The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland," with Marisa Scheinfeld

A Live, Online Event Recorded Via Zoom on September 24, 2020

Once a thriving vacation spot in the Catskill Mountains, today the Borscht Belt is recalled through the nostalgic lens of summer swims, Saturday night dances, and comedy performances. But its current state, like that of many other formerly glorious regions, is nothing like its earlier status. Forgotten about and exhausted, much of the Borscht Belt's structural environment has been left to decay. This illustrated talk features Marisa Scheinfeld’s photographs of abandoned sites in the Catskill Mountains region of Upstate New York, where resorts, hotels, and bungalow colonies flourished during the middle decades of the twentieth century. The images were shot inside and outside locations that once buzzed with life as year-round havens for generations of people. Scheinfeld will discuss the rise, fall, and impact of the Borscht Belt, along with the deeper, more layered meanings she finds in the series. The presentation will be followed by a short Q&A.

Marisa Scheinfeld was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1980 and raised in the Catskills. Her photographic projects and books are among the collections of the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, Yeshiva University Museum, and many others. In 2016, Cornell University Press released her first book entitled The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland. Marisa is currently a visiting assistant professor of photography at SUNY Purchase and working on her second book.

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