Lighting up the nights

Jess James and Jess James

For many students, their only knowledge of Hanukkah comes from Adam Sandler’s ‘Eight Crazy Nights’ or the ‘Rugrats’ Hanukkah Special.’ But for Hillel, the on-campus Jewish community, the holiday embraces a tradition based on the victory of the Maccabees.

According to the Web site, Judaism 101, Judah Maccabeus lead the Jewish rebel army to defeat the Syrians in 165 B.C. After the battle, the warriors returned to Jerusalem where they found their land and sacred temple in shambles. The Syrians left one jar of oil that was only supposed to burn for one day, but miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days. Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights and uses a Chanukkiyah, a traditional eight branch candle holder, to celebrate the days the oil lasted in Jerusalem.

Junior Ashley Berman, the vice president of Hillel, shared how the Jewish students are excited for Hanukkah begin.

‘Hanukkah is one of the biggest Jewish holidays of the year,’ Berman said. ‘On Friday at sundown, Hanukkah officially starts. We [Hillel] will be lighting a Chanukkiyah and throwing a party for the festival.’

The event will take place tomorrow in Union 308 and will begin at 6 p.m. The event is open to the public and students will be able to indulge in the all-you-can-eat pasta buffet that will be provided by dining services. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door. To purchase tickets in advance, Hillel will have a table set up in the Union lobby until 4 p.m.

Rachel Letwin is Hillel’s vice president of public relations and said traditional Hanukkah games will be played at the event.

‘There will be a dreidel spinning tournament and plenty of chocolate gelt,’ Letwin said. ‘Chocolate gelts are the Jewish gold coins used at Hanukkah to celebrate the traditional Jewish festivities.’

The dreidel is a four-sided top with different Hebrew letters on each side. The purpose of the game is to bet on what side the dreidel will land on, using the chocolate gelt as the betting prize. Gift certificates and prizes will be given away to the winners of the dreidel spinning contest.

Daniel Lubin is the president of Hillel and hopes students come to learn more about Hanukkah and enjoy some great company.

‘There will be movies, games, food and fun,’ Lubin said. ‘Hanukkah in Hebrew means ‘dedication’ and what we’re trying to do [is] show the importance of this holiday. The party is not going to disappointed and should be a pretty good time.”