Jewish Summer Camping
Summer camping brings to mind carefree days of summer leisure, close bonds with nature, and lifelong friendships. Organized summer camping is a uniquely American way for children to spend their summers and is popular for many ethnic, cultural, and identity groups. Since the beginning of American organized summer camps, American Jews have enthusiastically sent their children to participate in summer camps. Over time camping became not just a form of Americanization for Jews, but a way to assert their Jewish identity. Camps encouraged religious practice, brought Jewish children together to socialize with their fellow Jews, and taught Jewish values. These Jewish values changed with time, often encompassing religious worship, gender equality, and secular Jewish ethics. However camps have always strived to teach children to understand themselves and their world through participatory, entertaining activities.