In the Catskills: A Century of Jewish Experience in "The Mountains"

In the Catskills: A Century of Jewish Experience in "The Mountains"

In the Catskills: A Century of Jewish Experience in "The Mountains"

In the Catskills: A Century of Jewish Experience in "The Mountains"

Synopsis

Through fiction, memoir, music, photography, and art, In the Catskills highlights the Catskills experience over a century and assesses its continuing impact on American music, comedy, food, culture, and religion. It features selections from such fiction writers as Isaac Bashevis Singer, Herman Wouk, Allegra Goodman and Vivian Gornick; and original contributions from historians, sociologists, and scholars of American and Jewish culture that trace the history of the region, the rise of hotels and bungalow colonies, the wonderful flavors of food and entertainment, and distinctive forms of Jewish religion found in the Mountains. What was life--the work, the play, the food, the romance--like at Catskills Mountains resorts? These very personal recollections capture the special sense of community and real sense of freedom that developed. Far from the welter of the city, Jewish families learned to vacation and enjoy themselves, to savor the social mobility and cultural space the resorts afforded, and to nourish their culinary and comic traditions. From "Bingo by the Bungalow" by Thane Rosenbaum to "Young Workers in the Hotels" by Phil Brown to "Shoot the Shtrudel to Me Yudel" by Henry Foner, this charming anthology captures an era that has had enormous impact on the Jewish experience and American culture as a whole. "Whenever I speak about the Catskills," observes editor Phil Brown, "I am struck by the strength of people's desire to relive their experiences in the Mountains." If you've visited the Catskills yourself, or heard stories from your parents or grandparents, or are just interested in this extraordinary time and place, pack your bags and prepare to enjoy your stay In the Catskills.

Excerpt

Writing Catskill Culture: a Mountain Rat's Memories of the Great Jewish Resort Area was the most meaningful piece of writing work I have ever done. I poured my heart into reliving my Catskills memories, getting in touch with my parents' lives, and retracing my own personal history. Somewhere in the process of writing that book, I knew I wanted to do another, complementary volume that would put together fiction, nonfiction, and music from many sources. That desire has only grown since Catskill Culture was published. I realized that an untold number of people shared similar desires to recapture the Catskills memories. I have been gratified by the reception from readers and from audiences at the many shuls, colleges, Jewish organizations, and bookstores where I speak. Many people at these events ask if I am writing another book. I am pleased to finally be able to say, β€œYes, I am.” of course, I am not writing it from scratch, but am including new material of my own with a collection of articles and excerpts that speak from my voice, in tandem with others' voices.

These were the ideal pieces with which to capture the feeling of the Catskills legacy. When I have wanted to learn more about this rich heritage, sought to suggest readings to others . . .

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