The Last Jews of Natchez

Elise Abrams Rushing

Overdue in sharing this story, which I reported and produced for the Southern Foodways Alliance podcast “Gravy.”

There has been a Jewish community in Natchez, Mississippi for 175 years—and my family has been part of it for 160 of them. But now the number of Jews in Natchez has dwindled to only a handful. I went home to Natchez to explore what traditions, culinary and otherwise, might disappear when they’re gone.

Photos:

Elise Abrams Rushing lights the candles at Temple B’Nai Israel in Natchez every Friday night because she says she is the last Jewish woman around to do it. 

Me and my mother on the bimah of Temple B’Nai Israel in Natchez during the 1994 Natchez Jewish Homecoming. 

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