In the decades directly following the Holocaust, American Jewish leaders debated how to preserve and produce Jewish culture, fearful that growing affluence and suburbanization threatened the future of Jewish life. Many communal educators and rabbis pinned their hopes on residential summer camps for Jewish youth: institutions that sprang up across the U.S. as places for children and teenagers to socialize, recreate, and experience Jewish culture. Camp life was shaped both by adults’ fears, hopes, and dreams about the Jewish future as well as children and teenagers own desires and interests.
Focusing on the lived experience of campers and camp counselors, Sandra Fox’s new book, The Jews of Summer: Summer Camp and Jewish Culture in Postwar America, explores how a cultural crisis birthed a rite of passage that remains a significant influence in American Jewish life. Join YIVO for a discussion with Fox about this new book led by Philissa Cramer (Jewish Telegraphic Agency).
About the Speakers
Sandra Fox is visiting assistant professor of Hebrew Judaic Studies and Director of the Archive of the Jewish Left Project at New York University, and founder and executive producer of the Yiddish-language podcast Vaybertaytsh: A Feminist Podcast in Yiddish.
Philissa Cramer is the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's editor in chief. Prior to joining JTA in 2020, she was a founder and editor at Chalkbeat, the nonprofit news organization covering education. She is a graduate of Brown University.