Skirball Cultural Center
2701 North Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles
Mess halls, bug juice, new BFFs, and a talent show performance that still brings on pangs of embarrassment... Look back on the highs and lows of Jewish sleepaway camp—or learn about this American Jewish phenomenon—during a conversation between Sandra Fox, author of The Jews of Summer: Summer Camp and Jewish Culture in Postwar America, and Aaron Goldberg, the director of Camp Alonim.
With the goal of preserving and producing authentic Jewish culture in the postwar US, American Jewish leaders pinned their hopes on residential summer camps for Jewish youth. 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 lived experience 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.
A book signing, Israeli dancing, and refreshments follow the discussion.