Notes on Camp

Episode 96: Everything you ever wanted to know about summer camp

June 29, 2017

Break out the bug juice—it’s summer-camp week on Unorthodox! We’re talking campfires, Color War, and Mark’s traumatic summer at a nudist camp.

Our first guest is Sandy Fox, a doctoral candidate studying language and everyday life in Zionist, Yiddishist, and denominational summer camps. She’s also the founder of Vaybertaytsh, a feminist podcast entirely in Yiddish. She explains how Jewish summer camps evolved in the postwar period (including a camp for children of Holocaust survivors), the outsize role summer camp plays in American Jewish consciousness today, and how Jews shaped Color War as we know it.

Micah Hart, co-host of the podcast Campfires and Color Wars, tells us about what summers were like as the camp director’s son, the difference between a Jewish camp and a camp where most of the campers happen to be Jewish, and what it means to be “camp hot.”

We also talk to writer Jordana Horn, who hated camp but whose kids love it—all six of them are attending some form of camp this summer. She tells us how Jewish camps give her children a space to develop their own Jewish identity and community, how social media has changed the camp experience for campers and their parents, and what really goes down when the kids ship out for the summer.

Plus, a special update from former guest H. Alan Scott. He talks LGBT politics, pinkwashing, and other takeaways from his first trip to Israel. Listen here.

We love hearing from you! Email us at [email protected]—as always, we’ll share our favorite notes on air.

This episode is brought to you by Harry’s. Go to and enter code UNORTHODOX at checkout to get a free post shave balm.

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Unorthodox is a smart, fresh, fun weekly take on Jewish news and culture hosted by Mark Oppenheimer, Stephanie Butnick, and Liel Leibovitz. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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