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Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience and National Jewish Theatre Organization to Explore Southern Culture in New Collaboration

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Shalom Y'all: Exploring the Jewish South through Art and Artifact, an interactive presentation about the culture define the Jewish experience in the South.

Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience and National Jewish Theatre Organization to Explore Southern Culture in New Collaboration

In conjunction with a month-long celebration of the Southern Jewish experience, The Braid, a Los Angeles-based theatre company, is collaborating with the Museum of the Jewish Experience (MSJE) in New Orleans to present Shalom Y'all: Exploring the Jewish South through Art and Artifact, an interactive presentation about the culture that defines the Jewish experience in the South.

The Braid's in-depth look at what it is like to grow up and live in the South is being presented throughout the month in a new live-on-Zoom show, Sweet Tea & the Southern Jew. Filled with authentic first-person narratives, it delves into the complex challenges Southern Jews face as they navigate a life filled with both Judaism and Dixie.

While the stories of Southern Jews are presented on stage, they are also expressed through the art and diverse collection of artifacts gathered over the years by MSJE. The museum's extensive assortment of Southern relics even includes samples of the lacquered bagels that New Orleans Jews are fond of throwing during Mardi Gras!

The collaborative art talk Shalom Y'All: Exploring the Jewish South through Art and Artifact, will be presented live on Zoom on Sunday, January 23, at 11 a.m. PT and 2 p.m. ET. It will be moderated by Anna Tucker, MSJE's curator, and Wendy Klier, The Braid's art consultant. It is free on Zoom, but The Braid hopes interested guests will consider choosing a virtual ticket when registering at: the-braid-org/art-shows.

"To really understand the life and culture of any group, it is critical to look at the art they produced and the artifacts they used in daily life," Tucker explains. "Our current exhibit includes examples like the "crazy quilts" of the Victorian era. Visitors, virtual or in person, can learn so much about the Jewish immigration experience when they visit our new museum. We show how Jews communicated, how they found support and fellowship, and how they created a vibrant hybrid identity while residing in the Deep South."

MJSE takes visitors on a 400-year journey that explores ways in which Jewish immigrants arrived in and eventually thrived in a world where they could have religious freedom, economic opportunity, and even new adventures. The museum preserves this history and provides new perspectives about how America was built and how it seeks to enable meaningful and secure lives. The Art Talk on January 23 is sure to enlighten anyone who attends.

The Braid's Klier enthusiastically agrees. "Throughout the year, The Braid strives to give diverse perspectives of Jewish life and culture that relate to the themes we choose to explore in depth. When we present our salon shows, we also present art exhibitions that feature paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and other creations made by artists throughout the globe that expand our audience's understanding of our themes," Klier explains. "This month, our virtual visit to MSJE in New Orleans should do just that."

Art Talk moderator Tucker served as the special projects coordinator for the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books, at Kennesaw State University in Georgia before joining MSJE. Prior to that, she was part of an executive team that supervised the Museum of History and Holocaust Education, the Bentley Rare Books Museum, and the Zuckerman Museum of Art. She is also on the board of directors for the Southern Jewish Historical Society.

The Braid's artistic director, Ronda Spinak, is also excited about the upcoming art talk. "In 2019, a group of actors, writers, and curious observers toured the South. As we presented our shows in about a dozen large cities and small towns, we were amazed at the response we got," Spinak recalls. "Members of our audiences might have had different accents and different, delicious seasonings for their food, but we soon learned we are all part of the same tribe. Our collaboration with MSJE will help our Zoom audience members see and understand this remarkable blend of Judaism and Dixie."

Once on The Braid's website, check out Sweet Tea & the Southern Jew, along with other programs this month, including an interview with famed actress Caroline Aaron, who plays Midge Maisel's mother-in-law on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. That's on Sunday, January 16. There's also StoryNosh, a tasty bite of original storytelling moments around the theme of courage, playing throughout the month.

The collaborative art talk Shalom Y'All: Exploring the Jewish South through Art and Artifact, will be presented live on Zoom on Sunday, January 23, at 11 a.m. PT and 2 p.m. ET. It is free on Zoom, but The Braid hopes interested guests will consider choosing a virtual ticket when they sign up for the program. For reservations and more information, visit: the-braid-org/art-shows


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