Alongside a month-long celebration of the Southern Jewish Experience, The Braid, a Los Angeles-based theater 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 on the culture that defines the Jewish experience in the South.
Braid’s in-depth look at what it’s like to grow up and live in the South is featured throughout the month in a new Zoom live show, Sweet Tea & the Southern Jew. Filled with authentic first-person accounts, it delves into the complex challenges facing Southern Jews as they navigate a life filled with both Judaism and Dixie.
As the stories of Southern Jews are presented on stage, they are also expressed through art and the diverse collection of artifacts gathered over the years by MSJE. The museum’s vast assortment of Southern relics even includes samples of the lacquered bagels that New Orleans Jews like to throw away during Mardi Gras!
The collaborative art conference Shalom Y’All: Exploring the Jewish South through Art and Artifacts, will be presented live on Zoom on Sunday, January 23 at 11:00 a.m. PT and 2:00 p.m. ET. It will be moderated by Anna Tucker, curator of MSJE, and Wendy Klier, artistic consultant of The Braid. It’s free on Zoom, but The Braid hopes interested guests will consider choosing a virtual ticket when registering at: the-braid-org/art-shows.
“To truly understand the life and culture of any group, it’s essential to examine the art they produced and the artifacts they used in daily life,” says Tucker. “Our current exhibit includes examples such as the Victorian era ‘crazy quilts’. Visitors, virtual or in person, can learn a lot about the Jewish immigration experience when they visit our new museum. We show how Jews communicated, how they found support and brotherhood, and how they created a vibrant hybrid identity while residing in the Deep South.”
MJSE takes visitors on a 400-year journey that explores the ways Jewish immigrants arrived and ultimately thrived in a world where they could have religious freedom, economic opportunity, and even new adventures. The museum preserves this history and offers new insights into how America was built and how it seeks to enable meaningful and secure lives. The January 23 Art Talk is sure to enlighten anyone who attends.
The Braid’s Klier enthusiastically accepts. “Throughout the year, The Braid strives to provide diverse perspectives on Jewish life and culture that relate to the themes we choose to explore in depth. When we feature our shows, we also feature art exhibitions that feature paintings, sculptures, ceramics and other creations by artists from around the world that broaden our audience’s understanding of our themes,” says Klier. “This month, our virtual tour at MSJE in New Orleans should do just that.”
Art Talk moderator Tucker served as Special Projects Coordinator for the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books at Kennesaw State University in Georgia before joining MSJE. Previously, she was part of a management team that oversaw the Museum of History and Holocaust Education, the Bentley Rare Books Museum, and the Zuckerman Museum of Art. She is also a board member of the Southern Jewish Historical Society.
Braid Artistic Director Ronda Spinak is also excited about the upcoming art conference. “In 2019, a group of actors, writers and curious watchers toured the South. As we performed our shows in a dozen cities big and small, we were amazed at the response we we got,” recalls Spinak. “Our audience members may have different accents and different, delicious seasonings for their food, but we quickly learned that we are all part of the same tribe. Our collaboration with MSJE will help our Zoom audience members see and to understand this remarkable blend of Judaism and Dixie.”
Once on The Braid’s website, check out Sweet Tea & the Southern Jew, plus other programming this month, including an interview with famed actress Caroline Aaron, who plays Midge Maisel’s stepmother in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s Sunday, January 16. There’s also StoryNosh, a tasty bite of quirky storytelling moments around the theme of courage, playing throughout the month.
The collaborative art conference Shalom Y’All: Exploring the Jewish South through Art and Artifacts, will be presented live on Zoom on Sunday, January 23 at 11:00 a.m. PT and 2:00 p.m. ET. It’s free on Zoom, but The Braid hopes interested guests will consider picking up a virtual ticket when they sign up for the program. For reservations and more information visit: the-braid-org/art-shows