UF students make hamantaschen, Jewish triangular filled cookies, at a baking event hosted by the Lubavitch Chabad Jewish Center to raise money for Parkland shooting victims.


Amanda Rosa / Alligator

UF students pinched, stuffed and baked more than 200 triangular-shaped cookies to support Parkland shooting victims Sunday night.

About 70 people participated in the baking event hosted by the Lubavitch Chabad Jewish Center, baking more than 350 cookies and raising more than $500 for the families and victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The money will be donated to Broward Education Foundation, said Chabad’s director Rabbi Berl Goldman. This fund is dedicated to providing relief and financial support to the tragedy’s victims and their families.

Gabby Schwartz, a UF accounting freshman, grew up baking cookies for the Jewish holiday Purim in her hometown of Parkland. The Stoneman Douglas alumna lived next door to Meadow Pollack, one of the 17 people killed in the shooting.

Although the news was devastating for Schwartz, she said she wass glad to see students support the victims.

“I think it’s amazing that even though it’s in south Florida, people in Gainesville and around the country are thinking of ways to give back to the victims’ families,” the 19-year-old said.

Chabad provided ingredients and instructions on how to make hamantaschen, which are triangular, jam-filled cookies, for Purim, a Jewish holiday that celebrates the freeing of the Jewish people from a high-ranking official in ancient Persia named Haman, who planned to kill them. Guests donated a minimum of $5 and filled cookies with their choice of raspberry or apricot jam, dates, Nutella, chocolate chips or marshmallow fluff.

Rebecca Papilsky, 22, a UF public relations senior, organized the event with her friend Carly Weiss, a 21-year-old UF political science senior. Students from Vanderbilt University, Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin planned similar fundraisers for Parkland victims, and reached out to Papilsky and Weiss to spread the idea to UF.

An online preorder form let people order cookies, which Papilsky and Weiss will deliver Monday.

Papilsky said the shooting was tragic, but she’s excited to see UF students take action for gun control.

“It’s sad that it had to take something like this to get young people to take action, but it is a really exciting time,” she said. “I think that anyone participating really has a chance to make a difference.”

Goldman said the night was a great chance for UF students affected by the tragedy to express love and support for each other and the victims.

“We’re very proud to be able to do this, but we’re more proud to see the students themselves coming out on a Sunday night for a good cause,” he said.

Contact Amanda Rosa at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @AmandaNicRosa

Amanda Rosa is a second-year journalism major from Miami Beach, FL. As a general assignment staff writer, she covers anything in Gainesville and the University of Florida. She loves drawing, reading and drinking too much coffee.