By Ileana Lozano
At KOR Craft Night on Nov. 4, students made dog chew toys for The Anti-Cruelty Society, an animal welfare organization and animal shelter.
A day after the U.S. election, students were relieved to spend some time away from the tense political climate and take advantage of the opportunity to connect with fellow Jewish students across denominations on the back patio of Hillel.
“We came up with the crafting idea first and then from there, we decided that if we’re going to be crafting, we should be crafting for a greater good to help the dogs,” said Ometz representative Rachel Robin, a sophomore government & politics and communications major.
KOR, the organization that hosted the event, is a student group comprising the three Jewish denomination students groups, Kedma, Ometz and Ruach, representing the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform communities. KOR’s leaders said that the joint student group will continue to host more dog toy events in the future and after the final event, they plan to collect all the toys made by students.
The dog chew toys will then be donated to The Anti-Cruelty Society, a non-profit located in Chicago, Illinois. The organization has assisted animals since 1899, according to their website.
Some of the organizers have their own furry friends waiting for them back home, like Ruach representative Rebecca Shankman, a senior sociology and criminology major.
She says she rescued a dog named Prince in 2012, a few months after her Bat Mitzvah, and understands the difficulties of shelter life on dogs. She enjoyed making dog chew toys at this event, which she has done in the past, and says the event helped get her mind off of the stressful weight of the election.
“It was just fun to sit outside. Since it was the day after the election, it was fun to do something that didn’t have to do with that,” she said.
The event began with a demonstration of how a dog chew toy is made by KOR’s leaders, and students quickly picked up the practice on their own. Instructions on the animal welfare organization’s website state that only a ruler, scissors, t-shirt or fleece are needed for the dog-friendly toys, and that it should take one hour to make two toys.
KOR leaders say they will continue to plan more events for students to connect this semester. The current climate has made community bonding hard for students all across this university, but KOR is still determined to help Jewish students from all denominations have a strong sense of community by building relationships with each other.
The afternoon of bonding and charitable acts provided hopes for that. According to Robin, in the past, the group has hosted events over Zoom and they want to do one more event outdoors before the semester ends.
Kedma representative Noah Fine, a sophomore mathematics and computer science major, said KOR will continue to host events with the community of Jewish students at this university in mind.
“KOR will see more social events where people can meet other people. That’s really the foundation of it. We want the students that make up the Jewish community at Maryland to have some contact with each other and get to know each other,” said Fine.