Alianza, Hillel team up to put on Bat Mitzvanera

Weinberg sophomore Barbara Leary dances at Hillel and Alianzas joint Bat Mitzvanera. The event combined Latino and Jewish coming-of-age traditions.

Brian Lee/The Daily Northwestern

Weinberg sophomore Barbara Leary dances at Hillel and Alianza’s joint Bat Mitzvanera. The event combined Latino and Jewish coming-of-age traditions.

Josh Walfish, Sports Editor

Alianza and Northwestern Hillel teamed up Thursday to hold the inaugural Bat Mitzvanera, a combination of the coming-of-age celebrations from both Latino and Jewish traditions.

The event attracted more than 60 guests to J.J. Java Cafe to dance and eat kosher Latin American foods. Barbara Leary, an Alianza member, was the designated Bat Mitzvanera girl. The Weinberg sophomore stood out with her flowing teal dress.

The celebration began with Leary being serenaded by Mariachi Northwestern before members of both the Alianza and Hillel executive boards spoke about the significance of the bat mitzvah and quinceanera.

The festivities honored most of the major traditions from both cultures, starting with the quinceanera’s changing of the shoes to signify the transition from a girl to a young woman. The literal high point of the night came during the Hora, a traditional Jewish circle dance, when Leary was lifted into the air on a chair, a popular tradition from the bat mitzvah.

The two groups applied for an NUnite grant in the winter and were awarded $1,000 from the Center for Student Involvement. Both groups expressed a desire to keep the relationship between the two groups strong and to collaborate on events in the future.

— Josh Walfish