The Florence and Chafetz Hillel House is preparing to host hundreds of Boston University students at its annual Latkepalooza feast on Dec. 11 to celebrate the Hanukkah season.
It is expected to offer free latkes, sufganiyot, or jelly donuts, and chocolate candy coins known as gelt, according to the Hillel website. Organizers will have dreidel games, a DJ and Chaim, the dancing dreidel, who will be available for photographs.
“It’s really just to celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah which is coming up,” said Julia Brandeis, vice president of outreach for Hillel’s Student Board. “The event is just free food, free traditional food that we eat on Hanukkah, and it is open to the whole BU community. We do a lot of events for good causes but this one is just to celebrate.”
Brandeis, a Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences junior, said the dinner is a celebration for everyone.
The gathering is a long tradition at Hillel to celebrate Hanukkah and has been running for about 20 years, said Hillel Director of Student Activities Lauren Shuman Perry.
Perry said 2012’s Latkepalooza has been advertised differently than in previous years.
“They’ve done a better job advertising for it,” she said. “So while it used to be just the dorm flyers, that is not one of the most important ways of communication at BU. People don’t really see them, they might not even get up on a floor and it’s been a lot about face-to-face communication, peer engagement, classes — just talking to people.”
Perry said she is expecting a significant turnout as a result of the new advertising.
“You can’t go by Facebook,” Perry said. “But on Facebook it says, I think, there were more than 300 people going, but I expect even more than that will actually show up.”
Brandeis said Latkepalooza will build on a donor program offered first at Latkepalooza in 2011.
“It’s called Gift of Life,” she said. “It’s a foundation that does cheek swabs for people, and so at the event you can go to the table and get your cheek swabbed and then they send it to a national database and then if you are a bone marrow match for someone, they call you and if you want to you could donate bone marrow.”
Brandeis said as a result of the bone marrow donor drive in 2011, one attendee received a call from a bone marrow match.
Despite increased political tensions due to the recently escalated Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Latkepalooza plans were not affected, Brandeis said.
“That is not connected with that event at all,” she said. “This is just a social and cultural event, so it’s not really focusing on any political aspects.”
Alex Yedid, a College of Communication sophomore, said he is excited for Latkepalooza.
“I actually did not attend last year, but I am looking forward to it this year,” Yedid said
Jade Perkins, a College of Engineering junior, said she was considering attending the dinner.
“I’ll go as long as I don’t have too much work, but it sounds like fun,” she said. “Everybody likes free food.”
“I’m just going for the latkes,” said COM sophomore Laura Meyers. “I don’t know anyone, but it seems like it will be a lot of fun and a lot of people will be there.”
Latkepalooza will take place on the third floor of the Hillel House in the dining hall from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Dec. 11.