The Crucial Decade in Jewish Camping

By Jonathan D. Sarna

University of Alabama Press, 2006

The founding in 1952 of the first Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) camp, in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, concluded the most portentous decade in the history of Jewish camping. The decade also marked a turning point in the character of the whole Jewish camping movement. Before 1940, according to Daniel Isaacman's admittedly imprecise figures, some two-thirds of all new Jewish camps were either philanthropic, geared to the children of immigrants and the urban Jewish poor, or community-based camps founded by Jewish federations and community centers. By contrast, in the two decades following 1940 less than a quarter of all new camps fell into these categories, while almost 40 percent of them trumpeted educational and religious aims; they were sponsored either by a major Jewish religious movement, a Hebrew teachers' college, or a Hebrew cultural institution. Revealingly, fewer than 5 percent of all new Jewish camps had fallen into these categories before 1940. Indeed, until the 1940s, Hebrew-language camps (with one brief and minor exception) and the so-called denominational Jewish camps did not exist at all.

Topic: Reform Judaism, History, Jewish Camp, Organizational Development, Masorti Judaism, Jewish Identity, Conservative Judaism, Education, Religion, Camp

Name of Publication: A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping

Editor: Lorge, M. M. , Zola, G. P.

Page Number(s): 27-51

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Genre: Book Chapter

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Author

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Sarna, Jonathan D. The Crucial Decade in Jewish Camping. A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping. University of Alabama Press. 2006: 27-51.


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