The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life is continuing its Southern States Literary Series with two tours this fall.

The series is a series of discussions and book signings with leading authors of newly released works on the Jewish Experience, creating a vibrant literary circuit throughout the ISJL's 12-state region. By bringing a tour to three or four communities in a small area, these smaller communities are able to attract programs they could not do on their own.

The "poet laureate" of Southern Jews, Eli Evans, shares his impressions of the Jewish South in an Arkansas trip this month. Author of "The Provincials," "The Lonely Days Were Sundays," and "Judah P. Benjamin: The Jewish Confederate," Evans has spent much of his career explaining the unique story of southern Jews to audiences around the country.

Recently retired as head of the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Evans has been a longtime board member of the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience and the Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

He begins his tour on Nov. 7 at First Presbyterian Church, Hot Springs, at 7 p.m. The tour continues at the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m., and at Northwest Arkansas Community College’s Wal-Mart Auditorium on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.

Professor Stephen Whitfield, the Max Richter Chair in American Civilization at Brandeis University, will travel to Chattanooga, Murfreesboro, and Jackson, Tenn., next month. Author of numerous important books, Whitfield is one of the foremost experts on the history of American Jewish culture. His topic in Tennessee will be the cultural response to the popular musical "Fiddler on the Roof."

Based on the Yiddish short stories of Shalom Aleichem, "Fiddler on the Roof" became the longest running musical in American history and continues to entertain audiences around the world. Dr. Whitfield will examine how this play about Eastern European Jews transcended religious and cultural boundaries to resonate with audiences of all backgrounds.

He will speak at Linebaugh Library in Murfreesboro on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.; Lambuth University in Jackson on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.; and the Jewish Cultural Center in Chattanooga on Dec. 11 at 2 p.m.

All presentations are free and open to the public.

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