Leisure and Recreation

Jewish summer camps

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Jewish parents often sent their children to summer camps, seeking to give them a rustic outdoors experience while protecting them from polio infection. While Jews attended many of Maine’s summer camps, several stand out as particularly Jewish. Camp Lown, among the most Jewish of Maine’s camps, provided an excellent place for children to have an authentic Maine summer camp experience while furthering their connection to Judaism and meeting other Jews. Most camps served primarily as a place for children to have fun, make friends, and take part in pastimes such as tennis tournaments. Camps like Lown also focused on Jewish identity, offering education and cultural life as well as the sports and other activities that other camps offered. These camps created a sense of statewide Jewish community for Mainers who may have been the only Jews in their class at school. Maccabiah patches from Camp Lown “Maccabiah” is a Jewish version of the classic summer camp color war, named after an amateur youth sports tournament held in Israel.

Click here to see patches made by Waterville-area 5th graders expressing their own identities.

Courtesy of Robin Rubinstein