The Jewish student population at the University of Maryland experienced a sudden surge recently — for one weekend.
Some 1,000 Jewish students from around the country were on campus late last month for the fifth annual National Hillel Basketball Tournament.
The competition, initiated by members of the national Jewish student organization, brought teams from 40 schools for a series of events that included Shabbat services, Torah study sessions, guests speakers, social events, and the athletic tournament itself. Boston University won the men’s event, and defending champion University of Maryland took the women’s event.
Participating schools from the New York area included Barnard, NYU and Queens College.
“Jewish students from all around the nation were connected through the game of basketball,” New Yorker Jacob Neumark, the sophomore from the host school who served as co-chair of this year’s competition, wrote on his blog. “These students put their hearts and souls into this weekend because they themselves were driven by their own vision of what bringing Jewish college students from across the country could accomplish. The weekend embodied empowerment and unity.”