01 June 2009

New York City: Catskill summers, June 3

As a Catskills summer kid - Kauneonga Lake - I look for all mentions of the area. I am especially happy to let Tracing the Tribe readers' know about any appearance of Brown University's Professor Phil Brown (no relation) on the Catskills topic.

"The Catskills: Summer Days in the Jewish-American Eden" begins at 7pm, Wednesday, June 3, at the JCC, Amsterdam Avenue and W. 76th Street.

I remember his talk at the New York 2006 international Jewish genealogy conference, when audience members were moved to tears as Phil gave a very emotional talk to a crowd of people. I first met him at Brown a few years earlier when my daughter was a student. We immediately connected on a level that only two Catskills kids - with shared experiences - could have!

Phil Brown is a sociology and environmental studies professor and founder of The Catskills Institute (based at Brown University), which archives everything about the Catskill summer experience. He's the author of "Catskill Culture: A Mountain Rat’s Memories of the Great Jewish Resort Area" and "In the Catskills: A Century of the Jewish Experience in “The Mountains.”

Sharing the billing is Princeton University professor Jenna Weissman Joselit, a celebrated historian of modern American Jewish life and author of "The Wonders of America" and "A Perfect Fit."

Far more than just an ‘upstate’ mountain range, the Catskills was a summer world for generations of east coast Jews. And the Catskills loom large whether you actually summered there, knew someone who did, just read about it, or watched a classic film set amidst its camps, bungalows, and fabled hotels. Pondering the deep meaning of “going to the mountains” will be Joselit and Brown.
For details, call 646-505-5708; admission: JCC members, $10; others, $15.

If you're also a Catskills kid, check out the resources at The Catskills Institute and share your own memories online. Numerous Catskills links are found here.

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