By Ari Paskoff, Camp Harlam Alum:
Last week, a group of Harlam’s DC area alumni gathered for a delicious Shabbat dinner at the home of our most recent K’far Noar Unit Head, Eric Berman. It was the third installment of our DC Shabbat dinners, and it is an amazing way to keep the camp community connected and every gathering has been an absolute blast for all involved. What started as three post-college, working adults cooking for the local college students has grown into a dinner for Harlam alumni of all ages in the area.
It takes a unique community for an 18-year old college freshman and a 30-year old to carry on a long conversation, having so much in common. Having Camp Harlam as the common bond makes these conversations seamless and natural. So far every dinner has consisted of at least one introduction that went something along the lines of “wow I have heard so much about you, it is great to finally meet you in person.” Camp stories are told and rehashed. There is excellent cooking, laughter, and a promise to do it again soon.
Unfortunately due to our work, school and other responsibilities, it is not possible to see each other as much as we would like. I personally have lived in DC for the better part of the last 6 years, and even Camp Harlam friends who live less than a mile away I would rarely, if ever, see, and certainly not on a regular basis. These Shabbat dinners have been a great way for me to see former co-counselors, co-supervisors, friends, and bunkmates in a great, truly “camp” way. I strongly encourage everyone, at least a few times a year, to organize these Shabbat dinners. For those returning to Harlam this summer, it serves as a great re-energizer for camp when everyone is hitting their not-being-at-camp winter blues. For those who no longer have the opportunity to go back to camp, it is a great way to reminisce, and (while they may not openly admit it) Shabbat dinner serves as a great forum to live vicariously through those fortunate to still call Camp Harlam their summer home.
While the Camp Harlam buildings and structures exist in the 18058, the community is all over the world, and being able to bring it together on a local level helps all of us not only “Think Camp” all year round, but now we “Live Camp” all year as well.
Shabbat Shalom to all of the Camp Harlam community and their families!