By Laura Shaposhnikova
Students came together on McKeldin Mall in the evening of Saturday, April 20 to eat and sing their way into the upcoming week. Students enjoyed Seudat Shlishit (third meal of Shabbat) and Havdalah (ceremonial end of Shabbat) under the night sky at HavdaMALLA, a new event from the Committee for Religious Life and Hillel.
“CRL’s goal was to provide an inclusive Havdalah service and Seudat Shlishit that would appeal to all types of Jews,” said junior psychology major and CRL member Racheli Katz. “I thought that the singing and the actual Havdalah were very spiritual and created a feeling of community among all who attended.”
Every Shabbat, students can enjoy similar singing after Seudat Shlishit and a traditional Havdalah service at Hillel.
“HavdaMALLA was special because it wasn’t geared toward any one group. It was at once social and religious, and it was outside,” said CRL chair, sophomore government and politics and economics major Yael Nagar. “Doing something outdoors seemed great because the weather is finally starting to turn up and what’s better than food and Havdalah?”
For students who are not as comfortable going to Hillel, the outdoor Seudat Shlishit and Havdalah is a great opportunity to get involved in a fun and appealing way.
“We decided to do HavdaMALLA because we wanted to have another event that could bring different types of Jews together,” said Nagar. “Hopefully next time we can have a wider array of people, but we were thrilled that so many people in our community came out and joined us.”
HavdaMALLA was advertised in advance through a Facebook event page. The majority of the attendees were from the Kedma and Koach communities.
“I liked getting the chance to make the typical slow Saturday night singing less formal and more accessible to people from different communities,” said Koach co-president and Jewish studies and special education major Tammy Bronstein.
“I like when everyone sings together,” said junior biochemistry major Carly Davis. She wished people walking by stopped to ask about the event so she could explain the tradition.
“I think Havdalah itself was pretty inspirational. The leaders did it beautifully and it was great to see so many Jews in a circle enjoying the moment together,” said Nagar. “I love that stuff, anyway. Hopefully we’ll do HavdaMALLA again next semester.”
Event participants, like Bronstein and Davis, enjoyed the camaraderie between the students that attended the event.
“I really enjoyed getting to picnic on the mall and having the opportunity to spend time with people I don’t always have the chance to spend time with,” said Bronstein.
CRL plans to continue serving the Jewish population on campus with other inclusive events, said Nagar. The group will be hosting their next event, PB&Jews, where they will be making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the hungry outside of Hillel on May 7 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.