By Judith AltneuFor Mitzpeh@Judith_Altneu

Students enjoy an end of the year barbecue at the Meor house. Photo by Judith Altneu.

Maryland Hillel Rabbi Ari Israel summed up this year best at Hillel’s Freshmen Shabbat dinner two weekends ago. Out of all his years working at Maryland Hillel, Rabbi Israel believes the class of 2024 had the worst possible year.

Everyone missed out on different opportunities they were looking forward to and had come up with creative ways to stay or get involved with various on-campus clubs and activities.

Kol Sasson, a Jewish a capella group, moved their rehearsals online and had to find creative ways to rehearse and sing together.

“The way we did it was someone would unmute themselves and be singing and the others would be muted. The hardest part was that we were never able to all unmute and sing at the same time. The way we would listen to other people is by recording ourselves and uploading it. We would combine it all together and hear what it would probably sound like,” Elyse Broder, a junior psychology major and Kol Sasson member, said.

Broder joined Kol Sasson in the Spring 2020 semester and has not had a fully in-person semester with the group like how the freshmen have not had a typical college experience either with most clubs and classes conducted online this past year.

“I did the Kindness with Corona project with Meor and we did a Zoom meeting every week on Wednesdays, but towards the end of the semester we were able to meet in person,” Natalie Davis, a freshman journalism major, said. “The in-person aspect of it was really fun and was really exciting.”

President Pines previously announced that this university is likely returning to mainly in-person classes in the fall, and with the COVID-19 vaccine mandated many students are looking forward to having a more traditional college experience again.

“I’m definitely most looking forward to most is just being in-person because it’s so fun,” Broder said. “They [Kol Sasson members] are all wonderful people,” she said.

Some Jewish freshmen are excited to return to in-person classes in the fall after experiencing a year of online classes.

“I’m most excited for the return of in-person classes because I felt like the community aspect was missing a bit from classes this semester,” said Austin Kaminow, a freshman computer science major. “It will be really nice to get to know the people in my classes and build relationships with my professors as well.”


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