KU Hillel sent seven students to the University of Maryland to participate in the National Hillel Basketball Tournament from March 31 to April 2.
Dozens of schools participated in a weekend-long series of basketball games against each other, allowing Jewish students to connect with other Jewish students from schools across the country.
KU was one of the only schools from the Midwest, as a majority of the schools in attendance were from the Northeast. Junior Josh Kaseff said he liked the opportunity to see how other Hillels, especially from far distances, worked.
The tournament, while allowing Jewish students to connect, also gave the KU Hillel team a chance to have fun and play basketball together in a new setting. “My favorite part of the tournament was spending time with my Kansas teammates,” sophomore Joel Gutovitz said. “Through all of the injuries [we got], the guys kept each other laughing and having a good time regardless of how incapacitated our bodies got.”
While the KU Hillel team did not bring home a championship trophy this year, they got to play in Maryland’s basketball arena, celebrate Shabbat at Maryland with other students and explore the area. “Beyond hanging out with teammates from home, the Hillel tournament is an incredible opportunity for students to meet Jews from across the country while also competing for a national basketball championship,” Gutovitz said.