Hillel Kiddushes offer a place for community engagement despite money struggles

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The Rosenbloom Hillel Center at this university, where the Saturday morning kiddushes are hosted. Hallie Kay/Mitzpeh.

By Hallie Kay
For Mitzpeh
@TheHallieKay

 

After every Saturday morning Shabbat service, members of the Hillel community come together to enjoy a small meal, referred to as a kiddush. Kiddushes are traditionally held after most Shabbat morning services, and serve mainly to bring the community of Jewish people together.  Usually, kiddushes feature light snacks, like chips and vegetables, and are typically a very casual way to relax after morning services.

I’ve been to a few kiddushes at Hillel and they mostly consist of a few snacks. I think they are set up very nicely and are a good thing to have between when Saturday services are over,” said Sara Edelman, a sophomore business management and history major.

Raquel Zimmerman, a junior hearing and speech sciences major, echoed this feeling. “They are a great way to get together and see each other after busy weeks,” she said.

Hillel has been hosting kiddushes for years, and there is more work that goes into them than one may think. Elana Sichel, a sophomore elementary education major, heads the Saturday morning kiddushes this year.

“I recently became ‘Kiddush Queen,’ as it’s called on campus,” she joked.

Sichel explained how funding has always been an issue of sorts when it came to these kiddushes.

“Parents will sometimes sponsor, and Hillel will sponsor some of it, sometimes,” Sichel said. “If no one sponsors, than we technically don’t have money for it, and if they do sponsor, many times they wont give us enough money for what an actual kiddush costs.”

There is no specific amount of money allocated for the kiddush fund, which has created some serious hurdles for Sichel.

“This year I did a huge fundraiser. Right before Simchat Torah, we had a huge kiddush with everything you could think of – cakes, ice creams…,” Sichel said. “Before that, I basically rallied up the entire Hillel community to give some money, so I now have sustained myself for the year.”

A “normal kiddush,” Sichel said, consists of a basic snack arrangement including the classics: chips and salsa, carrots and hummus and some sort of baked good such as cookies or cake.

“That comes down to me buying all of the items. At the beginning of every month, I will usually go to Costco and stock up on the basics,” Sichel said.

The food all depends on the sponsors that the Hillel kiddush team gets that week.

“We’ll try and get their favorite snack or item at the kiddush,” Sichel said.

Sichel described many kiddushes as “very controversial” due to complaints about the type and amount of food present.

“I think the idea of a kiddush is a really great thing. It really just brings people together over food. What could be bad about that?” Sichel added.

Although only one person has been in charge of kiddush in the past, this year, Sichel and other people available to her buy the food and set up together. Additionally, Sichel noted that anyone around is always happy to help assist.

“We are looking to expand, because it is…a lot on me to make sure we have money, make sure that I have time to go buy everything and all of that,” Sichel noted.

There are often many different types of services on Saturdays, and according to Sichel, the kiddush typically only begins after every service has concluded in order to promote a more widespread feeling of community.

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