Remembering Jay Jason
Dear Blog Visitors:
As I continue to research my ancestry, I have been doing some writing on some of the more notable members of my family. One such person was the late Jay Jason. (His real name was Jonas Levy.) Jay's name will be familiar to those of you who used to frequent what was commonly referred to as 'The Borscht Belt.'
The Borscht Belt was a name given to a group of summer resorts that lined the area surrounded by the Catskill Mountains in New York State.
If you have been following either my blog or YouTube channel, you are aware that I have Judaism on my father's side of the family and Catholicism on my mother's side. One of my fondest memories of growing up in a mixed religious environment was our annual trek to the Prospect Inn in the Catskills. During some of these outings, we were able to see my cousin, Jay Jason, perform on stage. He also performed regularly at the well-known and popular resort, 'Grossinger's.'
The Borscht Belt resorts were created in response to anti-semitism that was sadly rampant in the United States for many years. While it may be hard to believe for those in the younger generation, the fact remains that it was difficult for Jewish families to register in hotels in many of our American cities. (Be sure to see the 1945 movie, 'Gentlemen's Agreement' that focuses on this issue.) So, the Borscht Belt was created so that Jewish families would have a safe refuge on summer vacations.
In addition to performing at Catskill resorts, my cousin Jay Jason also appeared a few times on the Ed Sullivan Show. I recall Jay telling me that Ed Sullivan was often nervous about comedians appearing on live television, so they had to assure Ed that their jokes were clean.
I thought I would pay tribute to Jay by posting the memorabilia posted above.
Peace to all,