The Southern Shmooze
July 2020
The Southern Jewish Experience in...

What are Girl Scout Cookies' kosher origins? • Why did Louis Armstrong wear a Star of David necklace? • How did a Jewish admiral save Thomas Jefferson's house? • Why do the Japanese people love a poem written by a Jew from Birmingham? • What happened when Poncho Villa and Francisco Madero shopped at the same El Paso store at the same time?
( extra credit if you know who they were )
The answers to these and many more questions about Southern Jewish history will be unveiled as you explore our electronic State-by-State exhibit. With so many stories to tell and too many artifacts to display in our cases, our State-by-State interactive exhibit will give our visitors the opportunity to take a deeper dive into each state's Southern Jewish experience.

Visitors will be able to search our artifact collection, view vintage photographs and postcards of Southern Jewish synagogues, and discover some of the most intriguing and unexpected stories from each state's unique Southern Jewish experience.

The hardest part is choosing the stories to tell. Will you help us? What stories make your Southern state's history unique?
Preserving the Past: A 1784 Indenture Bond
Museums go to great lengths to protect their collection, both in storage and in exhibitions. At the MSJE, we carefully manage the temperature and humidity levels, reduce the amount of light exposure, and limit how long certain artifacts are “on view.”

The MSJE’s exhibitions will feature artifacts from the our own collection as well as temporary loans from our friends at other institutions. One such artifact is a rare 1784 indenture bond between Daniel Nunes of Savannah, GA, and Gershon Cohen and Jacob Jacobs of Charleston, SC. This artifact, never before exhibited, is on loan from the  Ida Pearle and Joseph Cuba Archives for Southern Jewish History at The Breman Museum in Atlanta.

Indenture bonds were contracts that laid out terms for labor, land use, and apprenticeships. This bond between Cohen, Jacobs, and Nunes involves an agreement of £500 and a tract of land and was executed soon after the end of the Revolutionary War.
Professional conservator Laura Goodman of Atlanta has started the process of preparing the bond for public display in New Orleans. Check out the beginning of the artifact’s conservation journey below and be sure to come by the MSJE to see it in person in 2021! 
Goodman tests different areas to fine tune treatment needed for this specific artifact: the paper, the ink, the seal. Most of this work involves stabilizing the piece, so it may not look drastically different, but will be in a healthier condition for handling and display.
This 236-year-old artifact has survived in part due to the low acid content of the paper. Modern paper, made from wood pulp with high acid content, degrades much faster. Nonetheless, this artifact requires careful handling.
Light surface cleaning has begun, with Goodman working in very small sections by hand to remove tiny bits of dust and dirt. A very soft brush gently clears selected areas. The white “powder” is a kind of eraser that conservators often use.
Giving Thanks...

A big THANK YOU to the 58 supporters who donated to the Museum during last month's GiveNOLA Day.

If you missed GiveNOLA Day this year, don't worry. You can make your donation to MSJE directly below. Just remember... Everyday can be GiveMSJE Day!
Our Next Live Program
Check it out on Facebook Live ( or
join us via Zoom on July 26 by clicking below:
And Speaking of Live Programs...
Does your congregation, sisterhood, brotherhood, JCC, NCJW section, lunch 'n' learn series, book club, mahjong group, OLLI class, Mensa meeting, bourbon-sippin' society, or secret illuminati cabal want to learn more about the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience and how it can get involved?

Of course it does!

Let us come to you through the magic of technology! Email us to schedule your free program about Southern Jewish history, your community, and the Museum.
This Month in Southern Jewish History
Click on images to enlarge
VIRGINIA: July 4, 1880
Jefferson Monroe Levy hosts his first annual community-wide open house and fireworks show at Monticello. His uncle, Uriah P. Levy, had purchased Thomas Jefferson's home soon after the former president's death, restoring and preserving it. J.M. continued the work, ensuring its survival.
GEORGIA: July 11, 1733
Approximately forty Jewish settlers land in Savannah, constituting the largest Jewish settlement in the American South. Passenger Samuel Nuñes de Ribeiro, a doctor, treats victims of a plague ravaging the colony. Shortly after, Savannah Jews establish Mickve Israel, the South’s oldest Jewish congregation.
MISSISSIPPI: July 11, 1968
The city of Rolling Fork declares Sam Rosenthal Day. Born in Brooklyn, but raised in Natchez, Rosenthal was first elected mayor in 1924 and guided the town through the 1927 flood, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement. Rolling Fork is one of more than 200 Southern cities that has elected a Jewish mayor.
TENNESSEE: July 16, 1868
As the presidential campaigns of Ulysses Grant (R) and Horatio Seymour (D) heat up, the Jews of Memphis issue a resolution condemning Grant's bid for the highest office in the land, remembering his infamous 1862 Order No. 11 during the Civil War, banishing Jews from his theater of war.
LOUISIANA: July 16, 1958
Tony Kushner is born in Manhattan. Soon after, the Kushner family moved to Lake Charles where Tony's parents taught music at the local university and he spent his childhood. He has become an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and author, known for the play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes and the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln .
OKLAHOMA: July 28, 1887
Samuel Zuckerman of Ardmore welcomes the city's first train passengers to his tent store next to the tracks. The railroad had recently been built on land confiscated from American Indians leading to a boom in local commerce. A pioneer of the Oklahoma Jewish community, Zuckerman went on to become a successful business and civic leader in Jewish circles and beyond.
The Time to Support Us is NOW
If you have been thinking about supporting the Museum but haven't yet done so, NOW is the time we most need your help. As we push toward the finish line, we have an opportunity to increase our programmatic vision, grow our staff, and ensure the Museum's stability and outreach far into the future. Please help us tell our stories by...
safely and easily at:

to PO Box 15071, New Orleans, LA 70175
as a recipient of a Donor Advised Fund

or other marketable securities
required distribution
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Banner images (l-r): Song-leading at Southern Conclavette, Southern Federation of Temple Youth (SoFTY), 1969-1970, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Anshe Sfard Synagogue on Carondelet Street, New Orleans, Louisiana