Catskill Pleasures Year-Round


It is wonderful to see The Jewish Week taking notice that “a new generation” is “creating new memories” in the Jewish Catskills (“The Catskills Come Alive,” Editorial, July 9).

The one point I contest is that the Catskills “come alive” only in the summer months. As a new resident of the town of the once-famed Grossinger’s Hotel, I held the popular misconception that the Catskills were of a bygone era and there was not much in the way of Jewish life anymore. You could wax nostalgic, but no more.   

Friends and family thought we would never find kehillah [community] in the Catskills. It was too cold, too remote, too not Jewish anymore. We attend a Modern Orthodox shul, our son goes to the Hebrew day school of Sullivan & Ulster Counties, we have access to kosher food and meat year-round, and there are a smattering of kosher restaurants open all year.  

Most importantly, we have found kehillah. It’s not your typical Modern Orthodox community and it requires a bit more shlepping, kvetching, and snow shoveling, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And much like the bygone era, you’re not in a shvitz when summer comes. In a greener era, we choose not to use the air conditioner. I have to say, the Catskills are not just for summer anymore. The real transformation of the new Jewish Catskills happens after the summer.