By Ryan Tuller
During a normal Wednesday night, many Jewish students in the Philadelphia area are studying and looking forward to a relaxing and festive Shabbat. But a recent Wednesday night was no normal night, as Hillel in Philadelphia and Hillel at Penn took 235 Jewish students from the city out onto the Delaware River for a night of fun, dancing and partying. The event, dubbed the first annual "Falafel Ball," brought together students from 11 universities on the Spirit of Philadelphia to meet up with friends old and new, reminisce about birthright israel trips and other Hillel events, and simply taking a break from the trials of university life.
The students, dressed to kill and ready for a good time, sailed away to the sound of modern Israeli music fused with today's pop music hits, jumpstarting the dance floor into full swing and not stopping until the ship docked. For those with two left feet, there was no lack of mingling and socializing going on, especially around the food tables -- a buffet featuring none other than falafel. Above deck, students could take a breather and watch the city skyline as the night sailed on.
"It was a great event because it not only brought together different Philadelphia universities but it showcased Hillel's deep involvement with the Jewish community and Israel as a whole," said Temple University student Rebecca Henshell.
The Falafel Ball was a major success for Hillel and the Philadelphia Jewish community, bringing together students from 11 area universities, including Temple, Penn, Drexel and West Chester, was no small feat. As much as the event was intended to be a fun time for all, it also allowed students to embrace their Jewish identity and connect with like-minded students. At the end of the night, the ship docked and everyone left still excited, wanting more and looking forward to a bigger and better event for next year.
Ryan Tuller is a sophomore at Temple University.