Hillel celebrates Israel’s birthday

Stephanie Mathias

Hillel celebrated Israel’s 61st birthday yesterday with its annual Israel Fest.

Michael Levinstein, assistant director of Hillel, said they did not have any big problems, but they did have to put some of their tents down because of the wind.

“Every year we have a different theme and different activities related to Israel,” he said.

He said last year they had a camel and rock climbing wall, but their budget was not as large this year so they had small-scale activities for Israel’s Independence Day.

This year, their main goal was to replicate the four geographical quarters of Jerusalem, which include the Jewish Quarter, Armenian Quarter, Christian Quarter and Muslim Quarter.

Featured activities included belly dancing, Israeli music, a canvas that students could take pictures in front of and a contest to win two free round-trip tickets to Israel with the Israeli Consulate in Chicago.

Leora Rzepka, senior health education and human sexuality major, was one of the volunteer belly dancers. She said she was excited she got to belly dance and had fun trying to teach people.

Hadar Lutman, freshman exploratory major, is from Israel and came to volunteer and helped with the belly dancing.

There was also free nosh on falafel and drinks. They had a table with information about traveling and studying abroad in Israel. Students could also learn about Hillel’s free birthright Israel campus trip.

“I am here to talk to students about the trips to Israel,” said Victor Newman, sophomore entrepreneurial and marketing major. “I am going to Israel soon to work as an EMT.”

Hillel collaborated with the Catholic Student Association, Christian Students United for Israel and Kent Students for Israel for the celebration. Levinstein said they were striving for diversity this year and were thankful for the help of these groups.

Contact religion reporter Stephanie Mathias at [email protected].