By Molly Zatman
Copy EditorIn addition to snacks, Chanukah-themed plates and dreidels litter the table, Nov. 30 (Rikki Lehman).
The apartment is packed with students, crowded around tables covered in doughnut boxes, chips, candy and cookies. Some are packed in tight circles, talking about finals and winter break, while others weave their way through the loud menagerie in search of food or friends.
The Orthodox Union’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) hosted a Chanukah Fry Fest on Nov. 30, the third night of the Jewish holiday. The event attracted about ninety attendees throughout its hour-and-a-half duration, according to host and JLIC organizer Rikki Lehman. Rikki and her husband Rabbi Josh Lehman provide programming and education for this university’s observant Jewish community.
“It was a pre-finals hurrah,” Lehman said. “People are anticipating a lot of work in the upcoming weeks, so it’s a way to have fun with friends before the end of the semester.”
Austin Kaminow, a sophomore computer science major, went to the party to catch up with friends he hadn’t seen since before Thanksgiving break.
“A friend asked me if I was going and sent me a flyer for the event… I talked to some friends and caught up about what we’re doing over [winter] break,” Kaminow said.
Kaminow also enjoyed a banana from the deep-fry station, where Lehman and her husband dipped anything students requested into a pot of oil on the stove. Fried foods are a traditional part of Chanukah celebrations, based on the belief that a jug of oil lasted for eight days.
Along with bananas, Lehman fried Oreos, Twix bars, pickles and cheese. She said her hardest fry of the night was balls of cookies and cream and chocolate ice cream.
“It just melted when it hit the oil,” Lehman said.
Other foods at the event included sprinkle cookies cut into the shapes of dreidels (traditional spinning tops) and hanukkiot, sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts), candy and huge bags of Tostitos chips.
“[The event] was really just to have fun with fried food,” Lehman said. “And we had a really positive energy. It was really nice to see everybody, especially in a more homey atmosphere.”
Jack Benveniste-Plitt, a junior mechanical engineering major, heard about the event when the Lehmans messaged him a virtual flyer.
“As soon as I saw it, I was really excited,” Benveniste-Plitt said. “It was nice to have another reason to see my friends during the week, especially when I usually only see them on weekends.”
Benveniste-Plitt spent the event talking to friends about their upcoming weekend plans and eating; his favorite food of the night was a close call between the dulce-de-leche doughnuts and the deep-fried Oreos, although the latter took the victory.
“The deep-fried Oreos were the best, but everything was great. I think it’s nice to do things now, before everyone disappears to study for finals. There’s a lull between Thanksgiving and finals.”
Benveniste-Plitt is excited to see similar events next semester.
“I was very happy… I’m looking forward to everything else,” he said.