By Robert Lichtman, Chief Jewish Learning Officer
Camp Harlam, a URJ overnight Jewish summer camp and one of the founding partner camps in our Greater MetroWest Jewish Camp Enterprise, recently convened a special meeting to honor key stakeholders such as donors, volunteers, campers, and staff. I was there to represent our Federation and Foundation as we were to be the first recipient of their Community Partner Award.
As I walked into the new “Beit” as they call it (short for Beit Knesset) I wore a number of hats:
I wore the hat of One Happy Camper NJ, which has awarded more than 100 grants to Greater MetroWest children to attend Camp Harlam over the past five summers;
I wore the hat of our Global Connections department which provides a shaliach (a young Israeli emissary) who is dedicated to work with the Reform Jewish community in Greater MetroWest and at camp;
I wore the hat of our Fundraising Academy and Marketing Academy, both offered by the Greater MetroWest Jewish Summer Camp Enterprise to build capacity for Camp Harlam in these crucial endeavors;
I wore the hat of our Camp-Community Connections experiment which supported a joint professional hire between Temple Emanu-El in Westfield and Camp Harlam, specifically for the purpose of bringing camp to the congregation and more congregational children to the camp.
And so imagine the pride I felt underneath all of those hats when the presentation to us began with these words: “Our friends in Greater MetroWest NJ at the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Foundation are without peer. To list the ways that Harlam has benefited from their support over the years would take a very long time to share. So it was without question that our first honoree for the Community Partner Award would be our Greater MetroWest partners.”
Here at Federation, we see our work with Jewish camps as an important investment in the future of our community. Of course, none of this support would be possible without our partners — the congregations, schools, camps, youth groups, and colleagues who work side by side with us to promote the invaluable Jewish identity-building experience of Jewish summer camp.
To find out more about Camp Harlam and other Jewish overnight camps in the area contact Tracy Levine, Director of the Greater MetroWest Jewish Summer Camp Enterprise at (973) 929-2970 or firstname.lastname@example.org.