Mississippi Orthodox, Reform Camps Unite for Independence Day Celebration

This Wednesday, Orthodox and Reform campers will come together for a joint “Americafest” Independence Day celebration in Mississippi.

The Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, which is part of the Reform movement, will host Camp Darom, the overnight camp coordinated by Baron Hirsch congregation in Memphis. The Orthodox camp is housed in Grenada, Miss., 140 miles north of Utica.

Ellen Alexander, development director for Jacobs Camp, said the Darom campers are expected to arrive around 2:30 p.m. and stay until about 10 p.m.

Musician Dan Nichols will do a concert for the over 400 Jewish youth in attendance, and Frank Levy will do experimental theater. There will also be a parade, fireworks and snow cones. The campers will also enjoy some of Jacobs Camp’s new lakefront offerings, including the Blob and Wet Willie Waterslide.

This will be the first time the two camps have held a joint program, and it was made possible with a grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Until two years ago, Camp Darom, which was founded in 1976, was housed in Tennessee. The camp changed to the Mississippi venue last year. Jacobs Camp began in 1970.

“While the two camps practice their Judaism differently, their missions are very much the same: to strengthen the Jewish identity of young people from small and isolated Southern Jewish communities by providing them with outstanding programs and powerful Jewish memories,” Jonathan “J.C.” Cohen, Jacobs camp director, said. “Jacobs Camp’s motto, ‘A Jewish Place at a Southern Pace,’ will surely ring true during this one-of-a-kind celebration.”