In the Catskills

A Century of Jewish Experience in "The Mountains"

Edited by Phil Brown

Columbia University Press

In the Catskills

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Pub Date: April 2004

ISBN: 9780231123617

367 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $29.95£24.00

Pub Date: May 2002

ISBN: 9780231123600

367 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $75.00£58.00

Pub Date: April 2004

ISBN: 9780231504409

367 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $28.99£23.00

In the Catskills

A Century of Jewish Experience in "The Mountains"

Edited by Phil Brown

Columbia University Press

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.
For those who once found respite from their usual activities in the Catskills, this collection of essays is a wonderful reminder. For everyone else, the book helps to provide a permanent record of an era that is a vital part of American Jewish History. Morton Teicher, Jewish Advocate
Phil Brown's new book... is Catskills gold, a rich collection of short stories, essays, excerpts of novels and memoirs, along with vintage photographs, menus, postcards, and song lyrics. More than a nostalgic album, the book is evocative, serious, literary, and fun, too. The Jewish Week
A nostalgic pastiche of fiction, memoir, photography, art, postcards, menus, etc., celebrating Jewish resort life in the Catskills. Providence Journal (RI)
A warm, witty and schmaltzy book. Newark Star-Ledger
A gripping and powerful depiction of a traumatized and emergent community engaged in the pursuit of leisure. The fiction, essays and memoirs all share a dreamlike intensity of emotion and degree of detail that create the sense that the contributors are still revisiting the Catskills in their sleep and trying to describe it when they wake. National Post
Brown has been the unofficial historian of this part of the Jewish-American experience, and this anthology... is a great look at the history of Catskill culture. Publishers Weekly
Delightful. The Jerusalem Post
Whether describing the history and landscape of the Catskill region, the culinary inventions, or the legendary entertainment, this anthology evokes all the flavors and memories of a bygone era. Brandeis Review
Phil Brown's edited collection is a warm, charming, and valuable work. Much of the writing is simply gorgeous, a mixture of meticulously remembered details and the wisdom of the passing years. Paul Buhle, Contemporary Sociology
Introduction, by Phil Brown
Part 1: History
Jewish Farmers of the Catskills, by Abraham Lavender and Clarence Steinberg
Hotels and the Holocaust, by Reuben Wallenrod
The Catskills at the End of World War II, by Martin Boris
Part 2: Boarding House, Bungalow, and Kuchalayn Life
The Yearning Heifer, by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Grine Felder--A Place in the Country, by Martin Boris
Bingo by the Bungalow, by Thane Rosenbaum
Bungalow Colony Life, by Irwin Richman
Part 3: Hotel Life
Dinner at the Rigi Kulm House, by Abraham Cahan
Old Stock, by Hortense Calisher
Young Workers in the Hotels, by Phil Brown
The Pool, by Eileen Pollack
Growing Up at Grossinger's, by Tania Grossinger
Reflections on the Delmar Hotel and the Demise of the Catskills, by Jerry A. Jacobs
Part 4: Entertainment
Comics, Singers, and Tummlers, by Joey Adams (with Henry Tobias)
The Social Director in the Adult Summer Camp, by Moss Hart
The Casino, by Harvey Jacobs
The Fine art of Mountain Tummling, by Joyce Wadler
Shoot the Shtrudel to me Yudel--music and lyrics, by Henry Foner
Part 5: Romance
Miss Tevkin, by Abraham Cahan
Forbidden Fruit, by Harvey Jacobs
Amy Lourie, by Terry Kay
Part 6: Religion
Bungalow Summer, by Robert Eisenberg
The Shul in Kaaterskill Falls, by Allegra Goodman
Food
Eating at the Hotel, by Sarah Sandberg
The Catskills Remembered, by Vivian Gornick
Bungalow, by Elizabeth Ehrlich

About the Author

Phil Brown is a professor of sociology and environmental studies at Brown University. He is co-founder and President of the Catskills Institute (a historical preservation society) and author of Catskill Culture: A Mountain Rat's Memories of the Great Jewish Resort Area.