Deep in the Heart of the 20th Annual Israel Block Party

For the 20th year, Texas Hillel showcased the greatest aspects of Israel to UT students, faculty and community members at its annual Israel Block Party.  Designed to engage and teach students about Israel, this year’s Israel Block Party highlighted Israel’s innovation, diversity, government and culture.  In spite of a 2-hour rain delay, more than 1,000 visitors walked through an “Israeli market” on March 28th on UT’s East Mall to learn about and celebrate Israel.

Israel Block Party was held under two large tents to recreate an Israeli Shuk, a bustling Middle Eastern market, with food stalls, merchandise vendors, games, Israel displays and, of course, camels. Guests schmoozed and talked Israeli politics, experienced virtual reality, shopped for clothes and jewelry, met representatives from the Israeli Consulate, Israel Bonds, Camp Young Judea, URJ and JNF.  Student-favorite activities included learning Hebrew, pita making, trying on tefillin, henna tattoos and selfies with camels.  In the spirit of a true shuk, guests snacked on falafel, shawarma, bourekas, salads and Israeli candies.

As the largest pro-Israel college event on a college campus, Israel Block Party demonstrates Texas Hillel’s commitment to building a pro-Israel environment on campus.  Rachel Sasiene, Israel block Party Co-Chair and a senior from Houston, TX majoring in History states, “It’s so wonderful for us to be able celebrate 20 years of Israel Block Party. Every year event leadership puts their mark on content and themes and ensures that there’s a continued focus on educating students who have never been to Israel. Even battling the rain and lightning, students came out in droves to be immersed into Israeli life, which shows our impact on this campus.”  The event was open to all members of the UT and Austin community.  Organized by Texas Hillel and Texans for Israel with hundreds of volunteers and months of planning, we achieved our goal of bringing Israel awareness, advocacy and education to the campus community.

Here’s a 2018 Israel Block Party video highlighting this amazing event.