By Jamie Weissman

The University of Maryland’s Maryland Jewish Beacon will host their first SermonSlam next month, the first event of its kind on campus.

On May 4, more than six student performers will come together for SermonSlam, an event in which performers will read original sermons in the form of slam poetry. The event, accompanied by an art exhibit, is themed “The Wandering Jew.”

“Right now we’re in the period of the Omer. Traditionally we’re in between the wandering from exodus from Egypt to revelation at Mount Sanai,” junior English and government & politics major Joe Ehrenkrantz, president of Maryland Jewish Beacon, said of the theme.

Although participants received direction in terms of the theme of their piece, each performer is reading original work that is their interpretation of “The Wandering Jew.”

“My piece is about the importance of wandering and the importance of not knowing where you’re going sometimes,” senior psychology major Jonah Potasznik, former president of Terpoets, said.

In addition to performances, SermonSlam will include six art installations all done by student artists. The paintings, which will surround the performance area in Stamp Student Union’s Charles Carroll Room, will all tie into “whatever people think of the entire concept,” Ehrenkrantz explained.

Although Maryland Jewish Beacon is hosting their first SermonSlam this year, the event has occurred nationwide and in Jerusalem. The club decided to host the event as it fits their mission to create Jewish American culture on campus.

“ It will be very interesting to hear different perspectives. It reflects a lot of experiences that American Jews have had culturally at Maryland,” junior psychology major Akiva Lichtenberg, Maryland Jewish Beacon’s treasurer, said.

Though the theme of SermonSlam incorporates religious expression, Ehrenkrantz says students of all backgrounds would enjoy the event.

“We really want to push that it’s unique and it’s different for people who are Jewish and have never been to slam poetry or for people who have been to slam poetry and have never really thought that Judaism could do this or slam in any way,“ he said. “I think that’s what’s really exciting.”


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