The Southern Shmooze
June 2020
An Announcement About Our Grand Opening
If you've been following our progress over the past year or more, you know that we have long been planning to open the Museum to the public in October 2020. Due to delays in construction, interruptions in supply chains, restrictions on travel, and the many uncertainties that lay before us all, our board of directors has made the strategic decision to postpone our opening to the first quarter of 2021.

This will ensure our staff and building partners ample time to work safely during through the coming months and give our out-of-town supporters the opportunity to visit the Museum when we open.
“We need the sweet pain of anticipation to tell us we are really alive.”
--Noted philosopher and funnyman Albert Camus
When we set an exact date for our 2021 Grand Opening celebration, we hope that you will be able to participate in the festivities. In the meantime, we also hope you are staying healthy and staying home with someone you love if you can.

If you can make a donation to MSJE at this time, your support will help us through this crucial time. Thank you.
Exhibit Update: When We Was Fab -ricating
Are you one of those people who doesn't believe it until you see it? If so, then feast your eyes. Our hard-working curator Anna Tucker took a field trip last week to the fabrication workshop of our exhibit builders, the Solomon Group, to inspect some of the first elements of our exhibits. Below you won't see the any historical artifacts or images, but you will see some of the exhibit cases, panels, and constructions that will eventually help us tell our unique Southern Jewish stories.
This archway will lead visitors to an exploration of the early years of Jewish immigration to the South. Think Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, Richmond. What will be in that artifact case: Shabbat candle sticks brought from the Old Country? A 19th century prayerbook printed in both Hebrew and French?
Anna inspects another artifact case. Museums are special places because they display "the real thing," actual pieces of our history. In our world crowded with electronic screens, physical objects can connect us to the past in powerful ways. Anna makes sure those pieces of the past are correctly preserved, displayed, and interpreted.
Here's a section of our "Merchant Store." It will be filled with artifacts from Jewish-owned dry-goods and specialty stores that once dotted the small-town South, including the cash register from Galanty's Mens' Ware, in Lake Providence, LA, a shoe-stretcher from Flowers' Bros. Store, in Lexington, MS, and so much more.
From the Collection: Our Favorite Pushke
The Polish word puszka , means tin can. From puszka comes the Yiddish word pushke (alternative spellings include pishkey, pushkey, pushka, pushkie , and pishke ). For many Jews of Eastern European origins, a pushke is synonymous with a tzedakah box, whether it’s made of tin or not.
In Judaism, to give tzedakah is a religious and moral obligation. The Hebrew word tzedakah literally means righteousness or justice, but for many Jews the word has simply come to mean charity. Jewish parents start teaching their children about tzedakah at home by having them drop coins from their allowances into a tzedakah box each week. When the box is full, the family decides where to donate the money, further connecting the children to the important Jewish concept of contributing toward a just and righteous world.
The Museum has several tzedakah boxes in our collection. One of our favorites was donated by Temple Sinai, in New Orleans. For years it remained affixed to the wall near the entrance to the synagogue’s main sanctuary, inviting congregants to contribute to a variety of causes—local, national, and international—when they attended religious services. Its simple construction and prominent call for “Social Justice” speak to everyday-ness of the Jewish act of helping others.
Do you have an artifact you would like to donate to the MSJE?
Help Us on GiveNOLA Day
Tuesday, June 2
For 24 hours on Tuesday, June 2, hundreds of New Orleans non-profits will be participating in GiveNOLA Day--a great opportunity for you to support MSJE! We will be competing for matching gifts against other museums and organizations to see who can raise the most money and who can receive the most individual donations. There are even cash prizes for museums who receive donations every hour throughout the day.

The important thing to know: YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE FROM NEW ORLEANS TO PARTICIPATE . Anyone can donate, any time, and at any amount.
You can get right to the MSJE GiveNOLA donation page by clicking the button below. Thanks !
P.S. you can even give on Monday, June 1.


We had so much fun Zooming with our Museum friends last month that we're doing it again. Join us on Tuesday, June 16, at 10:00 AM Central Time , when we'll be sharing more stories of Jewish life in the South and showing off more artifacts from our collection. Plus, we'll share ways that you can be included in the Museum's exhibits!

As always, you can email us with any questions you'd like answered or topics discussed at . Just put Zoom Question in the subject line.

Join us via Zoom on June 16 by clicking here:
Password: 316380
This Month in Southern Jewish History
Click on images to enlarge
June 2, 1847
Ansley Davis, advertises in the Wilmington Journal newspaper, in North Carolina, for the purchase of slaves. The Davis family of Petersburg and Richmond owned one of the largest Jewish-run slave-trading firm in the South. Each summer, Ansley would travel the region in search of slaves to purchase and resell.
June 3, 1971
The Town Talk newspaper, in Alexandria, LA, prints a petition in support of Soviet Jews who are being denied religious freedoms in Russia. These Jews, often called refuseniks because they have been refused exit visas by the Soviet government, attract the attention and support of Jews and non-Jews across the United States, including in Southern cities and towns like Alexandria.
June 13, 2011
Max Moses Heller dies at age 92 in Greenville, SC. Heller served as mayor of Greenville from 1971-1979. Born in Austria, Heller immigrated at age 19 to America in 1938 and was soon able to bring his parents to South Carolina. When he took office, he desegregated all city offices and commissions. Two years before his death, the city of Greenville honored Heller by erecting a statue of him on Main Street.
June 19, 1928
Sara Nachamson and Emanuel "Mutt" Evans marry in Durham, NC. Mutt went on to serve 6 terms as mayor of Durham (1951-1963). Sara was both a local activist and a national leader of Hadassah. Together they progressively steered Durham through many turbulent years of the Civil Rights movement. Mutt and Sara's son, Eli Evans, became a well-known memoirist, writing about his parents in The Lonely Days Were Sundays.
June 28, 1998
"The Last Night of Ballyhoo" closes on Broadway after 556 performances in the Helen Hayes Theater. Written by Alfred Uhry, the play follows a family of assimilated Jews in Atlanta in 1939, as they prepare for the Jewish social event of the year--Ballyhoo. Originally commissioned and performed during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, it won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1997.
June 30, 1868
Ida Weis Friend is born in Natchez, MS. Growing up in New Orleans, where her father was a successful cotton merchant, Ida became a local and national activist. She founded the city's chapter of Hadassah, served as president of the women's chapter of B'nai Brith, and from 1926-1932 was president of the National Council of Jewish Women. She was also active in the women's suffrage movement and Democratic state politics.
This is YOUR Museum. Help make it GREAT !
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to MSJE, PO Box 15071, New Orleans, LA 70175

as a recipient of your Donor Advised Fund

or other marketable securities

required distribution

For more information about any of these ways t o support MSJE,
contact Asia Stamey at .  
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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