Despite the snowy conditions this past Saturday, Jan. 24, students still managed to attend the first big Brandeis Zionist Alliance event of the semester, Tel Aviv Club Night. Located in Sherman Function Hall, the event provided pizza, neon glowsticks and bright DJ lights with a soundtrack of popular Israeli and American songs.
BZA President Tzlil Levy ’17 and Vice President Shayna Hertz ’17 committed a tremendous amount of time and effort in order to make the event a reality. Both they and other members started planning this party months in advance, making sure to publicize the club name as much as possible.
An issue, Levy and Hertz claim, is the fact that BZA was not a very active club when it first began. Part of what they hope to do now is to revive the club by hosting events, getting more funding for more opportunities for people to learn more about Israeli culture and by creating a better image of BZA.
The club name is also controversial. Because “Zionist” is included, some people are automatically biased against the club. During the winter activities fair, for instance, e-board remember the response to handing out flyers to remind people about Tel Aviv Club Night.
“Some people were hesitant to take the flyer, as they felt that they did not identify with ‘Zionists,’” the board members mention. The club’s aim, however, is not political, but rather a push toward a more cultural and more inclusive environment, Levy and Hertz said.
In order to defuse the derogatory nature of the term, the club created a diversified environment by co-sponsoring with a variety of different clubs, including not only BOSS (Brandeis Organization of Sephardic Students) and Hillel at Brandeis, but also the ’Deis Chess Club, Brandeis Firecrackers, BCMG (Brandeis Consulting and Marketing Group), TSA (Brandeis’ Taiwanese Student Association) and others. Additionally, BZA is hoping to create closer connections with SEA (Students for Environmental Action), TRISK (Triskelion, Brandeis’ LGBTQ student group) and the Real Estate Club.
BZA is continuing to make an even bigger presence on campus by planning to co-sponsor the Internship Gala with BIPAC (Brandeis Israel Public Affairs Committee), an annual event that provides students with many internship and full-time job opportunities, accompanied by food, company information and a presentation by Haim Levkowitz, a leading professional and adviser in entrepreneurship.
Last semester, BZA hosted a variety of events, including an Israeli breakfast, a show by Israeli comedian Joel Chasnoff and Hookah in the Sukkah.
With the combination of Israeli music, food and events, BZA hopes to create a more developed, interconnected group of friends and networks in order to mature as a club and to educate more people about Israel’s lively culture.