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Hillel Club celebrates 67 years of Israeli state

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The Pierce College Hillel Club hosted a celebration on the Mall April 30 to mark Israel’s 67th anniversary as an independent country.

The event featured games, as well as arts and crafts meant to familiarize students with Israeli history. Club president and computer science major Omri Gabay explained the club’s purpose and background.

“Hillel exists on this campus as a chapter of that international organization,” Gabay said. “We go from Hillel international to our local Hillel 818 chapter, which is a chapter of California State University of Northridge and Los Angeles Valley College, to our specific ASO Pierce Hillel Club.”

Gabay worked with fellow club members to increase exposure of and educate students about Hillel Club.

“Hillel is an international foundation for Jewish campus life,” Gabay said. “Hillel basically establishes on-campus clubs and community centers for jews.”

Executive director for Hillel 818 David Katz also attended and promoted events Hillel 818 hosts at other campuses and locations.

“I think it’s an opportunity for us to create awareness about the state of Israel on campus as a democracy of the Middle East, and also to celebrate and serve the Jewish students that are attending Pierce College,” Katz said.

Hillel 818 Israeli fellow Maian Rahvalschi said the event is designed to spread awareness not just of the anniversary, but of the Israeli state as a whole.

“We are set up here to celebrate and let the students know that there is a state named Israel and we had our birthday,” Rahvalschi said. “We have had 67 years of independence and just to spread the love and peace.”

Although the Hillel Club has had other events this year, this was the first one on the Mall. Gabay said he hopes to have more in the near future.

“Most of our events do actually happen at the Hillel building that is right across the street from CSUN,” Gabay said. “We do try to do a few events here at Pierce.”

Gabay said his goal with the events is encourage participation in the organization by Pierce students.

“This is just another way to get involved on campus,” Gabay said. “Another way to create our own little community by bringing all of our Brahmas together.”