Monthly Update • Thursday, April 22
Visit the Mississippi Delta
Tuesday, April 27, at 11am Central
Join the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) on Tuesday, April 27, for a virtual visit to the Mississippi Delta. This episode is an exploration of this diverse, complex, and vibrant region in northwestern Mississippi—featuring virtual visits to sites across the Delta and conversations with folks who are currently working to tell the Delta's story. We also spend time talking about the Delta's rich Jewish history—at one point, the majority of Mississippi's Jewish population lived and worked in the Delta.

This episode features Dr. Rolando Herts (director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area) and Malika Polk-Lee (director of the B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center), along with visits to Greenwood, Greenville, Indianola, Mound Bayou, and the Delta National Forest. Along the way, we're talking about music, the Delta's distinct southern and African American culture, and the region's changing landscape. You don't want to miss this one.

View of the Yalobusha River in Greenwood, Mississippi
Go Deeper
Read
This episode owes a great intellectual debt to a few key resources about the history of the Mississippi Delta: James C. Cobb's The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity and the rich resources of the Mississippi Encyclopedia. The Mississippi section of the ISJL's Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities is also an essential resource.
Engage
Even though this episode is focused on the Delta's history, the story of the Mississippi Delta is ongoing. Many individuals and institutions are doing meaningful interpretive and community-building work in the Delta, including the Meraki Roasting Company by Griot Arts and the Crossroads Cultural Arts Center (both of which are based in Clarksdale).

All of our interviewees for this episode (along with the ISJL staff!) hope that you will visit the Mississippi Delta when it's safe to travel again. The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is in the process of developing a Civil Rights heritage archive; a map of some of the Delta's many Civil Rights sites is available on their website. Their website featuring the top 40 places to visit in the Mississippi Delta is also an excellent resource.

If your congregation or organization is interested in planning a group trip to Mississippi (or elsewhere in the South), get in touch with the ISJL to learn more about our Southern Jewish Heritage Tour program.
Listen
You can't talk about the Mississippi Delta without talking about music. Listen to legendary blues artist Robert Johnson's complete recordings, and check out the line-up of Clarksdale's iconic Juke Joint Festival to find some current favorite performers. You can even watch the live feed from the 2020 festival on demand.

Bonus
Forward this email to someone who you think would love the ISJL Virtual Vacation—we appreciate your help spreading the word about this program!
Last Month's Episode
Southern Jewish Music: Klezmer and Bluegrass
Last month, we met award-winning banjo player, musicologist, and producer Henry Sapoznik and Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg of the Jewish Americana band Nefesh Mountain. We spoke candidly with all three of them about their work, their music, and how the traditions of Judaism, Yiddish popular music, and bluegrass intersect.

We talked about how these genres merge, connect, and remain distinct in a star-studded episode that celebrates both innovation and tradition in Jewish and American Roots music.

If you missed the episode, it's available on demand on our website.
Henry Sapoznik's 2017 album Banjew
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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 vacation from the comfort of your home!

Monthly episodes—live on the ISJL Facebook page and available on demand on the ISJL Virtual Vacation website—feature museums, historic sites, scholars, chefs, performers, 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 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!