Folklife group to meet

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 30, 2003

The annual meeting of the Alabama Folklife Association will be held in Selma on Saturday and Sunday.

Its focus will be &uot;Jewish Life in the South,&uot; inspired by the century-old Temple Mishkan Israel.

Teacher-writer Theodore Rosengarten will be guest-lecturer.

Rosengarten is the author of &uot;Tombee: Portrait of a Cotton Planter,&uot; which received the National Book Critics Circle award, and &uot;The Life of Nate Shaw,&uot; recipient of the National Book Award. In 1989 he was named a MacArthur Fellow.

Most recently, Rosengarten was co-editor of &uot;A portion of the People: Three Hundred Years of Southern Jewish Life,&uot; published by the University of South Carolina Press.

At the folklife meeting, Rosengarten will discuss the struggle of southern Jews to maintain multiple identities: Jewish, Southern, American. His talk will be followed by a panel of Temple Mishkan Israel members who will share their perspectives on Jewish culture and contributions to life in Selma.

The Saturday, 3 p.m. program will be at the historic St. James Hotel, 1200 Water Ave. Ed Ember, president of the congregation, will lead a tour of the local synagogue at 10 a.m. Sunday. Both events are free and open to the public.

Joyce Cauthen of Birmingham, executive director of the state folklife organization, said the AFA’s purpose is to promote knowledge and appreciation of Alabama folk culture through activities such as festivals, conferences, fieldwork and publications.

Other weekend activities in Selma include a home-cooked Southern supper Sunday evening at Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church, followed by a performance of four African-American a cappella gospel groups:

the Angelic Harmonizing Chorus, the Majestic Voices, the Angelic Boys of Faith, and the Gospel Harmonettes of Demopolis.

Registration for the supper and concert will be required. For details call the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture, Montgomery, 334-242-3601, or go to www.alabamafolklife.org.