‘Tis the season for menorahs in windows and freshly fried latkes — if you’re Jewish.
Today marks the beginning of Hanukkah, but for the Hillel Center of Jewish campus life, the festivities began Wednesday night with a pre-Hanukkah, pre-finals celebration. More than two-dozen Jewish students on campus came to enjoy traditional Hanukkah foods, receive gift bags and participate in a gift exchange.
Hanukkah celebrates the Jews’ reclamation of Jerusalem from the Athenians in the 2nd century B.C. Symbolizing the story where one day’s worth of oil in the temple miraculously lasted eight days; Jewish families light one candle on a menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum, on each night of the holiday.
Next week, the group will also offer free lunch and massages from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday at the Hillel house. The house is open to all students who need a break from finals.
“We wanted to take time and kind of relax before finals,” said Debi Schrimmer, sophomore president of CSU’s Hillel chapter.
While the event was social and low-key, students took time to reflect on the importance and symbolism associated with Hanukkah. Along with gift bags, students received pamphlets with information about the holiday’s history and symbolism.
Because students will be focused on studying, said Schrimmer, the center will not have any further events to celebrate the holiday or teach its history. Still, Jewish students will celebrate on their own from sundown today until sundown Dec. 19 — the last day of Hanukkah.
Staff writer David Martinez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.