By Chuck Dobrosielski, for the Mitzpeh, @chuckdobro
Maryland Hillel held its second annual “A Cappella Showcase Fundraiser” Oct. 17 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, with around 900 people in attendance.
“It was an amazing opportunity to show off the students and bring the community together,” said Shuli Tropp, Hillel’s director of institutional advancement.
Allison Buchman, Hillel’s director of operations, said the event had already surpassed last year’s ticket sales, with just under 700 tickets sold by the Thursday before the event.
Tropp declined to comment on the exact amount of money raised, but Buchman estimated that Hillel expected to raise $50,000 from the event.
The showcase added a new element this year, honoring three specific individuals from the Hillel community.
Jared Stein, a 2015 graduate from this university, was recognized for connecting thousands of students with the national bone marrow registry through Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, so far resulting in nine successful matches.
Stein first got involved with the Gift of Life after swabbing his cheek at a drive in 2011. A year later, he was matched with Jill Ginsberg, a woman who would become like family to Stein.
Since meeting for the first time in January, the two have kept in contact, regularly exchanging photos and stories, said Matt Glaser, an alumnus of this university who introduced Stein to the audience.
Stein paused during his acceptance speech to take a selfie with the audience to send to Ginsberg, who was unable to attend.
Amy Weiss, who spent nine years working at Maryland Hillel, was also recognized for
spearheading Hillel’s Alternative Break program, which broke records by sending over 1,000 students on service learning trips last year.
“It just feels like I’m coming back home,” said Weiss, who left Hillel last year after moving to Minnesota to work as the director of programming and development at Yachad MN.
Hillel also honored Professor Chip Manekin, the Director of the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies, for his impact on Jewish scholarship.
“[Manekin] has really impacted scholarship and Jewish philosophy on campus,” Tropp said.
The event, a part of Hillel’s annual family weekend, showcased Kol Sasson, Mezumenet and Rak Shalom, three Jewish campus a cappella groups, as well as four groups from nearby communities and schools.
“It was such a treat to hear them perform,” Tropp said.
“I keep thinking there’s drums but I don’t see them, so someone’s making those drum sounds, which I think is terrific,” said Jeff Kreshtool, who works for an architecture firm that he hopes will be involved with building the new Hillel.
Charlotte Glicksman, mother of two sophomores at this university, attended the family weekend event. “It’s a great venue for up and coming high school kids to perform, as well as the Maryland groups,” she said of the event.
“I didn’t know what to expect, because I’ve never been to a performance like this,” said Julian Savelski, a freshman government and politics major, who came with some friends.“I thought it was cool,” he said, adding that he’ll likely come next year.
Hillel has no specific plans on what it will change next year, but Tropp said the hope is “to grow and improve the event every year.”