By Sarah Sopher
For Mitzpeh

Students gathered Thursday night at the Stamp Student Union grand ballroom to discuss freedom and Judaism through the art of slam poetry.

In the third consecutive year of the event, Sermon Slam 2018 was all about freedom, said Aryeh Roberts, a freshman philosophy major and co-chair of the event. He stood at the door with fellow chair Sharon Rosenblum and passed out pamphlets, greeting familiar faces and new ones with equal enthusiasm.

Rosenblum, a sophomore neurobiology and physiology major, raced around to make sure they had a camera to record the event. “I came here last year and I loved it so much that I decided to get more involved,” said Rosenblum, who noted that she likes being able to let people share their feelings. “I think that giving people this opportunity is so awesome, especially when school can be so stressful.”

MC Talya Gordon opened with a reference to the slam scene in “22 Jump Street.” Gordon said the event is unique because, “people don’t take the time to stop and see what is going on in other people’s lives.”

MC Talya Gordon warms up the crowd with a reference to the poetry slam scene on “22 Jump Street.” She performed first in the line-up of seven slammers. Sarah Sopher/Mitzpeh.

Gordon, a sophomore psychology and pre-med student, began the line-up of seven performers.

The central theme of the evening was Cheirut, or freedom. Gordon explained how fitting the timing of this year’s slam was because of the recent Jewish holiday of Passover. The holiday celebrates the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and their freedom from slavery.

Poems expressed notions of freedom as a right, responsibility and even as a force that tugs people in all different directions.

Many of the people in attendance were there for the second time. Yair Fax, a sophomore computer science major, said he came again this year because he was very inspired by the 2017 slam. “I didn’t know what to expect going in, but it was really fun. It was cool to see the speakers get so personal,” said Fax.

Between two performers, Sarah-Leah Thompson, a junior studio art major, gave a presentation on her painting. Thompson engaged everyone by asking about how she should finish it, what they thought the painting meant and even how she used contrast.

Junior Sarah-Leah Thompson asked audience members about her painting because she said it actually wasn’t finished. People volunteered their ideas about the piece and asked questions. Sarah Sopher/Mitzpeh.

Mayan Beroukhim, a sophomore special education major, said this was her second time at the event. “I think it’s beautiful that people will come here and be so vulnerable about their challenges and their pain but also their passions,” said Beroukhim. She said her favorite part of Sermon Slam is that she can hear different things and they will all have an impact and a special meaning to her and everyone else.

At the end of the slam, which lasted about an hour and a half, Gordon extended thanks to everyone who helped with the event and performed this year. She thanked Hillel for helping with resources for the event and made sure to invite everyone back next year.


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