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Hey, Bungalow Bill

Hey, Bungalow Bill

Associate Editor

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Here’s Steve Lipman’s visit to the Orthodox Bunaglows Baseball League. Sheldon Silver was a player but not Pedro Espada.

And here’s a terrific piece by Andy Silow-Carroll, editor of the New Jersey Jewish News, on the many virtues of Jewish bungalow life, and his own bungalow memories:

“You didn’t go to the ‘colony’ for the accommodations; you went for the people. The kids went to day camp, while the fathers fished or played golf and the mothers sat in a circle of Adirondack chairs on the “campus,” smoking, knitting, and playing cards. Rotating committees were in charge of evening entertainment, like mock bar mitzvas in the social hall (off-limits to the kids) and Israeli dancing. There was exactly one telephone, in the “main house,” and if your parents got a call someone would stand on the porch with a megaphone and yell out their names….

“The Foundation for Jewish Camp… aims to make camp ‘a critical element of every Jewish young person’s education.’ But why stop with the kids? The bungalow colony was essentially a family camp, where parents and kids grooved on the informal, the emotional, and the communal. It was a Jewish bubble, isolated from the pressures of the suburban worlds we inhabited 10 months out of the year. (When we bring back the secular bungalow colony, I’d like to enforce the One Telephone rule. Leave your BlackBerrys at the front office.) You can take the Jew out of the city, but you can make a Jew in the country. And I am speaking figuratively here, although who knows what some fresh mountain air and tiny cabins might do for the Jewish fertility rate.”

“… I’ll take it as an encouraging sign that Jerry Silverman, who made a splash as executive director of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, was just named as president and CEO of United Jewish Communities, the umbrella group for Jewish federations. Silverman has written, ‘We need to take what we’ve learned about developing emotional Judaism at camp and use it to construct a ‘road map’ to engagement and success in the Jewish community.’

“I’ve got the map right here, Jerry. It leads up Route 17 into the Catskills, or you can take the New York State Thruway north past Lake George.

“Either way, take me with you.”

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