A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping : Essays Honoring the Fiftieth Anniversary of Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, Union for Reform Judaism, in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping : Essays Honoring the Fiftieth Anniversary of Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, Union for Reform Judaism, in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping : Essays Honoring the Fiftieth Anniversary of Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, Union for Reform Judaism, in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping : Essays Honoring the Fiftieth Anniversary of Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, Union for Reform Judaism, in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Synopsis

The history of educational summer camps in American Reform Judaism.

Excerpt

As part of the commemorative activities marking the fiftieth anniversary of Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI), the Anniversary Celebration Committee wanted to publish a history of the camp. After some consideration, the editors began to envision a collection of thematic essays that provided readers with an interpretive history on the rise and development of Reform Jewish camping as seen through the lens of the movement’s first camp: osrui.

Union Institute’s first brochure heralded the purchase of the camp “on the shores of beautiful Lac La Belle” by stating, “The success we have had in past years with our short-term meetings, conclaves, and special Summer Institutes, has now led to the establishment of a place of our very own” (italics added). From that point on osrui became a programmatic and liturgical crucible ever enhancing and advancing Jewish expression in the Reform movement. To celebrate its fiftieth year, we explore these remarkable influences, which grew dramatically in spite of limited financing and initial recognition.

This volume concentrates on three focal points. First, some of the chapters examine OSRUI’s early history and its place in the evolution of Jewish camping in America. Collectively, these essays reconstruct the various factors that culminated in the establishment of the Reform movement’s first summer camp in 1 952. Dr. Gary P. Zola’s chapter, “Jewish Camping and Its Relationship to the Organized Camping Movement in America,” analyzes how organized camping in America influenced the development of Jewish camping. This same theme receives more detailed focus in Jonathan D. Sarna’s essay, “The Crucial Decade in Jewish Camping.” Sarna contends that OSRUI’s beginnings parallel the establishment of other Jewish denominational or ideologically driven camps, marking a significant new phase in the history of Jewish camping. Finally, Michael M. Lorge and Gary Zola contribute a chapter on the confluence of . . .

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