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Cytron Lecture with Sandra Fox: “Jewish Summer Camps and Yiddish Culture in Postwar America”

March 23 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

The Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies presents 

The 2023 Phyllis W. and Rabbi Barry D. Cytron Lecture Series in Yiddish Culture

“Jewish Summer Camps and Yiddish Culture in Postwar America”
Sandra Fox (New York University)

Thursday, March 23
Pyle Center 

This lecture will also be livestreamed via Zoom for anyone unable to attend in person. To receive the Zoom information, please register in advance via the following link:

In the decades directly following the Holocaust, Jewish leaders anxiously debated how to preserve and produce what they considered authentic Jewish culture, fearful that upward mobility and suburbanization threatened the integrity of Jewish life in America. In their searches for solutions to the problem of cultural decline, postwar Jews came to see residential summer camps as panaceas to their communal ills, constructing deeply educational and ideological camp programs with an eye towards collective transformation. Yiddishists — Jews who dedicated their efforts to the future of Yiddish culture and speech in America — not only set the groundwork for Jewish educational camping to take off, but participated in this wider phenomenon of anxiety over the state of postwar Jewry. And yet despite their vital roles, Yiddishists are often left out of the story of Jewish camping, education, and identity-building in postwar America. In this talk, Sandra Fox will take us through how Yiddishists embraced the sleepaway camp as a potential cure for Yiddish cultural and linguistic decline, and how the generations at these camp clashed and converged on their paths towards creating a new purpose for and style of Yiddishism befitting the postwar moment.

Sandra Fox is the Goldstein-Goren Visiting Assistant Professor of Hebrew & Judaic Studies at New York University, and director of the Archive of the American Jewish Left in the Digital Age. Her research interests include American Jewish history, the history of youth and childhood, Yiddish culture, and the history of sexuality. Her forthcoming book, The Jews of Summer: Summer Camp and Jewish Culture in Postwar America (Stanford University Press, February 2023) addresses the lived experiences of youth in postwar Jewish summer camps, and the place of intergenerational negotiation in the making of American Jewish culture. Sandra received her doctorate from New York University’s joint History and Hebrew Judaic Studies program in 2018. In addition to her research, Sandra is the founder and executive producer of the Yiddish-language podcast Vaybertaytsh: A Feminist Podcast in Yiddish, and is a peer-review editor at In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies.

For a PDF of this poster, click here


March 23
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Pyle Center
702 Langdon St.
Madison, WI 53706 United States
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(608) 262-1122