By Emily Schneider
The fall semester at Hillel at Texas A&M was exciting. A handful of inspiring, fun programs and student-led Shabbat services were highlights.
In early October, the Hillel community graciously welcomed world-renowned landscape architect and Holocaust survivor, Ernest Wertheim, to share his special story and witty sense of humor. Aggie students, families of local Congregation Beth Shalom and visitors from around Aggieland filled the sanctuary to listen to 93-year-old Wertheim.
Hillel also introduced another guest, comedian Benji Lovitt. Lovitt, who made aliyah to Israel a few years ago, united the community over lots of laughs. His Jewish comedy entertained the crowd, creating an enjoyable weeknight event for all who attended.
To get in the Halloween spirit, Hillel hosted their its Challah-ween. Costumes, challah decorating and a spooky-themed Shabbat contributed to the night’s success, which will hopefully becaome an annual event. Rabbi Matt Rosenberg donned pirate attire for the night, and many other students and children joined him in dressing up in unique costumes.
To begin November, film director Amy Beth Oppenheimer traveled to College Station to present her thought-provoking documentary “The Faces of Israel” at Hillel. The film spurred a discussion of topics about religion, Jewish identity and civil liberties. Oppenheimer brought a different perspective of the Holy Land to the Jewish community of College Station, as her documentary featured voices describing the different perceptions that Israelis and Americans hold on what it means to be Jewish.
Chabad, Hillel and Congregation Beth Shalom created a unified celebration of Chanukah. The Aggieland Chanukah Bash, held Dec. 2, was a fun event for all ages. All members of the community gathered at Rudder Plaza on campus for a giant menorah lighting promptly at 6 p.m. The celebration featured donut-eating contests, music and much more. Following the menorah lighting, the community headed to Hillel for a party brimming with menorah crafts, latkes, cookie decorating and an olive oil-making workshop. The event was the biggest Chanukah celebration in Aggieland with more than 100 in attendance.
As Rabbi Matt Rosenberg’s first semester at Aggie Hillel came to a close, he and the student board created and executed many successful events. In addition, Rosenberg encouraged and mentored students who desire to participate in Shabbat services. He is excited to continue his work as his time at Aggie Hillel has only begun.
“It was a very exciting semester,” Rosenberg said. “We have had a lot of visitors to Aggieland from around the world, and I’m excited that our community has become a great destination for Jewish people.”
To find out about at Texas A&M Hillel events visit tamuhillel.org.