Block party sparks interest in Israel
Ricky Maranon, The Oklahoma Daily
Students who came to the Israel Block Party on Tuesday in the South Oval may have received traditional Israeli food, but the event’s intent was to give students a healthy serving of information about Israel, organizers said.
To teach those who came to the event, organizers provided students with information about Israel and U.S.-Israel relations, said Dan Smith, Israel chairman for Hillel Student Board. The event was a part of Israel Week, presented by OU Hillel, he said.
Hillel had a large map of Israel at the event that they used to give students “tours” with, Smith said. He said Israel celebrated its 62nd Independence Day on Monday,
The organization also offered students name tags with their names written in Hebrew, he said.
“I’ve been getting awesome looks on campus,” Smith said, pointing to the name tag on his chest.
Smith said he would want a student who came to the Israel Block Party to leave with an appreciation of Israel.
“We’re not here to tell anyone what to think,” he said. “We’re here to get information out there and let people do with it what they will.”
Zach Stein, who helped present the event, said although he has celebrated Israeli Independence Day before, this year was his first time working on the Israel Block Party.
“To share this with everyone is pretty cool,” said Stein, health and exercise science sophomore.
At first, students looked over at the Israel Block Party and seemed to be interested in what was happening, Stein said.
“Then they saw food and they came on over,” he said.
Holly McMannes, Jewish Student Life coordinator for Hillel, said she hopes the event informed students a Jewish community exists at OU, as many might be unaware.
“We’re very welcoming and fun,” McMannes said.
Israel Week began Sunday on Israeli Memorial Day with a screening of a movie about Israeli soldiers at Meacham Auditorium, Smith said.
Israel Week will continue until Friday with an Israeli-themed dinner made by students and faculty, Smith said.