By Krissy Harris
The game room at the Maryland Hillel center transformed into a movie theater of sorts Saturday night. It was Ometz’s first ‘Movie Night,’ serving up snacks and showing the Israeli film “Atomic Falafel.”
“We will be watching a movie and making pizza bagels,” said Mo Goldberger, a sophomore computer science major.
Goldberger is one of the student Gabbais of Ometz.
“I came into Ometz leadership this semester. I’m in charge of leading prayer services,” she said.
According to their website, Ometz is the egalitarian community based in Conservative Judaism at this university. They work to provide interested Jewish students “with meaningful opportunities to connect religiously, intellectually, and culturally with Judaism.”
“This movie night is a first for us,” said Matthew Kaminow, a junior materials science and engineering major and an event coordinator for Ometz. “We’ve been wanting Ometz to grow. We wanted to have more social events, and this seemed like an enjoyable way of doing that.”
“It’s a chance for people who don’t feel connected to Judaism through services, or don’t enjoy services, to come and meet the Ometz crew and have a good time,” said Kaminow.
The movie night started out with a bit of difficulty. Students were slow to arrive, the movie of interest, “Atomic Falafel,” seemed to only be available for viewing online in Hebrew and there was trouble getting the kitchen’s oven warm enough to cook pizza bagels.
As the event coordinators were trying to solve the problem, Jory Harris-Blumenthal, a student Gabbai of Ometz and senior psychology major, offered up several DVDs as alternative options. His DVD selections included Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
Fortunately, after about 15 minutes of searching, a friend of one of the Ometz coordinators was able to pull up a website that could stream “Atomic Falafel” with English subtitles. Students gathered around the TV and settled into their seats, with drinks and chips to enjoy while they watched the movie.
As “Atomic Falafel” began to play, Avi Passy, a senior electrical engineering major, entered through the game room doors with two boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts. Students put the movie on pause and greeted Passy with enthusiasm. They made their way to the boxes of donuts with excitement.
Passy isn’t a member of Ometz, but he said he is “good friends with a lot of the organizers, through Hillel events.”
“I came because I really want to see the organizers succeed,” said Passy.
As a participant in a Krispy Kreme rewards program, Passy gets free donuts every so often.
“I purchased at least 12 donuts this year. You get a free dozen once you purchase 12. I just had to bring them,” he said.
Just as students finished their donuts, pizza bagels were brought out from the kitchen. A few more students showed up to join the movie watching, and snacking and socializing continued.
A short while went by, and everyone returned to their seats to restart the movie. “Atomic Falafel,” or “Falafel Atomi,” the movie’s Hebrew title, drew out many laughs and commentary from the group.
Several more rounds of pizza bagels emerged from the kitchen throughout the night, making the event all the more enjoyable for participants.