This article considers intergenerational tension, democratic education, and youth culture within postwar American Jewish sleepaway camps. In the years following World War II, American Jews experienced rising affluence and social mobility, leaving tight-knit urban communities for the suburbs in droves. Although these changes afforded Jews myriad benefits, Jewish educators, rabbis, and communal leaders worried these trends would also spell the end of Jewish culture as they understood it. Focusing their anxieties and energies on American Jewish youth, they built educational and highly ideological summer camps, believing that their programs would serve as panacea to their perceived communal ills. However, the lived experience of camp was not defined solely by adults' ideologies, but rather grew in dialogue and tension with the youth they hoped to mold. Considering democratic education, camper resistance, and Jewish youths' dating and sexual culture, the article ultimately shows how the two generations clashed and converged as they shaped camp life, and Jewish culture, for a new American moment.


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pp. 19-37
Launched on MUSE
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