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Since the dawn of time Jews have been trying to figure out where to go for the summer. Winters was easy. You go to Florida. After many years of exploration, the Jews came upon The Mountains. They were worried to settle there, as there was no butcher. Nonetheless, they found cattle and a hotel. And that led to bungalows. I thus bring you into the world of what makes for the modern day The Mountains and bungalow experience.
The Mountains are the one great stronghold of Jewish American tradition. The traditions of delis is gone, we don’t have the Lower East Side, we don’t have Americans born with Eastern European accents. All we have are trees during the summer and Bloomingdale’s.
Every summer, the Jews of New York flock to The Mountains. I am here to bring you the life of The Mountains, so that you can navigate the bungalow and the Jewish American Summer Vacation the way it was traditionally supposed to be celebrated, with food.
New York City Without Tolls
Imagine taking Brooklyn and putting it someplace with foliage.
The Jews of New York want to see grass and trees. That is summer vacation. Other than that, there is nothing new anybody wants to see on vacation, other than New York City. Small supermarkets and pizza shops is what people want.
New Yorkers could drive up Interstate 80 for a bit and turn back home. They would find some trees. However, after driving on the highway for an hour or so, you get tired. So, they colonized The Mountains. Anybody who lives in Brooklyn or Manhattan cannot handle two hours of driving, if it's not in traffic. The beeping and people cutting you off keeps you up.
To Note: During the summer, there's enough traffic in The Mountains to keep you up on weekends.
What Are The Mountains?
The Mountains are a plateau consisting of the Catskills and Poconos. There’s nature, trees, and you can see greenery. Therefore, people from Brooklyn call it The Mountains. In Brooklyn, mountains means grass and flowers. That is where they grow. In mountains. That is how they teach geography in Flatbush. Anything with grass is a mountain, including a meadow.
The Mountains must be capitalized, as it is a Jewish city. I do not believe that New Yorkers have ever traveled further than The Mountains. This is what makes them ‘The’ Mountains.
The Jewish Homeland for two and a half months, and the home of non-Jewish people the whole year, The Mountains is also known as land occupied by Jews in Upstate New York. It is a highly politically contested area. Even so, it doesn’t make the news, because nobody outside of the five boroughs wants to live in a bungalow.
The idea is to move from a home with central air to a hut with a screen door that doesn’t keep out mosquitos. That is enjoyment for New Yorkers; a screen door that doesn’t shut. A home with uneven floors and no air-conditioning.
It's all for the experience. You might get to see bluets.
Get Out of The Apartment
The hovel with the tilted fun room floors, made of wood that has not been shellacked, is enjoyed by people who are trying to get away from their two-million-dollar apartment. Multimillion dollar apartments aren’t built to accommodate summer enjoyment, or the New York 85-degree temperatures that equal humidity of 180.
Clothing is a Nightgown
Walk around in nightgowns. That is the style. I have no explanation for this.
Use Your Front Lawn
Bungalows are communal. People bring out tables, benches, chairs. Bring whatever you can out of your bungalow; fridges, ovens, dressers. This frees up the hovel and gives you enough space to sleep. Don’t worry about what the neighbors think about you keeping your clothes outside. You’re going to be wearing the nightgown all day anyways.
This is something the kids don’t enjoy. If they ever get decent reception and internet access in The Mountains, this tradition will be done. Kids will once again be sitting at dinner on the web, posting pictures of their mom walking around in a nightgown at dinner.
Jews leaving New York City, move as one and live in what is known as a colony. It is a form of protection against the unknown terrain and being caught without a Minyin. It's also a way of supporting each other in the decision of moving from air-conditioning to a shack.
It's a Kibbutz where nobody works the land. It's a modern day Kibbutz. A modern day Kibbutz with more Yiddish.
The hotel resort industry was big in The Mountains until the 1980s, and then the movie Dirty Dancing came out. Patrick Swayze and the dance instructors were living in the bungalows, and all the religious Jews decided they wanted to be there.
Reasons the hotels closed: Patrick Swayze and finances. The Jewish people would not settle for anything less than twenty four hours of buffet and constant dinner.
Next time we shall be discussing the activities one does in The Mountains, such as taking in air. We shall discuss what city dwellers are willing to do for a breeze, and why glamping makes no sense.
We will try our best to figure out more ways to talk about New Yorkers. Please forgive me if I didn't mention New Jersey in this article.
The pantry at my friend’s bungalow. She wanted to make sure no bugs made it out of there alive. I don't know what vendetta she had against the hexapoda kingdom. I'm assuming they got into the cereal. The ants had no chance. Three of those were ant execution shpritzes.
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What do you call a bird with good Hebrew grammar? A dikduck.
You get it? Dikduk means grammar in Hebrew. Substituting 'duk' with 'duck.' Brilliant. And the animals are laughing too.
The reason we moved to Israel. Kosher Burger King. Menu on the wall... As David shared upon his Aliyah arrival, 'The burgers are kosher. We've been redeemed.' Then, he ate and expressed his amazement at how they already knew what he wanted, like a miracle, as the burger was ready before he ordered.