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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Students celebrate Israel’s Birthday

Published: April 23, 2010
Section: News

PHOTO BY Heddy Ben-Atar/The Hoot

Students gathered on the Great Lawn Tuesday afternoon for the carnival held in Israel’s honor. Jews everywhere were especially excited on this year’s “4/20” to celebrate the 62nd birthday of Israel’s independence, otherwise known as the Jewish holiday Yom Ha’atzmaut.

“4/20” is typically associated in both North America and abroad as a day to smoke cannabis. This was an alternative on the Brandeis campus, promoting to get chai (the Hebrew word for living) on life and Israel’s independence.

Students were entertained by a moon bounce, sand art, wax hands, face painting, tie-dye shirts, free condoms and food, from cotton candy to snow cones.

In synagogue that morning, Jews recited special prayers previously reserved for holidays: when Israel became the homeland in 1948, the prayers became appropriate for the day of independence.

The carnival was completed with plenty of Israeli music, including performances from a cappella groups and B’yachad’s folk dancing.

Coordinator Rebecca Schlangel thought that she and the other members of the team who organized the carnival “definitely stepped up the publicity for this event. We really went above and beyond,” she said.

In addition to creating Facebook events and listservs to publicize the carnival, they attached condoms to fliers to grab attention, and also promoted the event with plenty of sidewalk chalk and balloons.

“I love Israel. This was such a great way to commemorate our independence as the chosen people,” said a student. “And I really enjoyed that cotton candy.”

The event was co-sponsored by Hillel, the Brandeis Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed organizations, the Hebrew Department, J-Street U, Birthright, Chabad, Brandeis Democrats and Republicans and Achla Muzika.