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Summer Camp and Jewish Culture in Postwar America

Hosted By: YIVO

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).

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