By Harrison Goldstein
For the Mitzpeh
With the school year kicking into full gear, many students are looking for low-stress activities to engage in during their free time. Roughly 50 people came together Thursday night at the Rosenbloom Hillel Center for a group activity: painting.
Kedma hosted “Paint Night,” an event where students gathered to relax, hang out with friends and welcome Rosh Hashanah.
With soft music playing in the background and refreshments like coffee and cookies available, students sat at tables of five or six people and painted while catching up with their friends. The room buzzed with constant conversation and laughter; the vibe was similar to that of a coffee house.
Senior art history major Miri Miller stood at the front of the room, instructing the participants on how to design their paintings. While some people followed along and made structured paintings, others used their creativity to make abstract works of art.
“It’s great when people come together to do art-related things, because most people don’t have enough of that in their lives,” Miller said. “For the community to come together after a stressful week is great. People always say, ‘I’m not artistic,’ but this shows that anyone can do it. It doesn’t matter how good it is, it’s about the process.”
Many participants divided their canvases into four squares, and then put something different in each square. One student put a different color in each quadrant, while another placed each letter from a dreidel in a different square.
Senior accounting major Eric Greif painted his canvas dark blue, drew a sailboat in the middle, and wrote “Shabbat Shalom” across the top in Hebrew. He did not hesitate to explain how his night was going.
“Connecting with people that I’m surrounded by, and trying to embrace my Jewish heritage,” Greif said. “I’m having a blast, I have great company, and so far, [my painting] is coming out well.”
Kedma social chair Shira Clements said the objective was for the participants to identify their goals for the coming year and convey them through art.
“This is our first big event before the Jewish new year, so we wanted to get everyone together in a unique and different setting that they wouldn’t be able to be in by themselves,” Clements said. “The goal is to make them paint their aspirations for the new year.”
While the social interactions and painting were important aspects of Paint Night, Kedma President Aaron Yitzhaky emphasized the deeper meaning of the event.
“We’re here to help people come together and create a new year’s resolution before the Jewish new year, something they want to accomplish or become a better person, anything that they want to strive towards tackling in their lives,” Yitzhaky said. “So far it’s been a great gathering. People interacting and being able to discuss ways of improving themselves, and getting inspiration from others.”
The most common takeaway among students from the event was the sense of community that Kedma’s Paint Night fostered within its participants. People walked around with smiles on their faces, talking to their friends and having fun creating their own personal masterpieces.
Sophomore special education major Mayan Beroukhim was appreciative of the opportunity that this event, and others like it, afford her.
“One of the most beautiful things about Hillel is that so many people are involved; we’re so lucky to have a Jewish community at UMD where so many people get involved,” Beroukhim said. “We get to spend time together, hang out, de-stress and get closer as a community. It’s simple, but it works.”