By Dylan Spilko
Ometz, this university’s conservative, traditional egalitarian Jewish group, hosted another successful “Ometz Extravaganza,” which consisted of many members from the Jewish community coming together for a special night on October 26.
For the Friday night event, several members of the Ometz community volunteered to host Shabbat dinners for other community members to attend. After the meals, an oneg (festive Shabbat gathering) followed where everyone came together from their separate meals to socialize.
Danielle Galitzer, a senior special education major, said the event provided an opportunity to catch up with friends and to enjoy a relaxing evening.
“The meal was very nice and I was eating at the hosts of the oneg, so in between the meal ending and the oneg beginning, we all sat around and got to get to know each other more in a relaxed setting,” Galitzer said. “The oneg itself was really nice. I don’t get to see many of these friends during our busy weeks, so it was nice to see everyone in this setting.”
Most of the hosts cooked their own kosher meals and decided for themselves what to make, said Ometz organizer Jory Harris-Blumenthal. The hosts who did not want to cook, or were not able to cook, received food from Hillel to serve their guests. For the oneg, pareve (food without dairy or meat ingredients) and other desserts were served.
The meals and the oneg gave all community members an opportunity to branch out and learn more about other people within this university’s Jewish community. For Galitzer, becoming more familiar with others at the event was a highlight of her night.
“There was a lot of talking because most of us didn’t know each other well before this meal,” Galitzer said. “We had an icebreaker, two truths and a lie and it was interesting to see the wide range of things we have done.”
For Harris-Blumenthal, a senior psychology major, the Ometz Extravaganza accomplished two positive goals for the Ometz community on this campus.
“Firstly, the event gives us the chance to reach out to potential new Ometz members en masse. Second, it allows people in the Ometz community who otherwise might not know each other very well to get to know each other and bond, and for less active members to connect with some of the more regular Ometz attendees,” he said.
Planning for the Ometz Extravaganza started early in the semester for the Ometz organizers, and sign-ups for the meals were given a few weeks before. The event has been held by Ometz for several years now, Harris-Blumenthal said.
“We host Extravaganza every semester and it’s usually our largest event of the semester,” he said.
Mia Kaufman, a senior special education major, also attended the event and had the chance to connect with members of the Jewish community and celebrate Shabbat in a unique way.
“It was a lot of fun and a great way to spend Shabbat,” she said.
Coming up for Ometz are Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv prayer services, which will be held every Friday night at Hillel.
The Ometz organizers are planning future social events that are similar to the Ometz Extravaganza, and these events will be posted on the Ometz Facebook page and sent through the Ometz weekly email.