The Canteen is a tribute to all things Jewish sleepaway camp. Hosted by the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), this blog is written by campers, alumni, parents, and camp professionals and is a place to talk about parenting, camp fun, projects, crafts, recipes, and more – all tied back to Jewish holidays, traditions and, of course, camp!
Adam Goldstein and Shira Zemel
When/how/where at camp did you meet?
When we were in the unit of K’Far Noar at URJ Camp Harlam. Summer 2000. We were 14 year old rising 9th graders. Each week at Harlam, every unit gathers together in a large circle for Kabbalat Shabbat before heading to the Chapel on the Hill for t’filah with the rest of camp. The first week of second session, Shira stood in the Kabbalat Shabbat circle next to her friend Brian, who was also friends with Adam. Brian introduced us, we started talking, then sat together during t’filah and Shabbat dinner that evening. We became fast friends that summer and were very close for many years.
Was it love right away?
Adam insists that Shira had a crush right away. Shira refuses to admit that’s true (to him– but she’ll admit it to the FJC blogosphere). But no, we were very close friends for many years, but we didn’t start dating until the summer of 2006 when we were both counselors in the unit where we had first met: K’Far Noar.
What happened after that summer?
We were friends for many years. After we started dating in the summer of 2006, we kept up a long-distance relationship between New Jersey and Maryland where we attended college. After Shira graduated, she moved up to Buffalo for graduate school where Adam had already started dental school. The rest is history! We were married in 2013, and are still very much connected to Harlam. After we had been married a year, Shira had the chance to work at camp again for the entire summer. Adam would come up each weekend and relive his camp glory days: riding a bike around camp, playing pick-up basketball with the Chavurah kids and eating sugary cereal every morning for breakfast.
Do you find that your time at camp has influenced your relationship/marriage/family?
Shared camp memories and an undying love of camp influence us completely. Shira became friends with Adam’s brother Mikey at camp; Adam was Shira’s little sister’s counselor one summer, so in a sense we all go way back together from our time at camp. Additionally, Shira’s entire family has a Harlam connection, so camp often is the topic of conversation when we’re all together. There are some things about camp that will just be a part of our lives, and the family we create together, forever: keeping Shabbat, a soft spot for the foothills of the Pocono mountains, labeling our clothes, camp songs, our beloved camp friends, and milk squad (cookies and milk before bed).
Was camp’s influence present at your wedding?
Of course! The Chapel on the Hill is featured on our Ketubah; we served Milk Squad(a nightly Harlam tradition of milk& cookies); the buses from the hotel to the wedding venue were each labeled with a different camp trip location: a Beltsville State Park Bus and a Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom bus. My mom surprised us at the wedding and invited everyone from Harlam to come lead the motzei before dinner was served. We loved that!
Will you send your kids to camp?
We are already excited to unpack our future kids in their first Carmel cabins, just like our parents did for us in 1994!
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.