Hillel celebrates Jewish culture with music and dance

The falafel, a fried patty of ground chickpeas and fava beans, was warm and ready to be smeared on fresh pita bread as students entered into a world view of Jewish culture on Wednesday, March 3.

The College’s Hillel (Jewish Student Union) brought life to Jewish Awareness Month with creative posters, diverse music and activities at the Hillel Cultural Night held in 202 West in the Brower Student Center.

Students danced the Hora, a cultural dance (above), and viewed posters and maps discussing Jewish culture in other countries. (Tim Lee).

Sophomore international studies major Ehle Shachter organized a night filled with everything from fortunes and henna tattoos to dancing lessons and informative pictures and maps displaying Jewish culture from other regions, including percentages of Jews in other nations, lists of foods and pictures of different synagogues in New York, Berlin and China.

Schachter, the historian and recruitment chair of Hillel, focused on generating awareness not only of the Jewish students on campus, but also of those who practice the religion all around the world.

“I want to make people aware of the Jewish culture other than in New Jersey,” Shachter said. “There are Jews all over the world from Shanghai to South Africa and they are all culturally and ethnically different.”

With the help of friends and other Hillel group members, the Jewish Cultural Night was a success, according to Shachter.

Junior Jewish Awareness Month chairman and philosophy major Evan Greenberger worked with Shachter to fill the room with joyous music from every region around the globe. The traditional Israeli music was popular in catching the students’ attention, especially when the Israeli dancing began.

“I was looking forward to the Israeli dancing the most,” sophomore biology major Catherine Zymaris said.

Zymaris is not Jewish, yet she has attended other events offered by Hillel in the past. “Hillel offers a wide variety of events and it is a great way to experience a different culture,” she said.

Hillel reaches out to everyone on campus including Jewish students and those who practice other faiths.

“I think it is important to have events like this on campus,” freshman communication studies and political science major Dave Chapman said. “It shows you more people around campus who you have things in common with that you might not have known before.”

The Jewish Cultural Night was just one of Hillel’s many events taking place on campus this month in order to promote Jewish Awareness Month. To find out about the upcoming events and how to get involved in Hillel, visit their Web site, tcnjhillel.weebly.com.

Hilarey Wojtowicz can be reached at wojtowi3@tcnj.edu.