In an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of Mont Royal Park on Sundays, Hillel and friends invited students to bring their tam tams to the Mezzanine last Wednesday, in support of breast cancer awareness.
“Breast cancer doesn’t choose its victims based on race, nationality or religion. So we wanted to make it a multicultural event,” said Dan Hadad, co-president of Hillel.
Though the event was organized and funded by Hillel, another five student clubs took part in it, including the Lebanese Student Association (LSA) and the International Students Association.
The evening began with a tam tam performer joined by some students and ended with a relaxed atmosphere of music, food and drink. In light of breast cancer awareness month, the student clubs also raised some money, by donation, for the Montreal Breast Cancer Foundation.
An estimated 21,100 women will develop breast cancer in 2003, and 5,300 will die from it. For men the numbers are lower, with some 140 diagnoses in 2003, and 40 deaths. It is predicted that one in nine Canadian women will develop breast cancer at some point during her lifetime.
“The plan was to show people that Hillel does stuff for the whole student community and not just for Jewish students. There are a lot of myths about what Hillel actually does, and we’re not a fanatical Jewish group,” said Tal Elharrar, Hillel program coordinator.
“The idea was to have an event that’s apolitical and that involves a lot of clubs,” he added.
“This is a social event where students are getting together for a good cause,” said Amale Keyrala, a Concordia student. She believes the outcome could have been better, as “probably some students did not come because Hillel organized it.” Keyrala said that while she was tabling for LSA, she was approached by some students that expressed their disagreement with the club taking part in the event.
Guy Bitar, president of LSA, had a clear position on the matter: “We had some negative responses from diverse people, from different associations. But these are political associations and they were trying to tell us about a political issue.”
Bitar said that his primary objective is to keep LSA away from politics. “This event is about humanity. It was very important for us to participate in this,” he said.
The Concordia Canadian Asian Society (CCAS) also took part in the event to show support for the cause. Kimberly Kwo, president of CCAS was satisfied with the outcome. “It was very lively. It looked like everybody was having a good time,” she said.