CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (JTA) -- Sometimes, Benjamin Rosenthal thinks about leaving the small town of Indianola, Miss., pop. 11,000, where he spent most of his life.
He wants to go somewhere bigger, with more Jews.
“It's very easy to lose your identity in the Bible Belt in a town when you are the religious minority,” said Rosenthal, 25.
...Nice, and often curious, says Rosie Perlstein, whose husband, Shaul, is rabbi of Chabad Lubavitch of Chattanooga.
“People are always calling and always want to learn about” Judaism, she said. “People ask in a nice way. They're polite. They'll ask about different holidays.”
The Perlsteins moved to Chattanooga from Brooklyn in 2009.
While many people have a respectful curiosity about Judaism, others think it's their duty to spread the word of Jesus, the rabbi said. “It's impossible to stop in the South,” he said.
The Perlsteins say that drive is not born of malice, but simple ignorance of other beliefs. This is a common sentiment expressed by Southern Jews. full article...