By Gordon Gladstone
Berkeley Hillel's JCSC fellow, Oren Kroll Zeldin and several students have organized March Madness, Hillel style. This contest capitalizes on the NCAA basketball championships to raise money for the Right to Play Darfur fund and increases awareness of the need to aid the refugees of Sudan. Thirty-six students have submitted their picks for the winner of each game in the playoffs, and more than $180 has been collected. The winner and runner-up will both receive gift certificates to local businesses.
"The numbers 36 amd 180 are inherently symbolic in both Jewish culture and the culture of this pool. As 36 is double chai (life) and the number of dollars in a gift certificate the winner will receive, while 18 (chai) is the amount the runner-up will receive. Since the money will go to help make people's lives better, the numbers are almost predestined," Kroll Zeldin said.
Kroll Zeldin has noticed some interesting patterns among the entries, such as :
- 12 people chose Rudy Gay and the University of Connecticut to win it all
- Nine people think J.J. Reddick has the best shot in college ball and will bring Duke to cut down the nets on April 3
- Five people chose Villanova to go the distance
- No one thinks Leon Powe can take the U.C. Berkeley Bears to the championship
- One very wise person chose Oren's beloved UCLA Bruins to win the title
- The lowest seed chosen to win the championship is No. 7 seed Georgetown
- Only 8 people think a No. 1 seed will not win the tourney
- Only one person forgot to choose a champion
Gordon Gladstone is the assistant director of Berkeley Hillel.