When I heard that there was going to be an event called “Jammin’ in Jerusalem” I knew right away that I was going to go! Over the summer, I spent 10 days traveling around Israel on a Birthright trip where Jewish college students from different schools come together to tour Israel. I missed Israel so much that I knew this event was for me.
Paws was transformed into a celebration of Israel and Jewish culture with silver and blue balloons, and streamers everywhere. There were even delicious cupcakes with blue icing and little Israeli flags sticking out of them.
The Israeli snacks at the tables set up on the side of Paws definitely made me feel like I was back in Jerusalem. There were Israeli Kit Kat bars, Falafel Bits (which I am currently munching on as I write this) and Bamba snacks (kind of like peanut butter flavored cheese curls). I remember that when I was in Israel, I left a whole bag of Bamba snacks on the airplane by mistake and was so disappointed. Today was my lucky day!
The event wasn’t all about food, though! A woman was also doing henna tattoos for people. Students were getting awesome, intricate designs all over their hands. My roommate and I went for a smaller, subtler design. We got flowers on our wrists with sparkles all over them.
There was also plenty of dancing and music. The director of Hillel named Sam (Cool name, huh!?), who put on the event, was very enthusiastic and was not shy about showing off his dancing skills. He was able to get so many students involved in dancing to songs like the cupid shuffle, the wobble and he even made a conga line! It almost felt like a Bar Mitzvah with all of the songs and partying. Everyone was definitely jamming and excited to be there.
Oh! And I forgot to mention the amazing orange and cherry flavored free slushies. The heat was definitely on in Paws, and people were getting extremely sweaty from dancing so much, that this treat was a favorite. I haven’t had a slushy since the summer time, so I definitely savored the taste.
There was even some pretty talented entertainment there. A girl named Arielle performed some original songs on her guitar while everyone listened and schmoozed with each other at tables that were set up. Some of her songs included “Living in the past,” “The Fox and the Hound,” and “Imagining Snow.” She had a beautiful voice and I could definitely feel her emotions through her music.
Then came some other interesting music choices. The DJ played a song called “I’m Jewish and I Know it,” which was a parody to the song “I’m Sexy and I Know it.” It was pretty funny and caused a lot of laughs in the audience. Listen to it here! Some traditional Hebrew music was also mixed in. From songs like “Gangnam Style” to Israeli music, everyone had a song that they could sing along with and dance to.
Jammin’ in Jerusalem definitely brought a party atmosphere into Paws. It was great to spend the night with people who are just as excited about celebrating Israel and Jewish culture as I was. What was even more awesome was seeing all different kinds of people there celebrating too and joining in on the fun.
Nothing can match up to actually being in Israel, obviously. But being with so many fun people and enjoying Israeli snacks and music was the second best thing. I remember when I was in Israel and heading to the airport, the bus driver played lots of loud music. Being at Jammin’ in Jerusalem, I felt like I was back on that bus with people that were just as excited as I was to be spending time with one another and having a great time. I also remember our tour guide telling us that wherever we go, we will always have the memories of Jerusalem with us. Jammin’ in Jerusalem definitely reminded me of those memories.
Great food, great music, great entertainment, and great henna were definitely some of the things that made the event so special. But the most important part of the event was the great people who made everyone feel welcome and excited to celebrate the Jewish culture. Learn more about Hillel, the club that sponsered this awesome event here! There will be some more cool events this week like a Lunch and Learn tomorrow at the Hillel Lounge at 12:30!
How do you guys celebrate your culture? Do you like to learn about other people’s cultures in events like these? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!-Dana Kobilinsky