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March 01, 2009

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I'm from Nashville! Ok, technically I'm from White House, TN. White House is a small town about 20 miles north of Nashville. I LOVE it here. I'm close to downtown, yet I live in a small (but growing) city. Good schools in this area, too. Oh, and believe it or not we have a good local music scene that is NOT just country. Check out nashvillerock.net for info around town. I used to do show reviews for them, but I got lazy and haven't posted a review in about two years. Oops. They just revamped the forum so there isn't much info on that anymore, sadly. Anyway, if you need any info on the area feel free to e-mail. I've lived here all of my (almost. ACK.) 30 years.

kosher.com has free delivery, or at least cheap delivery. we bought a bunch of fake jello for the kids preschool from them. Need to order some gummi worms (or chewy snakes as Sanna calls them).

OH! Thanks for the hint. I don't know why I never even thought of looking for a pectin based gelatin style dessert mix!! I remember years ago (over 20) they had such a gelatin in Brazil and it got set in 20 minutes (which was awesome), it was even called "Pronto" (I think), but it disappeared and never came back :-( And I'd never seen anything like it again. I guess now I know where to find it, yay!!

From what little I know about it, Nashville is cool.

There is a book by Tova Mirvis, called The Women's Auxillary, about the Jewish community in (I think) Memphis (maybe it's actually Nashville, I don't remember). You might enjoy it, it's about the Orthodox community there, but it touches on the dynamics in the community that is due to living in the (non-Jewish) South. It's a light read.

Here in Israel we have Kosher meat based gelatin, you even have a choice between fish or beef based in case you want to stick it in a dairy cake. Yum, fish gelatin in whipped cream.

Just have to give a shout out to Wichita. Born and raised. My mom lives by the old Fanta-Sea right off Woodlawn. Yee-haw. I live in Dallas now, and although I did realize that my upbringing was VERY culturally challenged, I now realize how that cultural education experience is so critical in developing a good, well-rounded person. I married a wonderful Hispanic guy, and my duaghter (who still looks white despite my husband's dark skin; I must have freakish genes) is a minority in her Montessori school. I love it. And Dallas isn't even as cultured as the Eastern states! But beats the pants off good ol' Wichita!

I've been living in NYC for close to fifteen years, so it no longer surprises me when people, upon learning I grew up in Indiana, will say, essentially, "I'm so sorry!" The idea that this ISN'T something I feel I had to overcome just doesn't compute. Cracks me up.

Fanta-Sea! Oh, the fond memories...of scraping my knees on their weird rough cement, and of nearly drowning in the wave pool. God, I loved that place.

Timi, we get the fish gelatin marshmallows. Fishy goodness!

I just looked up some stats on Wichita--I had no idea it was so large! I grew up in a town in central Missouri with about 20,000 residents and now live in a lovely college town 2 hours east of Kansas City, population approaching 100,000. I have no desire to live in a larger city, though Nashville sounds pretty awesome.

I'm a central New Jersey native, went to law school in NYC and then moved to Madison, WI, after law school. Oh, and I'm also Jewish (by birth, not conversion). One thing I can say about moving to the middle of the country is that you will NOT find a lot of Jews living here. I am way, way overgeneralizing, but I think I was honestly the first Jew that several of my colleagues ever met.

They will think you are weird because your customs and beliefs don't mesh with theirs. Ignore it: it's a wonderful religion and you'll find some people who don't care. Some people, however, WILL care about the fact that you're Jewish (and not in a good sense). Then you'll find the buried anti-semitism, where statements like, "Oh, well, she's Jewish" rear their ugly heads. Uh, OK, thanks for letting me know?

Anyway, good luck. I think you'll enjoy TN and, just like every time you move a long distance, the bad will outweigh the good for a little while. And then you'll find your place in the world, meet some people, find a few nice parks and things won't be as bleak. The beginning, though, is hard.

We live in a metropolitan area in the "middle third" of the country, and while I agree with Ariella that you won't find as many Jews out here as on the coasts, and that you'll do a lot of trailblazing just by virtue of being yourself, there are also wonderful, amazing things about being Tribe in the heartland.
For one thing, we don't have a lot of the institutional baggage that more established Jewish communities do; I find that there's a lot more cooperation between Reform, Conservative and Orthodox shuls (we don't have a big Reconstructionist population here). It's also impossible to take Jewish practice for granted. My friends that grew up in the Tri-State may have been culturally Jewish, but they were never forced to critically examine it. Here, you have to plan ahead to make sure there's challah on the table, or a yartzeit candle on the right day, and we don't automatically get High Holidays off from school or work. Everything we do that celebrates Judaism here is a conscious choice, and there's beauty in that. The flip side is that there's an awesome "secret society" aspect to it...when people saw our Sukkah, most were mystified, but several had that nod of recognition and you could practically see them adding us to their mental Rolodex of resident Jews. It's a surprise and a delight to see a stranger in the park in the spring with a matzah sandwich, or to run into a friend of a friend of a friend at the kosher market on Friday afternoon. You can't take it for granted, and there's a feeling of serendipitous community.
The other thing that I think is important is that your perspective on living as a Jew outside Jewish enclaves, as someone who came to Judaism as an adult, is going to be very different from someone who’s been Jewish since birth. I remember how foreign some the things we do now seemed not very long ago, and I had to teach myself and get myself right with it as an adult. I think that gives me a little bit of an ability to see it through other people’s eyes, and it means I’m almost always willing to teach or show or explain what’s going on.
We’ve found an amazing community of like-minded Jews here; it’s really an incredible blessing. I know you’ll find a place that feels right.

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