On Friday, October 5, two unlikely Denison organizations, Hillel and the Gaming Guild, came together to bring Jewish Gaming Night to The Open House.

The event started out as a typical Shabbat night for the Hillel members but it was an introduction to the Jewish community for the members of Gaming Guild. Participants had introduction and blessings over the candles followed by grape juice (in place of wine) and challah, Jewish bread.

On most Fridays, the members of Hillel sit around in the common area to eat. But, for the event, there were tables laid out in the living room with different games, provided by the Gaming Guild. Everyone sat down to eat the home cooked meals prepared by Shabbat Coordinator De’von Fulton ’19 and assisted by Hillel member Coby Strell ’21. At first, there was chatter around the room; the Hillel members sharing their stories with curious outsiders, talking about their classes, making new friends and so on. But, once everyone had finished dinner, they started playing some games.

The group of people divided in 4 tables, each picking a different game. One group was seen playing the board game, “Settlers of Catan.” Another group quickly picked up a game called “Spyfall.” The president of Hillel was seen playing the game “Forbidden Desert” with the president of Gaming Guild. And, all of us were having an enjoyable time.

The purpose of this event was to help build a strong community amongst Hillel members with other Denisonian organizations– in this instance the Gaming Guild. And what better way to bring people together than with fun games and good food?” said co-president of Hillel, Jessica Leeds Richman ’20. Richman has also been involved in the Gaming Guild since her freshman year and being passionate about both groups. It only made sense to bring the two together for a fun-filled evening.

As the tables and chairs were being removed from the common room, people who met just a few hours ago were leaving together and making future plans.

“I thought the event went really well! There was so much laughter echoing throughout that big room! Personally, I was hoping for a larger turnout but at the end of the day everyone who was there looked to be having a blast and that’s what counts. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity. Plus, it was so cool to see new friendships being formed in front of my eyes,” said Richman.

Jacob Chreky, a sophomore economics major from Pittsburgh, is a member of both Hillel and the Gaming Guild and believes that more clubs should collaborate to create a better community for Denison.

“It showed the interconnectivity between clubs that you don’t see at first glance. I never knew that Gaming Guild and Hillel actually had a connection,” Chreky said.

On seeing his Gaming Guild friends in a different atmosphere, Chreky said, “It was sort of interesting. The people in Hillel did not make them seem like they were excluded. Having this activity actually helped both groups enter a variety of different cultural aspects.”

Overall, the event helped jump start a connection between two different Denison communities and hopes to inspire future collaborations.