For the past few years, Rabbi Schuster has been hoping to try out a unique program for Jewish Students at KU, a Midnight Oneg. On Friday, November 18 this program finally came to life when more than 50 students gathered at Hillel at 11:30pm to 1:30am to eat, sing, and simply be together as a Jewish community. The lights were dimmed, and sophomores Ben Schenberg and Max Gendler set the mood by performing many popular songs on their guitars. Schuster says the Midnight Oneg was inspired by something he had seen in Seattle during the 90s. There was a place that put out a huge spread of breakfast foods for people to enjoy following their social outings into the late hours of the evening and early morning.
Schuster knew that planning a program at Hillel at such a late hour was a risk, but he was thrilled with the result. “At first, I was a bit worried because it started out slow, but then people started showing up in little groups until, before I knew it, the place was packed and there was just a buzz of energy in the place. People would give these ‘Shabbat Shalom’ shout outs when they walked through the door and then open their arms to tumble into one of their friends with a big hug,” adds Schuster.
There was no formal program planned, just good food and company for students to enjoy.
“Students talked about what they had been doing earlier in the evening and what they were going to do tomorrow. They gathered around and listened to and sang along with Ben and Max [who were amazing, as always]” adds Schuster.
Senior Guya Tuval and junior Micah Stiel played key roles in planning and setting up for the Oneg with Rabbi Schuster. Senior Shiri Kboudi and sophomore Marlena Geller also played integral roles in spreading the word about the event on numerous social media platforms.
“The midnight Oneg was really so great and I was beyond happy with the turnout. It was cool to be at Hillel so late at night and the song-session was amazing. Students are already asking about when we can do it again,” says Kboudi.
“It was a great way to shake things up and it was successful in bringing some less familiar faces through the Hillel doors. I can’t wait to do it again,” Schuster concludes.