Biennial – Harlam Style

By Susan Olinsky, Camp Harlam Council Member

Olinsky 2You’ve heard the song – Wherever you go, there’s always someone Jewish – well obviously at the URJ Biennial in San Diego that is true.  But what I didn’t expect was to see so many Biennial attendees wearing bright orange and blue pins in the shape of our beloved Chapel on the Hill attached to their name badges.  Those pins would catch my eye, and then I would wonder – how are they connected to Harlam? 

There is always something infectious about attending Biennial, and it is so easy to get swept up in conversation about where you are from and a little Jewish geography.  And the bright orange and blue buttons guaranteed instant recognition and a common ground as Harlamites.  Across the generations I saw people wearing Harlam buttons.  There were campers attending as NFTY representatives, to grandparents of campers, former staff members and everything in between.   And if you crossed paths with a Harlamite, they immediately wanted to know where to get a button!

I remember one summer on drop off day, and attending the director’s meeting for parents.  Across the room I heard a distinctive voice that I recognized as that of a childhood friend from Cincinnati, Debbie Frieder Joseph.  As we hugged, we were amazed to find each other in the Pocono Mountains at Camp Harlam, so far away from home.   Now Debbie lives in Florida, and we see each other at the Biennials, and our connection to Camp Harlam continues. 

Kudos to the Harlam staff for distributing so many buttons, and connecting Harlamites from all over North America. 

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