While many students attended the Spring Fling concert or other parties around West Philadelphia on Friday night, the Orthodox Community at Penn gathered in Houston Hall for their annual Fling Feast.
Held every year on the Friday of Fling, the feast serves as a way for the Orthodox Jewish community to come together and celebrate while honoring Shabbat — a weekly holiday where Orthodox Jews traditionally abstain from work and using electricity. The holiday starts Friday evening and ends Saturday evening.
“It’s one of the few times of the year that our whole community comes together,” College sophomore and OCP Social Chair Jeremy Schechter said. “Eating is a huge part of our community, and as Sabbath observers, we wouldn’t want people to feel like they are missing out on the Fling experience or the Shabbat dinner.”
The feast brought Fling revelry to a traditional Shabbat dinner — this year’s feast was carnival-themed, with streamers and popcorn centerpieces.
Since Shabbat involves abstaining from using electricity, people were not allowed to use technology during the event.
Without microphones, Simply Chaos — a student standup comedy group — shouted out their jokes, keeping the atmosphere cheerful and relaxed.
Members said the chance to disconnect is one of the best aspects of Shabbat in general.
“We are able to enjoy people’s company and have fun while observing Shabbat customs,” Schechter said.
The event is open to everyone, no matter how strictly they observe Shabbat.
Jessica Griff, a College freshman who helped organize the event, considered the feast just one part of her Fling experience.
“I attended the Fling concert and the Fling Feast, ” she said. “People can have a typical Fling experience and come to the feast and feel no exclusion.”
The event is a communal effort: OCP members divided up responsibilities to create decorations, organize catering, curate entertainment and organize giveaways.
“I love to watch so many people come together with all of their talents to make an amazing event,” said Rebecca Slochowsky, a College senior and former OCP co-chair.
“It’s amazing to see how committed people are to making the event special,” she said.
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