Monthly Update • Thursday, February 18
Southern Jewish Music: Jews and Country
Tuesday, February 23, at 11am Central
Join the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) on Tuesday, February 23, for a celebration of Jews and country music. It may seem like an unusual combination, but the intersection of Judaism and Americana music has been expanding ever since the American folk music revival of the 1940s and 1950s, resulting in a group of contemporary artists who are exploring Jewish identity through new musical fusions. Although the Jewish community doesn’t necessarily play a dominant creative role in Nashville's Music Row or in contemporary music production, Jews have substantially contributed to the genre, illuminating broader themes of assimilation and acculturation in southern and American Jewish history.

This episode features conversations with Nashville writer and music historian Stacy Harris and Jewish Americana artist Joe Buchanan. Join us for great music and engaging conversation!

From top: Joe Buchanan, Kinky Friedman, and Ray Benson.
Go Deeper
There's so much to learn about Jews and country music. The articles that form the foundation of this episode are Stacy Harris' "Kosher Country: Success and Survival on Nashville's Music Row" and "The Valley of the Dry Bones: The Presence and Perseverance of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness in Country Music and Bluegrass" by Shirli Brautbar, Peter La Chapelle, and Jessica Hutchings.

Of course, you can't talk about Jewish country without talking about Kinky Friedman. This not-exactly-safe-for-work 2018 Rolling Stone profile captures some of his colorful irreverence.

Read about contemporary artists making Jewish Americana music, and get a sneak peek of next month's musical guests—Nefesh Mountain!
It's a musical episode, so there's lots to listen to this month. First and foremost, check out our Jews, Country, and Bluegrass playlist on Spotify. The playlist features all of the artists and songs we mention in the episode, along with many more. Have it on repeat before and after you watch the episode—hopefully you'll discover some new favorite artists.

Shel Silverstein, best known as a children's author and poet, was a prolific songwriter—he penned "A Boy Named Sue," made famous by Johnny Cash. A 2010 album paid tribute to his songs, featuring covers by artists including John Prine, My Morning Jacket, and Lucinda Williams. There's more to learn in this NPR Music interview with the album's producers.
Our musical guest this month is Jewish Americana artist Joe Buchanan. Check out his website, and find his music everywhere you listen. If you love Joe as much as we do, bring him to your community through the ISJL's Cultural Programming department.

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Last Month's Episode
ISJL Virtual Vacation JUNIOR: Southern Jewish Immigration
Last month, we met German Jewish immigrant Esther and followed her on her journey to Texas. 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. This hands-on episode is geared toward third through fifth graders and their families.

If you missed the episode, it's available any time on our website.
Are you enjoying the ISJL Virtual Vacation? We want to hear from you as we plan for the future of the program. Reply to this email with questions, comments, feedback, and ideas for episodes you'd like to see in the future!
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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!