On Friday, December 2nd, UNC Charlotte Hillel hosted its first annual Southern Fried Hanukkah Party. With 40 people in attendance, the event was a huge success. Contributing significantly to the success of the party was a large number of brothers from UNCC's Jewish fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, who helped plan and set up the event. The fraternity also contributed to the costs associated with the party. Comprising the other attendees were members of the Davidson College Hillel, some local Israelis, members of the local Jewish community, and local citizens interested in learning about Judaism.
Due to the event being held on Shabbat, we conducted a Shabbat service prior to eating or drinking. It was great to be able to provide a little background on some of the practices of Judaism to the non-Jewish event goers. Similarly, a brief explanation of the origins of Hanukkah was proudly recited to many inquirers.
After eating a delicious meal of fried foods (including latkes and sufganiyot, of course!), we sat around to play dreidel. It was a fulfilling experience to again explain the holiday's backstory, including the rules of dreidel, which has become a part of the Jewish culture. Everyone was excited to win some chocolate Hanukkah gelt!
UNCC Hillel's Hanukkah event showed how Hillel brings so many different people together, working toward our goal of engaging as many students as possible. It was a pleasure being able to see the hard work that we board members contributed come to fruition. Attracting more people to the event than we have had in past years was very encouraging and a sign of UNCC Hillel's bright future.
The overall success of the first annual UNCC Hillel Southern Fried Hanukkah Party has inspired us to continue our new tradition in the years to come. We certainly intend to put on more events such as this, educating the surrounding community about what Judaism is all about.
Benjamin Gordon is a Senior at UNC Charlotte, majoring in Engineering. Ben went on Birthright Israel with NC Hillel in December 2016 and is the UNCC Hillel co-President.