A Hebrew Infusion: Hebrew at American Jewish Summer Camps with Sharon Avni, Sarah Bunin Benor, and Jonathan Krasner

Sharon Avni, Sarah Bunin Benor, and Jonathan Krasner join us to talk about talk about their recent book Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps, and the big issues it raises about the role of Hebrew in American Jewish culture and history.

Hebrew Infusion combines sociological, historical, and linguistic approaches to thinking about what our guests term Camp Hebraized English. But while it may seem to be focused on a very specific cultural and linguistic development at a very specific time and place—at camps in the summer—it speaks to broad issues about the changes that have taken place in American Jewish culture, and what it means for there to be an infusion of Hebrew and other aspects of Jewish culture in camp and also different spheres of Jewish life. Thanks for listening in for this fascinating conversation about how language functions in Jewish culture.

Sharon Avni is Associate Professor of Academic Literacy and Linguistics at CUNY, the City University of New York. Her research has examined how ideologies of language, heritage, diaspora and peoplehood are constructed and negotiated through educational practices and policies in formal and experiential educational sites for Jewish American urban youth.

Sarah Bunin Benor is Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. In addition to Hebrew Infusion, which we’re talking about today, she is also the author of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism, which was awarded the 2013 Sami Rohr Choice Award for Jewish Literature.

Jonathan Krasner is the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Associate Professor on Jewish Education Research at Brandeis University. He is the author of The Benderly Boys and American Jewish Education, which was awarded the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies.

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