Isaiah Breakfast Program - Jewish Life in the Catskills  

Isaiah Breakfast Program - Jewish Life in the Catskills

Sunday, January 15, 2017 9:15 AM   -   10:45 AM
Location: Social Hall

Join us to hear Professor Phil Brown tell stories of Jewish life in the Catskills. The resorts of Sullivan and Ulster County were the playground of New York (and other) Jews for the better part of the 20th century. In “The Mountains,” Jews could have a proper vacation and become Americanized, while preserving much of their Jewish culture. These vacation spots were not merely resorts where you stayed, but were miniature societies, where people knew lots about each other and created intricate relationships in a neighborhood and family mentality that would not be found at an ordinary resort. These vacationers created a whole resort land, shaped by their urban culture. They imported their music, humor, vaudeville revue style, cuisine, language, and worldviews. This resort-based mini-society was a collective enterprise woven with humor, food, entertainment, Yiddish culture, and a myriad of patchwork efforts that built many small communities and a giant community.

Phil Brown studies the Jewish experience in the Catskill Mountains. He is founder and President of the Catskills Institute, an organization that works to record and remember the history of the Catskills through conferences, public speaking, support of scholarly research, collecting materials for the world’s largest archive of Catskills items, and running a large website. For 13 years in a row he ran an annual History of the Catskills Conference. Most recently he has focused on the experience of the Holocaust and immediate period after in the Catskills. His books include Catskill Culture: A Mountain Rat's Memories of the Great Jewish Resort Area, In the Catskills: A Century of the Jewish Experience, In “The Mountains” (editor), and Summer Haven: The Catskills, the Holocaust, and the Literary Imagination, (co-editor with Holli Levitsky). Phil Brown is University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences at Northeastern University where he directs the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute and is on the Executive Committee of the Jewish Studies Program. Phil plays piano in the klezmer band Too Klez for Comfort.