By Jared Beinart
Maryland Hillel kicked off the school year by welcoming members of the campus Jewish community to its annual opening barbecue Wednesday night. Students enjoyed music, food and appearances by Testudo, the Mighty Sound of Maryland and this university’s cheerleaders.
The staff at Hillel uses the opening barbecue to welcome new and returning students, and to showcase all the opportunities on campus for those who want to get involved with the Jewish community.
“The goal is community engagement,” Hillel Executive Director Ari Israel said. “Our motto is one plus one equals three. Together we are stronger.”
With hundreds of students in attendance, the event hosted 44 different on-campus Jewish groups. TAMID group, an organization that helps students learn basic business principles through hands-on experiences, such as a summer internship in Tel Aviv, was among the groups at the event.
“In the past, we have done a good job in meeting new people and getting new members,” TAMID group Co-President and junior computer engineering major Alex Pollack said. “I’ve been coming since my freshman year. It’s a good experience to meet other people and clubs.”
Amongst the groups, members of various fraternities and sororities were scattered all over the event promoting their organizations in search of potential students interested in getting involved with their organizations.
“We are a Jewish frat on campus, so we are here to hopefully find some prospective members,” said Alpha Epsilon Pi President Max Strasser, a junior government and politics major. “This is a great event to get to meet and find Jewish students interested in joining Greek life.”
One of the members of Rak Shalom, a Jewish acapella group on campus, senior bioengineering major Andrew Kadish believes that although the event may be more of a social event, and can be overwhelming, it still gives students the opportunity to find groups that they may be interested in.
“I’ve been to the Hillel barbecue the past three years. Most of the time I’ve been either working the table or standing around it since I was a freshman,” Kadish said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to get out there and meet people and a great way to start off the year.”
Members of MEOR and Chabad also attended to support this gathering of this university’s Jewish community.
“Rabbi Israel and his staff are tremendous professionals who put on a wonderful program every year,” MEOR Executive Director Rabbi Ari Koretzky said. “One of the really nice things about the Hillel at Maryland is that they try to function as a broad tent, and highlight many different groups, to give these organizations opportunities to shine.”