Today: Jun 17, 2024

Hillel club members remain in good spirits

Jay’Mi Vazquez – News Writer

When students in the Hillel club gathered on Oct. 13 for their weekly Shabbat celebration, they were filled with sadness about the unfolding war in Israel but were determined to stay strong and support each other.  

Shabbat is a Jewish celebration that happens every Friday from sundown to sunup. This Shabbat celebration took place six days after the first terrorist attack by Palestine. Hillel has been continuing to have their Shabbat celebrations since Oct. 13.  

“In times like this, we all have to pull together and support each other,” Rabbi Barbara Paris said. 

Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest and celebration that begins on Friday before sunset and ends on the following evening after nightfall, according to Chabad.org. It is ushered in with candle lighting, prayers and feasting on braided bread and other delicacies. However, Paris said that this Shabbat, it is hard for people to rest due to everything unfolding.  

“We all agreed to not make this night so heavy for us, but I feel like it is necessary that we talk about the events that took place this past week but that we also get to celebrate with each other,” Paris said. 

Vice President of Hillel Jacob Hasbani said he is saddened about the news unfolding but is staying strong. 

“The country and the club is very united right now. We’re all sticking together, helping each other make it through this,” Hasbani said.  

Hasbani has family and friends in Israel. He said that these past few weeks have been hard for him to comprehend everything happening, being hesitant to attend the Shabbat celebration due to potential threats of ‘national Hamas day;’ a day where unexpected attacks were planned to target synagogues, schools and other crowded places. 

“So far, we’ve had no threats. Rabbi Barbara has made it clear to all of us that there aren’t anything going on around campus. Campus police have done a great job patrolling the area, guaranteeing our safety on campus,” Hasbani said. “I was still hesitant on coming to campus today with all the talk about ‘national Hamas day’ and constant threats to synagogues, schools and other places.” 

Treasurer Max Frischling said that the organization is standing strong, holding their Shabbat celebration meetings every Friday in the interfaith office at 4:30 p.m. 

“Even though everything is tough right now and I don’t have any personal connection to people in Israel, I’m here to support my fellow club members regardless of where they may be at emotionally during this time,” Frischling said.  

Frischling and Paris both said that Hillel has been a part of the university for five years. It has been through its shifts due to rooms moving in the Adanti Student Center. 

“We still have to keep going. We’re in the rebuild stage because after COVID we were left with little to no people involved. But now we’re moving towards utilizing this new space and having Shabbat celebrations and festivities despite what may or may not be going on around us,” Paris said.  

Hillel is open to anyone involved in any religion. Hasbani said he encourages students to get involved to learn more about Judaism and what the religion truly is.  

“Anyone can come. Even if you just want a bagel or a drink or just want to make friends, come and say hello. We welcome absolutely anyone with open arms,” Hasbani said. “This week has been tough for many people in numerous different communities, but we’re still welcoming anyone in that wants to show support for us as an organization.” 

The Muslim Student Association President Sarah Majzoub and Vice President Razan Abunar declined to talk about how their organization has been holding up. However, there were some representatives at the “Walkout Wednesday” protest and some members doing a bake sale during that time.  

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