At the end of the spring semester, universities across the country celebrated Israeli Independence Day by hosting events that showcased Israel’s diverse culture.
CAMERA-supported group Friends of Israel at Rockland Community College held a barbecue in the middle of their campus grounds. There was a professional henna artist and ongoing games. Students were engaged in discussions to learn more about the meaning of the day and the importance of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
CAMERA-supported group Israel Student Association at Queens College created a similar event, but they set up tables around the quad featuring different cities in Israel. There was falafel and schwarma, a technology showcase, and even a camel to take selfies with.
There was also a camel at MIT, where CAMERA-supported group MIT Friends of Israel had a carnival. With food trucks, cotton candy, photo booths and airbrush tattoos, the event was a huge success. Students made hummus from scratch, and several Israel related organizations had informational tables for students interested in learning more about internships and Birthright.
At Brooklyn College, where one of the most hotly debated subjects is Israel, CAMERA-supported group Bulldogs for Israel at Brooklyn College closed down the street of a busy intersection and the Israel Independence Day Committee planned an event to attract large crowds. Music, food, and booths with activities lured in students.
At the bioengineering booth, students potted and decorated cherry tomato plants and learned about Israel’s innovations. Tamid, an Israel business club, had guests make their own beverages with soda stream, and AEPI ran a pitching booth to teach participants about Israel’s victories in the world baseball classic. In order to increase traffic to their Facebook page, a green screen was set up where students could be photo shopped into pictures with Israeli celebrities, and they then had to like the page and wait until the pictures were posted.
CAMERA-supported groups Huskies for Israel at UConn and Emory Students for Israel had similar approaches, with stations set up at both campuses to celebrate the many cities of Israel. At Emory, students could decorate hamsas in Haifa with Hebrew students, and eat classic snacks at the shuk with the Meor group. In Jerusalem, the Arab Culture Association talked to students about Arab history in the area, while students could stick notes in the Western Wall. In the Negev, students tried Bedouin tea and relaxed in a tent. And of course, in Tel Aviv, people partied with a DJ on a fake beach. Participants were given a Rav-Kav (Israeli bus pass) that was stamped at each station they visited, and when they traveled to enough places they were rewarded with free falafel or a t-shirt.
All of these events proved to be hugely successful, attracting many new club members and spreading awareness about the vast technology, diverse people, and incredible cities Israel has to offer. Educational and fun, the activities allowed students to enjoy food, music, and Israel education in a relaxed setting.