By Tori Bergel
Pink streamers and decorations aligned the walls.
Pamphlets were strewn across the tables.
Dresses and polo shirts in various rosey tones were worn by students scattered throughout the room.
The Pink Shabbat Dinner was the first of a two-part series of events put on by Hillel for breast cancer awareness month last weekend.
The dinner, which began immediately after Shabbat services ended Friday night, was hosted by Kedma, Hillel’s Orthodox student group, in partnership with the Sharsheret organization. Sharsheret is a non-profit organization that supports Jewish women and families with breast or ovarian cancer.
Junior Alex Ghelman, an information science major and Kedma’s Shabbat chair, was critical in putting the event together. Having been in contact with Sharsheret while planning the dinner, Ghelman said that they were overwhelmingly helpful, offering up whatever they could to make the event a success.
“They gave us all the brochures, posters, they got us a speaker for Cupcake Wars, and they were just very helpful throughout,” he said, adding that “they do it out of, like, the goodness of the organization, because they know how important it is.”
Around 150 people showed up to support the cause. Students were served pink-dyed chicken and potatoes, beets and salad with raspberry dressing.
While they were eating, students heard from Avital Hirschhorn, one of Hillel’s OU-JLIC educators. She spoke about Ahava Emunah Lange, a woman who recently died of ovarian cancer, and she read excerpts from the blog Lange had kept while she was sick.
“She spoke about how you can get hope and inspiration from these amazing people who you don’t even know. And I thought the fact that she put so much emphasis on building community together without even necessarily having to know everyone in that community was really, I’d say, inspirational and meaningful,” said junior finance and information systems major Jacob Nelson.
The dinner was held in Hillel’s multipurpose room after a quick changeover from the Kedma Shabbat services which had taken place there minutes before. Tables were crowded with students talking and laughing together throughout the night.
“I think the meal is just really nice, because like, it’s just really big and it’s like the whole community coming together for, like, an amazing cause,” said junior psychology major and Kedma Social Chair, Nicole Wohlberg.
Kedma’s president, junior philosophy and Jewish studies major Aryeh Roberts, reiterated the sentiment.
“It’s nice that the community comes together on a lot of different things, and especially on important issues,” Roberts said.
A dessert of watermelon, strawberries and red velvet chocolate chip cookies rounded out the meal.
The dinner was followed by Cupcake Wars, a cupcake decorating competition that raises money for Sharsheret, on Saturday night. The creations were themed around breast cancer, and Sharsheret brought in a guest speaker to talk about their experience with the disease and how the organization has helped.
According to Sharsheret, one in 40 Ashkenazi Jews has the BRCA gene mutation, making them more susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer.