The Gantseh Megillah

Borscht Belt
June 1, 2000

Hello my Gantseh Megillah friends & family,

Wasn’t it only yesterday when we were all getting ready to greet the new millennium (a year early. But let’s not get into that now) while worrying about the dreaded Y2K Bug? Has more than half of the much anticipated year 2000 already passed? Seems unbelievable to me.

I remember when I was a little boy, my mother would say to me, “don’t be in such a rush for time to pass. You’ll see, when you get to be my age how fast time really flies.” Of course, like most little kids I shrugged my shoulders and wondered if I would EVER be that old!” When your 7 or 8 somehow 40 seems ancient. Once we reach the fourth decade of our lives however, we realize how very young 40 is. And most of all, I discovered how right my mom was. I will be 53 (G-D willing) on July 11th and I have no idea how I got to be this age. The years from 25-53 seem like nothing more than a blur in time. Please do not misunderstand. I am fully aware of how much has happened during those years, but in my mind, the time simply flew by.

So here we are right at the cusp of the traditional season of vacations and travel. The summer suddenly appeared outside my window, before I was totally conscious of all the Canadian snow having melted. Be that as it may, I decided to indulge myself in this issue of the Megillah, and include a memoir I wrote for our original Web site a few years ago. It’s a short piece explaining a bit of the history of what many of us lovingly refer to as “The Borscht Belt.” The region in the foothills of New York’s Catskill Mountains, which in its heyday was home to hundreds of vacation resorts catering for the most part to the Jewish people who lived in New York City and environs. I hope you will all find it enjoyable.

I would also like to mention a very special event that will be occurring later this summer.

The Catskills Institute will be holding it’s 6th annual History Of The Catskills Conference from Friday 25 August – Sunday 27 August at Kutsher’s Country Club in Monticello, New York.

This is an event where people who lived the Catskills experience gather to reminisce, eat, enjoy scheduled speakers who are experts of the era, eat, schmooze, eat, participate in cultural events, fress, and generally have a heck of a good time. The attendees include former hotel owners, waiters, busboys, entertainers, musicians, day camp counselors, bell hops and guests of the resorts that thrived in those golden years.

Anyone who has ever been to the area knows that Kutsher’s is a gorgeous resort, that has just added new facilities as well as giving the entire establishment a good old fashioned face lift. The facilities are fabulous and the evening entertainment in the Nite Club is top notch Broadway quality. (I must sound like a commercial, don’t I?) Arnold and I will be there for the first time this year. It would be great seeing some of you. If you would like further information, please contact me via email and I will be happy to assist you in any way I can. You can also check out the Catskills Institute Web site for more detailed information.

I hope all off you enjoy this month’s “The Gantseh Megillah.” May all of you enjoy a healthy and relaxing summer.

My love to all of you,

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