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The Jews of Summer Book Launch Party
Thursday, February 23 at 7:00 PM
CBE Rotunda, 271 Garfield Place


Join Brooklyn Jews and CBE for the wild, slightly unhinged book launch of The Jews of Summer: Summer Camp and Jewish Culture in Postwar America by Sandra Fox, a scholarly yet entertaining read on the history of American Jewish summer camps. Rather than a traditional book talk, this experiential event will touch on many elements of Jewish summer camp life from the 1950s through the present, from arts and crafts and gaga to Hebrew and Yiddish circles, Jewish dancing and singing, Maccabiah—even Tisha B'Av. Prepare to have fun while thinking about Jewish camping past and present in new ways. The canteen will have light snacks and alcoholic drinks inspired by camp, included with admission. Please dress in summer camp clothes, be they the fashions of your youth or of your favorite post-WWII decade.

Admission is $8 per person, or you can receive your ticket for free when you purchase a copy of the book below, courtesy of the Community Bookstore.  This event is for adults age 21+.


About the Book:
In the decades directly following the Holocaust, American Jewish leaders anxiously debated how to preserve and produce what they considered authentic Jewish culture, fearful that growing affluence and suburbanization threatened the future of Jewish life. Many communal educators and rabbis contended that without educational interventions, Judaism as they understood it would disappear altogether. They pinned their hopes on residential summer camps for Jewish youth: institutions that sprang up across the U.S. in the postwar decades as places for children and teenagers to socialize, recreate, and experience Jewish culture. Adults' fears, hopes, and dreams about the Jewish future inflected every element of camp life, from the languages they taught to what was encouraged romantically and permitted sexually. But adult plans did not constitute everything that occurred at camp: children and teenagers also shaped these sleepaway camps to mirror their own desires and interests and decided whether to accept or resist the ideas and ideologies their camp leaders promoted. Focusing on the experiences of campers and camp counselors, The Jews of Summer demonstrates how a cultural crisis birthed a rite of passage that remains a significant influence in American Jewish life.

Reviews:
"The Jews of Summer is an important contribution to the study of postwar Jewish life. Sandra Fox's engaging and highly readable study of Jewish summer camping offers its fullest and most complex analysis, taking readers into every facet of Jewish camping. An original and essential contribution."

—Riv-Ellen Prell, University of Minnesota

"Rare is the book that is scholarly and entertaining, but The Jews of Summer is just that. Transporting the reader into the rhythms and romances of summer camp, Sandra Fox offers a deeply compelling lens into the profound and often generative ambivalences of postwar American Jewish life."

—Lila Corwin Berman, Temple University

About the author:
Sandra Fox is the Goldstein-Goren Visiting Assistant Professor of Hebrew & Judaic Studies at New York University and Director of the Archive of the American Jewish Left in the Digital Age. Her historical research, including her book The Jews of Summer: Summer Camp and Jewish Culture in Postwar America, focuses on American Jewry, youth and childhood, Yiddish culture, and sexuality. She is also the founder and executive producer of the podcast Vaybertaytsh: A Feminist Podcast in Yiddish. You can read more about Sandra’s work here.

Mon, May 27 2024 19 Iyar 5784