For me, the 4th of July has never been about family BBQs or about going to the local town center to see fireworks. To me, the 4th of July has always been about camp! Here at camp, we have a tremendous opportunity to make the 4th of July into anything we want it to be. On this day, we begin with a flag raising at the amphitheater, something that many camps do every single day, but for us, it is just once a summer. We spend every day of the summer celebrating our connection to Israel, but on this day, we get to acknowledge the USA, the country we live in, as our Jewish home.
America has allowed us the freedom to be Jewish. America has allowed us the freedom to agree and disagree with the difficult matters our religion and our world is facing. Most importantly, it is only in the U.S. that Jewish summer camp has grown to be what it is today. So it is safe to say that today, we will not only be celebrating America’s independence from Great Britain, but we are celebrating the chance we all have to create the friendships and have the Jewish experience that camp offers.
How are we celebrating, you might ask? Today, we are enjoying a 4th of July carnival put on by our Machonakim (CITs) with water slides, moonbounces, carnival games and much more. On top of that, we will get a chance to take a dip in the pool this afternoon. What would the 4th of July be withour a little cookout? On the menu tonight, burgers and dogs outside on the green grass. After evening program tonight, we will all get together for a closing ceremony, where we will get a chance to appreciate the holiday as a community (and maybe see some fireworks).
All in all, the 4th of July at Camp Harlam has always been a special day, and this year is no different.