It is wonderful to see The Jewish Week taking notice that “a new generation” is “creating new memories” in the Jewish Catskills (“The Catskills Come Alive,” Editorial, July 9).
The one point I contest is that the Catskills “come alive” only in the summer months. As a new resident of the town of the once-famed Grossinger’s Hotel, I held the popular misconception that the Catskills were of a bygone era and there was not much in the way of Jewish life anymore. You could wax nostalgic, but no more.
Friends and family thought we would never find kehillah [community] in the Catskills. It was too cold, too remote, too not Jewish anymore. We attend a Modern Orthodox shul, our son goes to the Hebrew day school of Sullivan & Ulster Counties, we have access to kosher food and meat year-round, and there are a smattering of kosher restaurants open all year.
Most importantly, we have found kehillah. It’s not your typical Modern Orthodox community and it requires a bit more shlepping, kvetching, and snow shoveling, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And much like the bygone era, you’re not in a shvitz when summer comes. In a greener era, we choose not to use the air conditioner. I have to say, the Catskills are not just for summer anymore. The real transformation of the new Jewish Catskills happens after the summer.