The Southern Shmooze
November 2019
🦃 Gobble ✡︎ Gobble 🦃
Counting Our Blessings
In Judaism there is a Hebrew phrase, Hakarat Hatov, which means " recognizing the good. " From the time we wake up in the morning to the time we go to bed each night, Jews are traditionally supposed to find 100 things to be thankful for. Not so easy to do, but a meaningful goal for anyone looking to bring more gratitude into their life. Thanksgiving provides us with a wonderful opportunity to focus on the people and things that give our lives so much meaning and joy.

Here are just a few things we are thankful for at MSJE:

Temple Sinai --for providing us with office space (and friendship) while our building undergoes renovations.

Our Artifact Donors --for giving us a little piece of your family's history so we can share your stories with the world.

Our Board of Directors --for giving of your time, your energy, and your guidance to the Museum.

Our Exhibit Design Team --for helping to ensure that our Museum will be engaging, educational, and entertaining. Thanks Gallagher & Associates!

Our Financial Supporters --for believing in our mission and for providing us with the strongest possible foundation on which to create a world-class museum. We can't do this without you!
Image from The Monroe News-Star, Monroe, LA, November 24, 1933 .
Building Update: If I Had a Hammer...
Our new home at 818 Howard Avenue is really taking shape. Jeffrey Feil, the building's owner, says that base building work is nearly complete and that we should be able to start our tenant improvements sometime this month. While those efforts get underway, we will finalize our exhibit designs, then begin fabricating and installing them next spring. If all goes well, we will open in early fall 2020. Below are some recent pix of the work being done. Every effort is being made to preserve the 100-year-old character of the building, including the beautiful brickwork, exposed beams, and original sash windows. Let us know if you'd like a hard-hat tour.
You'll buy your ticket here for the "Best New Museum in New Orleans" (we expect to see that on Trip Advisor)
Our second floor space includes a special exhibit gallery and classroom. What special exhibits would you like to see?
Board Member Rusty Palmer and Project Coordinator Anna Tucker make sure the Hyundai behaves. You've got to watch these things.
From the Collection: Friday Night Lights
Jews in the South have a long history of integrating into their communities--large and small. But nothing says "you're part of the team" as being, well, part of the team.

For folks in central Mississippi, Herman Flowers is often associated with the Flowers Bros. Department Store, in Lexington, but before he joined his father and uncle’s business, Herman focused on football. Herman joined the Lexington High School football team, eventually playing as quarterback during their undefeated season in 1932, playing teams from nearby towns like Itta Bena, Benton, and Yazoo City. He later attended Tulane University in New Orleans on a football scholarship, but a knee injury cut short his collegiate athletic career.
Herman wasn’t the only athlete in the family; his future wife, Elvera Lamensdorf, played on her high school girls basketball team in Shaw, MS. Elvera and Herman met in New Orleans while she studied at Sophie Newcomb College and he attended Tulane. Once married, they moved to Lexington, MS, where Herman continued to be actively involved in local sports, even promoting players to college recruiters and filming critical plays with his Kodak Super 8.
Herman and Elvera raised their daughters, Anne and Beth, at Temple Beth El in Lexington where they both were confirmed. In addition to overseeing the Flowers Bros. Department Store until 1988, Herman also was actively involved in the Rotary Club and served as president for the Lexington Chamber of Commerce.

While the MSJE staff will remain neutral regarding sports teams, we'll conclude this Collection Highlight with a hearty: Roll Wave !

Images (top to bottom): Herman Flowers’ Ls from his Lexington High School jacket, c.1934; Elvera Lamensdorf, middle row, second from left, c.1933 Shaw High School girls basketball team; a Tulane University beanie, likely owned by Herman Flowers, c. 1935. The Herman F. Flowers Collection was generously donated by Beth Flowers Lebow and Anne Flowers Gold.
MSJE at SJHS
Last month, staff from the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience joined over one hundred scholars and historians at the Southern Jewish Historical Society's annual conference in Charlottesville, VA. The conference focused on "Jews, Race, and Public Memory," and MSJE project coordinator and curator Anna Tucker presented "History and Memory: Commemorating and Memorializing Leo Frank" alongside Jeremy Katz (William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum), Dr. Catherine Lewis (Kennesaw State University Dept. of Museums, Archives and Rare Books), and moderator Dr. Marni Davis (Georgia State University).

The session included a lively discussion about how museums can play a central role in encouraging conversation about challenging and complex history. Attendees explored ways to incorporate multiple voices in the curation of museum exhibitions. National Public Radio was there to record the panel, so stay tuned for the full episode!
This Month in Southern Jewish History
November 1862
Phoebe Yates Levy Pember accepts the invitation from her friend the wife of Confederate Secretary of War George Randolph to become an administrator at Chimborago Hospital, outside Richmond, VA. There she supervises the nursing staff taking care of more than 15,000 wounded and sick Confederate soldiers through 1865.
November 3, 1865
Henri Castro, empresario of Texas, dies. Born in France into a Portuguese Jewish family, he moved to Texas and was given a land grant of 1,250,000 acres just west of San Antonio with the requirement that he recruit settlers to move there. He recruited hundreds of families from France and the eastern United States. Castroville and Castro County in Texas are named after him.
November 13, 1856
Louis Brandies is born in Louisville, KY. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson nominates him for a seat on the US Supreme Court. He becomes the first Jewish justice on the highest court in the land. Justice William O. Douglas later wrote of him, "Brandeis was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his opponent might be... He was dangerous because he was incorruptible."
November 14, 1995
Jacob Rader Marcus, founder of the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College, in Cincinnati, dies at age 99. Dr. Marcus, a WWI veteran and Reform rabbi, founded the archive in 1947 and continued to research and teach about the history of American Jewry well into his nineties. The MSJE is indebted to his scholarship and passion for accurately telling our stories.
November 20, 1790
Georgia Governor Edward Telfain authorizes the charter for Mickve Israel in Savannah. Although originally established in 1733, colonial wars interrupted the congregation's stability. Today, the congregation--one of the oldest in the country--still operates under this charter.
November 24, 1967
Racists heavily damage Rabbi Perry Nussbaum's house in Jackson, MS, with a dynamite bomb less than two months after Jackson's Congregation Beth Israel is bombed. Nussbaum, who actively supported integration, and his wife were in the house at the time, but were unharmed. Six month later the synagogue in Meridian, MS, is also bombed.
November 25, 1915
The Ku Klux Klan is reborn when William Joseph Simmons and a group of supporters burn a cross atop Stone Mountain, GA. This new KKK is formed in the aftermath of the Leo Frank lynching. The new Klan centers its efforts on opposing immigrants from eastern and southern Europe, who are mostly Jews and Roman Catholics.
New Staff
This month we welcome our newest staff member Asia Stamey. As Development Coordinator, Asia will help the Museum continue to implement its inaugural capital campaign and prepare us for the launch of our more general fundraising efforts.

Asia's great-grandmother was born in Miami, Florida, when the city was considered a fishing village. Her family has a long Jewish history in South Florida. She earned her BA at Pace University, an MS in Management at University of Edinburgh, and an MA in Security and Diplomacy at Tel Aviv University. Most recently she's been consulting with the Jewish Federation of Mobile, so she doesn't have too far to relocate. 

Asia is looking forward to meeting people across our region, so if she reaches out to you or your community, please give her a welcome embrace.
End-of-the-Year *Thanks*Giving
As the end of the calendar year nears, it's time to think about end-of-the-year giving. We hope you don't need any other reason to support the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, but in case you do: a sk your tax preparer about possible tax savings from a donation to MSJE.

Give easily online or call Executive Director Kenneth Hoffman
at kenneth@msje.org   or call 504-338-4683.  
We can't do this without you...
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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