By Alyson Trager
For the Mitzpeh
Weekly Shabbat dinners are nothing new for Maryland Hillel, but on Friday, Sept. 23, they hosted a “Mac and Cheese” themed dinner for students. At 5:30 p.m. about 50 students came to the Cambridge Community Center to enjoy the not-so-traditional Shabbat meal.
After we said prayers and distributed grape juice and challah, people lined up for the main course. Normal dishes like chicken, rice, and vegetables were pushed aside for something a little more interesting. Besides the mac and cheese, Hillel also served salad, lasagna, and, many people’s favorite, chocolate chip cookies.
“We decided at the beginning of this year that we, as Hillel staff, wanted to do more on North Campus,” said Springboard Innovation Fellow Jessa Cameron. This job requires her to come up with fun new ideas that will attract Jewish students to events. Cameron has been working for Hillel for the past couple of months and she was the mastermind behind the
creative dinner idea.
In the past, Hillel has been focused on South Campus because that is where its building is located. However, this year there has been a push to get more North Campus students involved because not everyone wants to go to the more traditional services and dinners located on South Campus.
“We’re creating a North Campus Hillel community,” Cameron said.
This dinner created a friendly atmosphere that allowed students to get comfortable with Hillel without such a heavy emphasis on the traditional Friday night activities.
“If you walk into Hillel sometimes, it’s a little intimidating,” said sophomore Arielle Greenspan. She has been involved with Hillel since she was a freshman and wanted to be a part of something bigger. “I wanted to have a group of people that I did things with…I really like that they’re creating a community on North Campus,” Greenspan said.
Hillel was also promoting its Alternative Breaks (AB) program in which students can travel to different states and countries to do research and help communities. Several students who attended the dinner plan to go to New Orleans, Louisiana, Detroit, Michigan and even Guatemala.
“I wanted to meet … people I don’t know and talk about ABs,” said senior Andy Weissfeld. He will be traveling to New Orleans and was very eager to answer any questions or further promote the program. He also liked the variant food offered.
“I really like mixing it up,” Weissfeld said. “Lasagna was one of the staples we had in my family, so this was a cool dinner.”
Next week’s North Campus Shabbat theme is “Breakfast for Dinner.” The coordinators are excited to be doing more innovative activities for Hillel dinners and want to continue to grow
the North Campus population as the year goes on.