A dreidel-spinning competition, potato latke dinners and the lighting of a giant menorah will help students celebrate Hanukkah traditions on campus this week.
These and other events, talks and programs are designed to commemorate the Jewish holiday, which officially began Friday and lasts until Dec. 7.
Hillel, the Jewish student organization at CSU, will host the Hanukkah events this week, beginning with “Spin for Hunger,” a dreidel game open to everyone interested. On Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., participants can compete against each other by spinning dreidels, which are traditional Jewish toys similar to tops. Proceeds from this competition, taking place in the Lory Student Center Flea Market, go to Mazon, the Jewish Response to Hunger.
Hedy Berman, director of CSU’s chapter of Hillel, said the word “Hanukkah” means “rededication” and commemorates the victory of a small group of Jews, the Maccabees, over the Syrians around 165 B.C. This triumph allowed the Jewish people to rededicate their temple in Jerusalem.
The eight-day celebration commemorates miracles that the Jewish religion says occurred during the rededication after the Jews’ conquest.
“To me, Hanukkah is about freedom of religion,” Berman said. “And we want (Jewish students) to feel they can celebrate.”
On Thursday, Jewish members of the community and students at CSU will light a “giant menorah,” a nine-branched candelabrum, on the Plaza in front of the student center. Berman plans to explain the significance of Hanukkah to the crowd expected to attend the event, before Linda Kuk, vice president for student affairs, lights the torch.
Hillel has also arranged an interfaith dinner and dialogue for Wednesday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at United Campus Ministry. UCM has requested that anyone interested RSVP at 482-8487.
Potato latkes, traditional Jewish potato pancakes, will be available in the residence halls throughout Hanukkah.
On Dec. 7 a celebration to end the eight-day holiday will commence at Congregation Har Shalom, a synagogue on Drake Road. Nicole Drusinsky, development director at the University of Denver’s Hillel, said this statewide event plans to draw students from Jewish communities throughout Colorado to meet each other, play dreidel, eat latkes and participate in other festivities.
Hillel aims to encourage Jewish students to participate in programs and get involved in the CSU Jewish community, Berman said.
More information about CSU’s Hanukkah events is available at www.hillelcolorado.org.