Weekly Update • Thursday, September 3
Session 3: Summer (Camp) Magic
Tuesday, September 8, at 11am Central
Join the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) on Tuesday, September 8, for a celebration of the history of Jewish summer camp. Organized camping began in the United States at the turn of the 20th century, as concerns about urbanization and industrialization took hold among Progressive Era social reformers. Jewish institutions and educators looked to camping to build Jewish identity as well as to help recent Jewish immigrants to assimilate into American culture. Along the way, summer camp became a staple of American Jewish childhood.

This playful and informative session will feature the current director of URJ Jacobs Camp in Utica, Mississippi, as well as stories from Jewish camps across the South.

If you're passionate about camp or are nostalgic about summers past—or if you want to know more about how this uniquely American institution developed—this is the session for you.

Image caption: The dining hall at URJ Jacobs Camp in Utica, Mississippi, in 1975.
Past Program: Visit Natchez, Mississippi
Nora Katz, ISJL Director of Heritage and Interpretation, welcomed us to Natchez, Mississippi, home to the oldest Jewish community in the state.

If you missed the session, it's available any time on our website.

We learned about the early history of Jewish life in Natchez, how the community grew and changed over time, and how Jews and others profited from the institution of slavery before and after the Civil War.

We also met public historians who are working to tell truthful, thoughtful, and engaging stories about Natchez's past—visit the websites of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, the Historic Natchez Foundation, and Visit Natchez to learn more.

If you were moved by the story of Jewish life in Natchez, consider making a donation to help restore and preserve Temple B'nai Israel.
Go Deeper
Each week, this space will include opportunities to engage with southern Jewish history and the topics we've covered in the week's session. Have suggestions for the kinds of information you'd like to receive in this email? Have more questions about one of our live streams? Email us at heritage@isjl.org.
We had a lot of great questions this week about the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians. They just launched a virtual reality tour that allows you to explore the site and its history on your smartphone. Download the Timelooper app from the Google Play store or Apple app store and scroll down to find Mississippi. Download the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians tour to see the site as it looked in 1730!


Missing summer camp days, or wishing summer could last a little longer? Bring camp (and camp food) to your home! Consider making dinner over a campfire, making summer camping a little more grown-up (there is obviously a summer cocktail involved), or making some classic dishes from Reform summer camps. There are vegetarian options for camping foods, too! Maybe you want to get really ambitious and bake challah on a grill. Your ISJL Virtual Vacation tour guide is definitely going to make a big container of GORP.

Forward this email to someone who you think would love the ISJL Virtual Vacation—we appreciate your help spreading the word about this program!
A view of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians in 1730 in virtual reality. Download the Timelooper app to explore the site on your smartphone!
Saturday night chicken dinner at URJ Jacobs Camp in the early 1990s. Photograph by Bill Aron.
Welcome to the ISJL Virtual Vacation!
We're excited to introduce you to the South’s vibrant cultural heritage, the big themes of southern Jewish history, the folks working to advance social justice in the South, and our region’s natural beauty, music, and food. There’s so much to explore—join us for a summer vacation from the comfort of your home!

Weekly digital events—live on the ISJL Facebook page and available any time on the ISJL Virtual Vacation website—feature museums, historic sites, scholars, chefs, and more from across the region.

Sign up now to join the journey. We're excited to travel with you, wherever you are.
To support this program and others like it, please consider donating to the ISJL.
Start your virtual southern Jewish journey with ISJL resources designed to provide engaging windows into the history of the Jewish South.
The ISJL's Virtual Road Trip Through the Jewish South is an interactive collection of online resources accessible from anywhere. Check it out and get inspired before you begin the Virtual Vacation!
We'll travel again soon! When it's safe to hit the road, the ISJL can build a variety of trips through different southern states, emphasizing southern Jewish life, Civil Rights history, and southern culture. It's never too early to start planning your group's next adventure!