Monday, September 3, 2012

Jews in the Bible Belt’s small towns face curiosity, ignorance

Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith, left, and her husband Rob Goldsmith,
in front of their synagogue, Temple Emanu-El of Dothan.
(Rob Goldsmith
In the Bible Belt, religion rules and Jesus is king, particularly in the small towns and cities that make up the region in the U.S. South. Jews comprise less than 1 percent of the population in the South, according to Louis Schmier, a professor of history at Valdosta State University in Georgia, with most living in large cities like Atlanta and Charlotte. Some so-called circuit rabbis travel hundreds of miles to different congregations, often with fewer than 50 members. One of the first questions a newcomer in the South is typically asked is “What church do y'all go to?” -- Holly Leber, JTA

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