The Hillel Foundation for Jewish Life hosted its third annual Murder Mystery Shabbaton Dinner on Friday night, which combined traditional aspects of Shabbat with a spooky theme for Halloween.
Student leaders Andrew Goldstein and Lauren Sprung were in charge of the event, said Shaina Abrams-Kornblum, the Director of Jewish Student Life.
“They did all of the planning, picked the decorations, the menu, and wrote the script for the dinner theater-style murder mystery that took place,” Kornblum said. “It was a great opportunity for the students to come together on Shabbat, enjoy a meal together, and have a little fun.”
The dinner, which took place in the Delancey Street Restaurant in the Student Union, started with the traditional and religious services that would usually be seen at a Shabbat Dinner.
“To make it a little more interactive, and because it’s Halloween, we’re having people dress up as different villains and we’re saying that it’s a law firm where they represent these villains,” said Andrew Goldstein, sophomore journalism major and secretary of Hillel.
“They’re going to have these quirky characters and at the same time, one of them is going to mysteriously be killed,” Goldstein said. “There’s going to be some really complicated murder plot mystery thing and it’s going to be up to the dinner guests to figure out who did what.”
The attendees of the event had to figure out what happened regarding the “Murder at The Snyder & Snyder Law Firm,” which was written by Goldstein. They were able to question each of the villains in the play and had to figure out who the murderer was in a way that was still respectful to the traditions of Shabbat, meaning that they were not able to write anything down.
Although some Jews do not celebrate Halloween, they were still able to enjoy the spooky theme of the dinner.
“While Halloween is not a Jewish Holiday, some Jews do celebrate it by dressing up,” Kornblum said, “There are other Jews who do not celebrate Halloween. We wanted to create an event that would allow all students to participate.”
There were no requirements to dress up for the event, so people could dress up to the extent that they felt comfortable with.
“I personally don’t really celebrate Halloween,” Lauren Sprung, junior mechanical engineering major and Vice President of Hillel, said. “I think it’s pretty cool we have a pretty diverse group of people here.”
“Some students were more excited about the Halloween aspect of the dinner than others, but everyone was able to get into the spirit of things,” Sprung said, “It’s kind of like everyone come as you are, or who you want to be for Halloween.”
A lot of the students in attendance thought the event was a success.
“I thought that it was a lot of fun, I love Hillel events,” Cassandra Clark, a freshman social work major, said. At the end of the event, Clark was discovered to be the killer of the “Murder at the Snyder & Snyder Law Firm.”
“Being Jewish is fun, and I think it’s fun to do stuff, but still have things follow our laws,” Clark said.
“The goal of the event was to combine Shabbat with the Murder Mystery dinner because so many people celebrate Halloween,” Rachel Klevan, a sophomore psychology major and co-chair of the event, said, “It kind of works together and religion hasn’t really affected it.”
Both student leaders of the event thought it was a success.
“I think it went well—I think we had a lot of people who came, a lot of people who really enjoyed it, a lot of people that participated, and everyone laughed and smiled so that was good,” Goldstein said.