Presented by Marisa Scheinfeld

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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 its structural environment has been left to decay. This illustrated lecture features Marisa Scheinfeld’s photographs of abandoned sites where resorts, hotels, and bungalow colonies once boomed in the Catskill Mountain region of upstate New York. The images were shot inside and outside locations that once buzzed with life as year-round havens for generations of people. In her illustrated talk, Scheinfeld will discuss the rise, fall, and impact of the Borscht Belt.

Marisa Scheinfeld was born in Brooklyn and raised in the Catskills. She received her BA from the State University of New York at Albany and her MFA from San Diego State University. Scheinfeld’s photographic projects and books are among the collections of the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, Yeshiva University Museum, the National Yiddish Book Center, the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life at UC Berkeley, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and the Edmund and Nancy K. Dubois Library at the Museum of Photographic Arts. Her first book, The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland, was published by Cornell University Press in 2016. Scheinfeld is currently a visiting assistant professor of photography at SUNY Purchase and is working on her second book.

Program made possible, in part, by Dr. Sandra Cohen.

Co-presented by KlezCalifornia and the Workers Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California