By Jamie Weissman

A cappella Shabbat
Mezumenet President Emma Fensterheim (front left) and group member Emily Stern perform a duet at last year’s Hillel a cappella concert. // Photo courtesy of Maryland Hillel

The University of Maryland’s Hillel is hosting its annual a cappella showcase concert Nov. 8 as part of Hillel’s family weekend.

University groups Mezumenet, Rak Shalom and Kol Sasson will take the stage at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center for a night of performances to benefit Hillel.

“It’s an incredible part of the UMD culture,” said Mezumenet President Emma Fensterhiem, a junior English and secondary education major.

Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School’s Shir Madness and Melvin J.  Berman Hebrew Academy’s Berman Beats will also perform, as well as two other collegiate groups.

The concert is one of several fundraisers this year for Hillel, which aims to raise about $1 million every year to fund its programs for the university’s Jewish community.

“This is sort of a fun way to show off our awesome a cappella groups, and also we’ll be able to raise a little bit of money for the organization,” said Shuli Tropp, Hillel’s director of institutional advancement.

Though the groups are still finalizing their set lists, Rak Shalom says they are performing a surprise parody and a mashup of “Eli Eli” and “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav,” while Kol Sasson will perform English and Hebrew songs and mashups.

“To showcase the amazing talent we have here means so much more to the a cappella groups themselves,” senior mathematics and secondary education major Elana Horowitz said. “I love a cappella music in general, but it means so much more when it’s your friends singing, and they’re singing the Jewish songs that I grew up on.”

Those who can’t make the concert can get a sneak preview the night before when Hillel hosts a Shabbat dinner for the visiting families. This year, Tropp said Hillel expects about 60 families to come for Shabbat, and she hopes more students and members of the community will come out for the concert.

“The concert is going to be really fantastic,” she said. “Our a cappella groups are pretty amazing. It’s a talent set that’s really fun and exciting to listen to.”

Junior accounting major Avital Kimchi, a member of Rak Shalom, said the event allows attendees to see a unique segment of the a cappella world.

“Not every campus has a Jewish a cappella group, and yet we have three,” Kimchi said. “I think that’s a pretty amazing fact about our school, and people should know about it.”

Student tickets are $5, and general admission is $36. To purchase tickets, visit


Blog at