By Staff Writer Seth Tamarkin.
As the only Jewish student organization on campus, Hillel has a goal to bring Jewish culture to the UMass Dartmouth community. Isaiah Weidmann, president of Hillel’s UMass Dartmouth chapter, spoke with The Torch on how the group does that with events such as their annual Purim party that was hosted on March 18.
Sitting at an orange table near the on-campus Starbucks, Weidmann discussed Hillel’s latest event, the Purim party, which was celebrated at the University Club.
“Purim is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people from near annihilation in Persia about 2,700 years ago,” Wedimann continued, “So, we celebrate Purim by reading a recounting of the story, having a festive meal, and we also dress up in costumes and funny hats.
The basic idea is to take the terrible tragedy that might have been, and make it a fun, lighthearted experience.”
As far as costumes go, Weidmann brought “plenty of costumes for everybody” including a multitude of hats, chains, oversized sunglasses and other wacky paraphernalia. Emphasis should go on the word everybody, because Hillel invites non-Jews to enjoy the festivities as well.
“Don’t feel intimidated about coming, in fact, our current treasurer is non-Jewish, as are many past members.
Aside from Hillel’s primary goal of bringing Jewish culture to Jews on campus, there are many other goals. One of those is giving anyone the opportunity to learn and experience Judaism if they’re interested,” Weidmann says.
If you couldn’t make it to the Purim party though, Hillel offers multiple upcoming events. UMass Dartmouth’s Hillel chapter focuses on celebrating Jewish holidays as well as the Jewish Sabbath.
Once a month, to celebrate the weekly Sabbath, which takes place Friday night to Saturday night, Hillel has a festive meal on Friday night and Saturday morning that features a Rabbinical speaker.
The next Friday night dinner is going to be on March 29.
On April 22, at 5PM in the Unity House, Hillel is throwing a mock Passover Seder celebration because Passover is a few days later. Weidmann discussed the upcoming event, saying, “The Seder is another type of festive meal, you can see the theme in Judaism.
The Seder specifically has a lot of symbolic components to it, because Passover is the commemoration of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt.”
In addition to those events, Hillel has biweekly bagel brunches on Sunday, which feature games like Scrabble and, of course, bagels to eat. March 31 is the next bagel brunch and features a senior Rabbi as a special guest.
Finally, Thursday March 21 is another Purim celebration, since Wednesday and Thursday are the official days of the holiday.
“I’m going to give you three guesses on what kind of meal we are going to have to celebrate Purim on Thursday, and your first two don’t count,” Weidmann joked, “the answer is ‘festive’.”
Join the festivities yourself and learn more about Judaism this Thursday at the Southworth Library at 4:30PM, where the Purim party is. The event is hosted by Chabad, a Jewish denomination that promotes outreach.