with her across the Atlantic Ocean, and help her build a new life in the United States. Viewers will even get to write poems about their American experiences!
This episode uses a Southern Jewish Immigration Workbook, available for download here (and on the ISJL Virtual Vacation website). For the most engaging experience, download and print it (and grab a pen or pencil) before watching the episode!

If you don't use Facebook or can't watch the program live, find it any time on the ISJL Virtual Vacation website.
Past Program: Holiday Shopping in the Jewish South
Last month, we visited the Jewish South's family-owned businesses. Many people in small southern towns are familiar with Jewish names on storefronts—it was fairly common for Jews to work in dry goods and retail, and for downtown streets to be lined with Jewish-owned shops. We met Jewish people who grew up in (or currently run) small businesses in the South. We heard their stories—and their memories of the Christmas season at Jewish-run businesses.

If you missed the session, it's available any time on our website.
Goldberg's Shoe Store in Greenwood, Mississippi. Photo courtesy of Gail Goldberg.
Go Deeper
There are lots of terrific resources to engage young people in the story of immigration. Here are a few of our favorites!

Children's Books About Immigration

There are many other books for children on this topic. This list is a terrific place to start.

Resources for Teaching Immigration

  • Teaching Tolerance has many excellent guides for talking to kids about immigration, racism, and more. For a starting point, see their "Immigration Myths" lesson plan.
  • Facing History and Ourselves also offers resources about teaching race, immigration, and traumatic history. Check out their resource on Teaching Current Events: Global Immigration.
  • The Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the teaching of people's history in classrooms across the country. Their resources have been instrumental in the development of the ISJL Virtual Vacation. Their immigration materials are a great introduction to their important work.
  • Finally, there's no doubt that race has much to do with immigration, especially American immigration. For strategies on how to talk to children about race in ways that are positive, affirming, and proactive, look for resources from Race Conscious Children.

Take Action

Immigration is at the core of the American story. As we'll learn in the upcoming Virtual Vacation episode, it's up to us to welcome immigrants to the United States with open arms. There are a number of ways to take action to advance immigrants' rights. The following recommendations just scratch the surface:

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Welcome to the ISJL Virtual Vacation!
We're excited to introduce you to the South’s vibrant cultural heritage, the big themes of southern Jewish history, the folks working to advance social justice in the South, and our region’s natural beauty, music, and food. There’s so much to explore—join us for a summer vacation from the comfort of your home!

Weekly digital events—live on the ISJL Facebook page and available any time on the ISJL Virtual Vacation website—feature museums, historic sites, scholars, chefs, and more from across the region.

Sign up now to join the journey. We're excited to travel with you, wherever you are.
Start your virtual southern Jewish journey with ISJL resources designed to provide engaging windows into the history of the Jewish South.
The ISJL's Virtual Road Trip Through the Jewish South is an interactive collection of online resources accessible from anywhere. Check it out and get inspired before you begin the Virtual Vacation!
We'll travel again soon! When it's safe to hit the road, the ISJL can build a variety of trips through different southern states, emphasizing southern Jewish life, Civil Rights history, and southern culture. It's never too early to start planning your group's next adventure!