Cool Jews

By Ann Imig

Tis the season for summer camp forms. After filling out two blue books worth of information and medical history on my first grader, and after paying a year’s writer salary (okay five), he will spend three weeks at the same Jewish day camp I attended throughout grade school.

Growing up Jewish in Madison, Wisconsin in the 1980s, temple and summer camp provided the main exposure to my fellow Jews. We saw each other on Tuesdays and Thursdays for Hebrew school, at Sunday School, and on the “shores” of Lake Monona for Red Cross swimming and capture the flag. A couple of us went to the same school, and took turns representing the tribe during Dreidel season, with a tacit understanding among us—Hebrew sounded really weird and we’d rather not ccchhhhuhhh in mixed company. Except Naomi, bless her heart, who played her acoustic guitar in front of the whole school for Fine Arts Week, strumming and baseboard slapping through which 1960’s era Israeli folk song I can’t recall. Choose one from your iPod.

The Jews I grew up with and went to day camp with seemed more like third cousins at the kids’ table than actual friends. We were familiar and nice enough to one another, but only because of our DNA and parental mandate.

Enter overnight camp….


To continue reading Cool Jews, click here to go to Ann’s Rants, where this essay  appeared earlier this summer.  Ann Imig is the founder of Listen To Your Mother, a national series of live readings by local authors in honor of Mothers’ Day. 

About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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