Jews as Mainers: Jewish Contributions to Maine's Culture

Maccabiah patch, Camp Lown, ca. 1958

Maccabiah patch, Camp Lown, ca. 1958
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Camp Lown, located in Oakland, was one of Maine’s Jewish summer camps. The general trend of Jewish summer camps in Maine was to have a Jewish name, a mostly Jewish staff, and a primarily Jewish collection of campers.

For most camps, this is where their Jewish identity ended. Lown was an exception, opting to flavor American camp traditions in a new way with a strong focus on Jewish religion and culture.

Camp Lown is an example of a Jewish summer camp that was both American and distinctly Jewish. The camp held daily prayer services, along with Friday night services every week for Shabbat.

But Lown was also known for maintaining the important aspects of other American summer camps. Substituting the classic camp tradition of “color wars” for the more Jewish Maccabiah (a similar all-camp competition of games and sports), Lown sought to give its campers an authentic American camp experience each summer while delivering a healthy dose of Jewish culture and religious observance.

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