By Daniel Chavkin
For the first time in many years, the University of Maryland men’s basketball team is bringing excitement to the student body. Fresh off an upset win over No. 5 Wisconsin and another big win against Michigan, students are starting to believe that Maryland may be a threat to win it all.
While many groups might be changing their schedules to coincide with the basketball team, Hillel and the Jewish community won’t. According to Executive Director of Hillel Ari Israel, the only way that they would center events around the basketball team is “if it would conflict with an external program or speaker.”
Freshman computer science major Joshua Stein thinks that the team’s success may only affect specific events rather than the community as a whole. “In terms of the National Hillel Basketball Tournament,” he said “I definitely think it has a positive effect to hold a basketball tournament when our school is a potential top 10 basketball team in the nation.”
Stein also added that maybe Hillel should add more events relating to the basketball team. Although he understands that “holding multiple tournaments would be too much work and cost too much money,” he believes that “holding some sort of basketball event within our own Hillel alone would definitely interest people.”
Sophomore civil engineering major Tamara Berman agrees with Stein. “Overall, there is a lot of support within the Hillel community with the Maryland teams, especially basketball,” Berman said.
Still, Berman does admit, “I don’t think that there is less of an attendance of Hillel events because many of the games are later at night, and there is only about one every week.”
However, not everybody agrees with Stein. Sophomore Jacob Magid, an Arabic and government and politics double major, “doesn’t see any connection whatsoever” between the basketball team and the Jewish community.
“There is just as much of a connection between the Christian community and the Muslim community” and the basketball team, Magid said.
The only similarity between both groups would be Jacob Susskind, the lone Jewish member of the basketball team. Rabbi Israel explained that the team’s success hasn’t affected Susskind’s presence in the Jewish community. “He has participated in events such as Hillel’s National Basketball tournament, [High Holiday] services, a recent Chanukah event, and Hillel Shabbat dinner at AEPi.”
Stein does think that Susskind brings a Jewish feeling to the team. “It’s always cool to have a Jew on your favorite team,” he said. “Given our success and recognition this season, I think it’s great to have a Jew represent our school.”