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Tag : Summer

The Lilith Blog

July 27, 2020 by

Get Your Chill On

The first cold soup I ever tasted I hated. For years. 

How unfortunate that it was introduced to me (dare I say pushed on me?) by the two women I admired most, my mother and my small-but-mighty Russian grandmother. Imagine walking seven long blocks home from elementary school for a tasty lunch, only to be met by a bowl of beet borscht from a jar. Yes, jarred!  Two women who made from scratch the hit parade of Ashkenazic food– chicken soup, brisket, tongue, sweetbreads, both potato and noodle kugels, even gefilte fish– loved their industrial borscht, adding sour cream to complete the dish. I gagged trying to get it down, rarely succeeding.

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July 27, 2020 by

Camp, Even When It’s Not Summer

ELANA REBITZER spends summers at Camp Ramah in Northern California and is pursuing a masters degree in English education from Brandeis University.

When the summer camp I work for announced the cancellation of all in-person programming for summer 2020, many of my campers quickly took to Instagram to proclaim “until 2021.” This summer and the upcoming year are going to be really hard for the camp industry; many camps rely on camper tuition to sustain themselves during the year and will face uncertain financial futures without it this summer. For the campers who were going to start their camp journey this summer, the high schoolers who were going to be counselors-in-training, and everybody in between, the loss of this summer will no doubt weaken their connection to camps and could damage camper and staff retention for years down the road.

But, as my campers’ commitment to returning down the road shows, the loss of this summer could also strengthen the connections that people feel to their summer camps. So many of the things that people lose during coronavirus (like large group social interactions and physical closeness with others) are the very same things that make summer camps the special places that they are. Rather than do away with those important qualities, I imagine that (as soon as they can safely do so) the reopened camps will look very similar to the pre-pandemic world.

Outside of camp, one thing that could change for the better is the quality of year-round virtual programming. As camps have prepared to announce their canceled summers, many have also instituted virtual programs like weekly Shabbat / Havdalah ceremonies and summer reunions to maintain the community connection year-round. If camps can find a sustainable way to support staff to continue providing these programs, the non-summer months could be filled with much more camp content in years to come. 

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April 12, 2018 by

Girls at Hasidic Summer Camp

Be on the lookout for Pearl Gluck’s Summer, a short film of sexual exploration set in a Hasidic sleepaway camp in the Catskills. Gluck, 45, went from growing up Hasidic in Borough Park, Brooklyn, to college at Brandeis, with a quirky feminist affection for her roots. At the film’s world premiere at the January 2018 New York Jewish Film Festival, she cheerfully admitted to autobiography in this film she wrote, directed and produced.

The 18-minute film captures the ferocious energy of a camp full of adolescent girls and the gentle secrecy of two friends’ illicit inquiry into a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves. (Though with all the current complexities of “consent,” one girl’s pressuring another makes this reviewer a little uncomfortable.) The attractive young rebbetzin entrusted with the campers’ moral education stays on message: “You are always in the presence of God, but you are also always in the presence of matchmakers.… Above all, don’t mess up your chances for a good match.” Look for Summer, with score by The Klezmatics’ Lisa Gutkin, on the film festival circuit.

Gluck’s Hasidic filmic feminism goes back to Divan (2003/Netflix, Amazon, Fandor). It’s her own Hasidic tale, journeying through Hungary in search of the ancestral couch where revered rebbes slept. Not a one-note filmmaker, her latest film, The Turn Out, explores sex trafficking at America’s rural truck stops. More on Gluck’s films and contact information to arrange screenings, at palinkapictures.com

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