Tem­ple B’nai Israel Sis­ter­hood, Spar­tan­burg, SC, 1964. Cour­tesy Tem­ple B’nai Israel.

Deli­cious aro­mas, the taste of a spe­cial spice, a trea­sured chi­na pat­tern used for a hol­i­day din­ner — all can elic­it strong feel­ings, take us back to a par­tic­u­lar time and place, and bring forth voic­es and sto­ries silenced in the past. 

Our new book, Kugels & Col­lards, is a cel­e­bra­tion of the South­ern Jew­ish table. It’s not a typ­i­cal cook­book; rather, it is a col­lec­tion of essays and fam­i­ly recipes from many con­trib­u­tors — Jew­ish and non-Jew­ish, white and Black, women and men — whose culi­nary mem­o­ries are firm­ly root­ed in South Car­oli­na, a state that was home to some of the old­est com­mu­ni­ties of Jews in Amer­i­ca. Mar­cie Cohen Fer­ris writes in her intro­duc­tion, women shaped my South­ern Jew­ish expe­ri­ence. I wit­nessed deep friend­ships, as they cooked hol­i­day meals at home and in the syn­a­gogue kitchen and sup­port­ed one anoth­er through life pas­sages, cel­e­bra­tions, and loss.” Our own expe­ri­ences mir­ror that of Marcie’s. 

We are South Car­olini­ans Jews. Our fam­i­lies’ sto­ries reflect the jour­neys that gen­er­a­tions of Jew­ish immi­grants made to Amer­i­ca. As women pulled by the force of both our region and our reli­gion, we rec­og­nize the expres­sive pow­er of food. Our inspi­ra­tion to cre­ate Kugels & Col­lards came from our moth­ers and grand­moth­ers, descen­dants of East­ern Euro­pean immi­grants, as well as the African Amer­i­can women who worked in our homes and shared their culi­nary knowledge. 

Lyssa Klig­man Harvey

When I rem­i­nisce about Jew­ish food tra­di­tions, I feel nos­tal­gic for my moth­er – a beau­ti­ful, proud, Jew­ish woman with a pas­sion for deli­cious food. She was a fab­u­lous cook of all tra­di­tion­al Ashke­nazi foods, includ­ing chopped liv­er, sweet and sour cab­bage meat­balls, and rugelach. Born and raised in Charleston, Car­oli­na, she had a strong South­ern drawl and she also had a deep appre­ci­a­tion of Low­coun­try cui­sine – ,bar­be­cue ribs, shrimp boils, and steamed oysters.I, too, enjoy South­ern foods, and I have also made it a point to learn her tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish recipes and share the dish­es with my own fam­i­ly. I speak my mother’s love lan­guage of South­ern and Jew­ish food.

Rachel Gordin Barnett

My fam­i­ly was the only Jew­ish fam­i­ly in the small- town of Sum­mer­ton, South Car­oli­na. My moth­er, who was raised in a kosher home in Charleston, mar­ried my father and moved to Sum­mer­ton in 1955. My father had returned to Sum­mer­ton fol­low­ing his grad­u­a­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of South Car­oli­na to run the fam­i­ly busi­ness. They lived with e my Russ­ian-born pater­nal grand­fa­ther, and two of my father’s mater­nal aunts from Bal­ti­more. Ethel Mae Glover worked for the fam­i­ly as a house­keep­er and cook and was taught many of the Jew­ish recipes from my pater­nal grand­moth­er as well as expand­ing the menu to include her own South­ern dish­es which were influ­enced in part by her African Amer­i­can tra­di­tions. In 1966 my mater­nal grand­moth­er sold her Charleston busi­ness to move clos­er to my fam­i­ly. She added to the family’s South­ern Jew­ish table by bak­ing sweets includ­ing tra­di­tion­al items such as rugelach and a won­der­ful hon­ey cake. Grow­ing up was an inter­est­ing meld­ing of tra­di­tions, gen­er­a­tions, and cul­tures that gave me the basis for my culi­nary jour­ney. Today, I still cook Ethel’s col­lards, squash casse­role, and kugel but have yet to mas­ter my grandmother’s hon­ey cake.


In read­ing Kugels & Col­lards, we hope that you will dis­cov­er or remem­ber a South Car­olin­ian and Jew­ish culi­nary lega­cy that – shaped by region­al ingre­di­ents, sea­sons, and African, Mediter­ranean, and Euro­pean cul­tures – con­tin­ues to evolve. This is our South­ern Jew­ish table.

Pho­to cred­it For­rest Clonts 

Native South Car­olin­ian Rachel Gordin Bar­nett hails from small- town Sum­mer­ton, SC. Rachel is a past pres­i­dent and cur­rent exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Jew­ish His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety of South Car­oli­na (JHSSC).

Lyssa Klig­man Har­vey lives in Colum­bia, SC, and has been instru­men­tal in pre­serv­ing Jew­ish his­to­ry across the state. Lyssa is a teacher, ther­a­pist and artist. Her life’s work has been ded­i­cat­ed to help­ing chil­dren and impact­ing her com­mu­ni­ty by cre­at­ing the Colum­bia Holo­caust Edu­ca­tion Com­mis­sion, the Jew­ish Cul­tur­al Arts, and serv­ing on arts and envi­ron­men­tal boards.