Jewish life in South event held Tuesday

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society isoffering the public a unique opportunity to delve into SouthernJewish life when Dr. Stuart Rockoff comes to town to speak on thetopic Tuesday.

Rockoff, the director of the history department at theGoldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) andthe Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, will be speaking onJewish life in the South and particularly in Lincoln County, saidRita Rich, the society’s president.

“Jews have been very prominent in establishing Lincoln County,”said Rich, who pointed out that the building the society uses asthe actual historical museum is the former Jewish house of worship,Temple B’nai Shalom.

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The temple, which was constructed in 1896, was donated to thesociety last year with the stipulation that it also be used as aLincoln County Jewish life museum, and that the society would offera Jewish life program each year, said Rich.

“The agreement we had was that we would have one program a yearemphasizing the history of the Jews in Lincoln County,” saidRich.

Rich contacted Rockoff originally to have him speak in the spring.When that didn’t pan out, she booked him as the speaker for theirfirst meeting in the fall.

Rockoff, who has his Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University ofTexas at Austin with emphasis in immigration and American Jewishhistory, has taught courses in American ethnic and Jewish historyat several schools, including the University of Texas and MillsapsCollege.

He came to ISJL in 2002 and has since worked to preserve anddocument the history of Southern Jews. He’s currently working on ageneral history of Jewish life in the South.

“It’s just a matter of information, and also, about the role of theJewish families who helped establish the county,” said Rich.

Rich said the event is open to the public and will be begin at 6:30p.m. Tuesday at the Jimmy Furlow Senior Citizen Center in downtownBrookhaven.