The 2023 Mitch Perlmeter Leadership Award

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This year’s Mitch Perlmeter Award was presented to Elle G on Saturday, July 22nd. The following remarks were given by Assistant Director and 2013 Mitch Perlmeter Leadership Award recipient Aaron Soloman. The award this year was presented by Gesher Supervisor Mikey Mitgang and Assistant Supervisors Izzy Namath and Cooper Wolff.

Aaron Soloman

I want to begin by thanking the CITs of 2023 for their leadership – not just today, but throughout the entire summer. Every member of this CIT class has demonstrated their leadership and commitment and brought great positive energy and Ruach to camp. At camp, there are lots of different leaders – those who enjoy leading from the front with enthusiasm and confidence, those most comfortable leading from the back and supporting others, and those who lead from the middle, partnering with all around them. It’s important to have all kinds of role models that we can look up to and learn from, and to honor the various models of leadership we see in this community.

Today we celebrate all of our CITs, each of whom have exemplified leadership in their own way, and we recognize one of them, in particular, as we present the Mitch Perlmeter Leadership Award. Mitch was a beloved member of the Harlam community who passed away unexpectedly in 2011 at the age of 17. While I did not know him personally, I’ve come to learn about Mitch through the years since I was honored to receive this award when I was a CIT in 2013. He was someone who could make everyone laugh, who could not stay angry, and who could poke fun at himself, smile, and move on. Mitch was a thoughtful and enthusiastic leader, chairing a department of his high school’s Civics and Government institute, founding his school’s Ultimate Frisbee Club, and volunteering as a reporter for the school newspaper and at his congregation, Temple Ner Tamid. He loved Twix Bars, the Baltimore Ravens, and dearly loved his family and friends. And according to those who knew him best, most of all he loved life.

Mitch and his family were and remain deeply connected to camp. He made his best friends here, and was willing to do anything to make others smile – famously choreographing the Boys dance in Chavurah and as a CIT. In the words Mitch wrote in his CIT Application:

What has had the greatest impact on my Jewish life is my time spent at Camp Harlam itself. As my parents were rabbis on faculty at camp from when I was about 4 years old, I have been at Harlam for every summer that I can remember, and then some. No place or event has provided me with more memories, more friends, more character or more love than Camp Harlam has. The caring Jewish community found within the camp is, as far as I know, unique, and each year the leaders of that community find new ways to teach both campers and staff about Judaism, and moreover, do so in a way that makes those students want to keep learning and participating.

Sadly, Mitch passed away before he was able to transition from CIT to staff and continue modeling leadership at camp. Today we honor him by recognizing one CIT who has also made a significant impact on camp, and who has been a great role model and leader in their own way this summer.

Mikey Mitgang, Izzy Namath, Cooper Wolff

We have the incredible honor to present the Mitch Perlmeter Leadership Award, an award that recognizes a CIT who exemplifies the qualities that Mitch displayed in his life and especially during his time at camp. Mitch gave his all to every activity at Camp Harlam. He had strong leadership skills, a deep love for camp, and an ability to connect with everyone around him. When reflecting on these attributes, we couldn’t help but think that all of our Gesher participants demonstrate these qualities. One, in particular, exemplifies what it means to be a Mitch Perlmeter Leadership Award recipient.

This CIT has been a pleasure to help walk across the ‘Gesher’ or bridge between camper and staff. They have been a leader since day one, not just in our own unit of Gesher, but also in their everyday work with their campers. This CIT consistently takes initiative in Gesher programming and is not afraid to make their voice heard. This CIT knows how to advocate effectively and clearly for themselves and for others. We are proud to watch them overcome challenges (Nitzachon), which is one of our middot at camp) and set goals to reach each week.


This summer, Harlam introduced a new unit called Avodah, a vocational education program. The Avodah participants lived in the Bayit with the CITs and were integrated into our Gesher community, with large help from this CIT’s positivity and leadership. This CIT made it their duty to create a warm and welcoming space in the Bayit, from dance parties to walking around the circle during kabbalat shabbat with Avodah participants. This CIT has the biggest heart and works hard to ensure all are included. Their love of camp is contagious and their smile lights up any room they walk into.

This CIT has taken the lead on many Gesher rituals, including creating and ordering the CIT sweatshirts and helping to write our Gesher cheer. We know they will continue to show the next generation of campers what camp is truly about. We are so excited to introduce this year’s recipient of the Mitch Perlmeter Leadership Award: Elle!