Order a hot pastrami on rye at any delicatessen and you’ll taste the briny terroir of the Jewish Diaspora. Pastrami is an iconic cured meat that migrated with Eastern European Jews to America and became synonymous with the deli, a beloved third place for Jewish communities across the country. In Jackson, Mississippi, that place was the Olde Tyme Deli, which Judy and Irv Feldman owned and operated from 1961 until 2000. In this episode, we’ll trace the migration of pastrami to the Deep South, where Southern Jewish identity coalesced during another moment of reckoning—the civil rights movement.

Sarah Holtz reported and produced this episode. Sarah is an independent audio producer who documents cultural history in New Orleans, New York, and the Bay Area.

Photos courtesy of Michele Feldman Schipper

“And the Darkness Grew Like a Tree” by Doctor Turtle
“Reality Cartwheeled” by Doctor Turtle
“Hot Pastrami” by the Dartells
“Constellations” by Siddartha Corsus
“Vulcan Street” by Blue Dot Sessions
“F Minor Klezmer” by The Underscore Orkestra