By Nira Dayanim
For MitzpehA menorah glows in this university’s Hillel on the 7th night of Chanukah. (Nira Dayanim/Mitzpeh)
Kedma, this university’s Orthodox Jewish group, held a Chanukah banquet at Hillel on Dec. 5, the seventh night of the winter holiday.
Nearly 200 students attended the Sunday night event, around 50 of which were walk-ins. The Chanukah banquet featured a hypnotist and plenty of food.
A fundraising raffle also took place at the event. Students offered up lessons and experiences, ranging from “baking focaccia with Jenny” and “a pottery lesson with Zach” to “accounting tutoring with Molly.”
Ari Israel, a senior electrical engineering major and Kedma’s vice president, said any profits from raffle tickets will be pooled with the proceeds from Kedma’s Chinese Food Shabbat and donated to a local charity. Chinese Food Shabbat is scheduled to take place this Friday night, but there will be no in-person dining because of COVID-19 concerns.
Students volunteered their time and skills for the raffle at Kedma’s request.
“We decided it would be a good opportunity for people to give of themselves,” Israel said.
According to Israel, Kedma board aims to include charity opportunities at every event.
“Even though we’re enjoying, we should still be aiming to do good things as well,” Israel said.
The hypnosis show, which lasted around an hour, was a huge hit at the banquet. As several students fell into a trance, people stood on chairs and desks, craning their necks to get a better look.
Ayelet Fried, a sophomore letters and sciences student, spent almost as much time watching the people in the crowd as she did the show itself.
“Whether or not people believed the hypnotism was real, they were really engaged which was awesome to see,” Fried said.
Elyana Fine, a freshman human development major, was hypnotized during the show. Though she’d been hypnotized before in middle school and high school, she is always shocked by how much it affects her, she said.
“It definitely feels very strange honestly. The weirdest part is kind of staring into a crowd of familiar faces but not really being able to recognize anyone,” Fine said.
Fine, who was elected Kedma’s collaboration chair on Dec. 8, was inspired by the event’s success.
“Seeing an event like this showed me that something that’s fun and related to the holidays attracts a lot of people,” she said.
Israel said he was happy with how the event turned out and thought it was a great event to end the semester with. Chanukah this year was also an improvement on last year, which was much more isolating because of COVID-19, he said.
“It was much nicer this year because we were able to do events together and Chanukah had such a community feel to it,” Israel said.