Hillel kicks off Israel Week, reminding students that ‘hummus’ where the heart is

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By Brogan Gerhart
Copy editor
@BroganGerhart

Maryland Hillel celebrated Israel’s 70th year of independence by making hummus and showing “Hummus! The Movie” at the Cambridge Community Center Sunday night.

Hummus is eaten all over the Middle East and originated there because of the abundance of chickpeas in the region. Due to hummus’ roots and its presence as one of the staples of food from and made in Israel, Hillel decided to have an event dedicated to the delicious meal.

Students started off by using chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and garlic blended together in a food processor to make the hummus, and then seasoned the mixture with lemon, salt, pepper, cumin and paprika to taste. More olive oil was drizzled on top of the hummus with a final sprinkling of paprika to garnish the final product.

Ilana Gorod, a freshman Letters and Sciences student, planned the event as part of the many events of Israel Week leading up to this year’s Israel Fest.

“I love the food, it’s very easy to make,” Gorod said. “And then the movie, which is the second part of the event, is about how hummus can bring people together.”

Ilana Gorod, left, and Ben Rosenbaum putting fresh hummus onto a plate. Brogan Gerhart/Mitzpeh.

Israeli music played throughout the entire hummus-making process, creating a fun and authentic atmosphere for attendees. After making the hummus, many students began to sit, eat and talk with those around them.

With pita in hand, everyone enjoyed the food and conversation with friends.

“I think part of the Jewish culture is to build community,” Maryland Hillel Director of Engagement and Social Justice Talia Orencel said. “Part of Hillel’s job is to create those opportunities to build communities outside of the Hillel space. That’s why we try to do things on North Campus, on Fraternity Row and at people’s homes; a community does not meet in one building, it meets anywhere amongst friends.”

The second half of the event was a showing of the documentary “Hummus! The Movie,” which was suggested by Ben Rosenbaum, a freshman history major.

 

Hillel Jewish Agency Israel Fellow Shira Gabay, left, teaching students how to make hummus. Brogan Gerhart/Mitzpeh.

The fun film mainly focuses on three different Israeli hummus restaurant owners: a single Muslim woman, Suheila; a Christian Arab, Jalil; and an Orthodox Jew, Eliyahu; and how hummus plays a part in their lives.

“It’s a really fantastic movie that I think shows a lot about the idea of the identity of Israel,” Rosenbaum said. “Hummus is a big part and like the national food of Israel, like falafel and shawarma. My favorite part is the story of the competition between Israel and Lebanon to have the world’s largest batch of hummus.”

Although by the end of the night there was not enough time to view the documentary, students had a great time making the hummus and being a part of the event. Some students had just made hummus for the first time, while some, who were making it for the hundredth, reminisced on when they had first learned.

“I spent some time in Israel,” Rosenbaum said. “And after I got back, I was like alright, I can make hummus now and it’s going to be better than Sabra!”

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