As a child, I spent my summers at Camp Solomon Schechter, a Conservative Jewish camp in Tumwater, Wash., set on the shores of Lake Joshua Stampfer. My experiences at Camp Schechter were central to the development of my Jewish identity and eventual decision to immigrate to Israel.
Each day began at “the flagpole.” Kicking off every morning, hundreds of sleepy-eyed campers and counselors from all around the Pacific Northwest strolled to the flagpoles, where we would circle up around the American, Canadian and Israeli flags. Just as everyone circled up, the Israeli “scouts” (young Israeli counselors) would lead us in a morning song. “Bo-bo-bo-boker tov!” they sang, meaning “Good morning!” in Hebrew.
Additional Hebrew songs, the American and Canadian national anthems, and of course, the Israeli national anthem “Hatikvah” would follow.
Camp Schechter was founded on Zionist principles and served as a safe haven to build Jewish community for many campers who might be the only Jews in their schools and hometowns.
But to my dismay, this safe haven was shaken last week when the Palestinian flag was raised over the campgrounds. I can only imagine the outrage among my thousands of fellow Camp Schechter alumni.
First reported by The Mike Report, a blog that focuses on Jewish news in the Pacific Northwest, Camp Schechter welcomed a group of Palestinian Muslims and Christians from a group called Kids4Peace to join the Jewish campers for the beginning of a new session.