By Erica Tropp
For the first time, Maryland Hillel is celebrating the final night of Hanukkah on December 4, by hosting a party they are calling Hanukkah Winter Wonderland from 8 to 10 p.m. The party will be in the form of a carnival with different activity booths, according planning committee leader, junior Melissa Fuhrman.
“[The goal of the party] is to bring together students who are already established Jewish leaders and involved in Hillel with those people who have either yet to have a positive experience in Hillel or are looking for that first event to make them feel welcome at Hillel,” said Fuhrman.
Each co-sponsoring organization is in charge of a different activity booth, said Fuhrman. “We’re trying to get 30 Jewish affiliated or Israel affiliated groups [to sponsor] and host some sort of activity,” said planning committee member, junior Caleb Koffler.
Koffler is a member of Tamid, an organization that connects business-minded Maryland students with the Israeli economy. “[Tamid is] excited to be there, and we’re going to do some sort of fun Hanukkah activity somehow related to Israeli business,” said Koffler.
Additionally, the planning committee is hoping to have a bonfire in the back of the building and a latke-eating contest. Since the event is still in the planning stage, most individual activities have not been solidified yet, and the committee is still waiting to hear from some possible sponsors.
Some sponsors which are already committed include the Jewish Student Union, Masa Israel, JFarm, Kedma, Rak Shalom and Kol Sasson.
The party will also have a cocktail hour element, with high tables and hor d’oeuvres. Koffler said that they are planning on spending a significant amount of money on food for the event.
Including Fuhrman, the planning committee consists of 10 people. Besides planning the actual event, the committee is responsible for each turning in the names of 5 students that will be on a host committee. This host committee will basically be responsible for attending the event and bringing with them 10 friends. “Ideally, because of our diverse planning committee, the host committee will even be more diverse and we will cover a large ground of the student population,” said Fuhrman.
“We have this flyer that’s been printed out, which is really cool, and I think we are just going to be hanging that in different buildings as a form of promotion,” said Fuhrman. “And word of mouth is going to be a huge method of promotion, like appealing to different other student groups that we are involved in, or friend groups or sororities or things like that.” Hopefully an online invitationwill also be going out to all Jewish students, said Fuhrman.
The goal is to get 500 people in the building, said Koffler
Fuhrman wants to use this event as a chance to let Jewish students see what Hillel can offer them. “We’re trying to make Hillel something that’s not just a place for religious people, or whatever the stigma is that people have against Hillel,” said Fuhrman. “Hanukkah is something that all Jews want to celebrate and can celebrate and so we’re trying to send the message that Hillel can really be for anybody and everybody.”
Hillel and the planning committee hopes to end the week of Hanukkah with something fun that’s students can remember. According to Koffler, “All eight candles will be lit and there will be a lot of light.”