By Jennifer Ives
The Simmons College Hillel group hosted their first Hamsas and Hellos drop-in painting session on Tuesday September 27 from 12 p.m.-2p.m. in the Student Activities Center, a cozy affair of busy students pausing for a few minutes to share stories, meet new friends, and decorate a few charms in between their classes and lunch periods.
Hamsas are a traditional palm-shaped amulet or charm, designed to look like an open right hand. They are historically associated with Muslim and Jewish communities, and the Simmons College Hillel group graciously took a few hours out of their day to take turns explaining the cultural
significance of them as students experimented with designing and decorating their own Hamsas to give to friends or take home with them for good luck. The word Hamsa derives from Khamsah, an Arabic word meaning five, referring to the five fingers of the hand. Their historical usage spans back hundreds of years, and students got the opportunity to appreciate their rich history on tuesday.
The Simmons Hillel group is well known for hosting their infamous Bagel Brunches, Challah Baking events, and open Shabbat dinners that anyone can attend with their families and friends. However their move into interactive activity based events might help them attract more hesitant students that want to learn a little more about Hillel, but do not want to commit to a full-on meeting or event. Drop in painting events have historically been very popular at Simmons, typically attracting quite a few participants at any one time. Paint Nights have been even more popular, quickly filling up within minutes of opening their doors in past years. The Simmons College Hillel has made a smart and safe bet by decorating Hamsa as a way to raise cultural awareness and increase interaction with the student population.