iFest Community Day at UCI is a Huge Hit
I just returned from iFest Community Day at UCI this afternoon. The crowd that turned out was very impressive. Hundreds of students were matched by and just as many community members who came out to support a celebration of Jewish student life and support for Israel on the UCI campus today.
The area around campus “ring road”, between the book store and the administration building was lined with vendors, student groups, food, goods for sales and information about many of the great things going on in Israel. The most popular stop was the falafel stand where people waited in line patiently for a great tasting middle-eastern falafel.
I especially liked the small yellow signs that were planted in the ground. These informational posts had positive facts about a wide variety of Israel’s accomplishments. I later learned iFest organizers placed hundreds around the entire university this week and students walking to class had the opportunity to learn about Israel as they moved around campus.
A strong contingent from the Women’s Council for Hillel, led by Liz Merage and Orly Glick had many of their 250 new members wearing iFest t-shirts in support of the event. Merage also called on a dozen friends who drove down from Los Angeles especially to support the students. Jordan Fruchtman and the Hillel team were also very visible as well as members from the Rose Project and Jewish Federation Orange County which helped fund the week-long events. I am told the AJC and ADL also had a strong showing this afternoon. I did see some of their leaders enjoying the cloudless afternoon.
The students though should be commended for all the work they put in leading up to this week’s events. From the posters and beautiful images of Israel that surrounded ring road to the time it took to set up and take down the “Mall”
The biggest crowd though, gathered during the entertainment portion of the afternoon when two belly dancers put on a performance that had people coming out of the crowd to join in the fun. Backed by a DJ playing music, crowds gathered around the dancers who entertained everyone during lunchtime.
At the end of the day, what does all of this mean? The goal of iFest, as I understand it, is to show the campus, community and in fact the world that there are positive Jewish experiences every day at UC Irvine.
The point was driven home this week and certainly today. Jewish life at UCI is thriving and the iFest Community Day at UCI was a huge hit.
Check back to the blog soon for additional photos as well as video from today’s festivities.
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