On Tuesday evening, international relations senior Alex Waldman was able to celebrate a place very close to his heart: Israel.
With an array of blue and white balloons, Israeli hacky sacks, music, food and smiling faces consuming the Union Ballroom, the Jewish Student Union president was happy to have helped coordinate Israel Fest, an event he felt could help teach his fellow students about the nation.
“Events like this are just really good opportunities for people to learn about things that have gone on outside of their own country,” Waldman said. “… This is something that we take to heart, and it’s something that we (can take) to educate the rest of our community.”
Hundreds of people attended the event, which was hosted by the Jewish Student Union and the ASMSU Programming Board, to show support for Israel and the people passionate about the country.
Graduate student Aaron Majorana, president of Christians United for Israel, said he was glad to be part of an event that promoted diversity and inclusion. He said Israel isn’t just important to Jewish individuals but is sacred land for other religions as well.
“Israel is a state that has not only Jews, it (also) has Muslims and Christians,” Majorana said. “It is the holy site of multiple religions, and we want to make sure that Christians honor and respect Israel, and we are here to honor and show support.”
Felix Shoihat, an Israel fellow at MSU Hillel Jewish Student Center, originally is from Israel and helped host the event in honor of his homeland.
Shoihat said it is important to him to celebrate the nation, which, in a number of different ways, is a part of every Jewish person.
“(For) some, it will be the most important thing in their life — their home away from home (or) their actual home,” Shoihat said.
“There is a spot in the heart of every Jewish person to Israel (and) for Israel.”