Dec 112003
Authors: Ben Bleckley

Jewish students celebrated the upcoming Jewish holiday,

Hanukkah, Thursday night in the basement of Lory Apartments


The eight-day holiday itself doesn’t begin until sunset on

Friday, but the Hillel-sponsored party gave students a chance to

take a break before finals week and spend time together. Food,

games and fellowship were all found at the party.

Hillel President Rachel Raizen is frustrated, however, about the

way Hanukkah is portrayed.

“It is totally a minor holiday,” she said. “It is totally

commercialized just because it is close to Christmas. Everyone

thinks it is such a major holiday, but it is not.”

Hillel celebrates the major Jewish holidays as well, including

Yom Kippur and Sukkot, said Hedy Berman, director of Hillel. These

holidays are considered more important by Jewish people.

Hanukkah is about number seven on the list of major Jewish

holidays, said Kayla Brummett, Hillel’s social committee chair. She

was expecting about 40 people to attend the party, and it looked

like she was pretty close. Brummett’s committee of five spent a

month planning the party.

Last year’s party was at the Congregation Har Shalom synagogue,

725 W. Drake Road.

“We had it here this year to make it a little different,”

Brummett said.

This year, the party featured games of dreidel, cards that were

to be signed and taken to hospitalized children in Israel, sheets

of music, including Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song” and customary


Hanukkah, which is also called the Festival of the Lights,

starts on the 25th day of Kislev, the third month of the Jewish


The holiday celebrates the rededication of the Jewish temple to

the Jewish God, after being defiled by the Syrian ruler Antiochus

the Fourth in 168 BCE, according to the 1996 Encarta


After the rededication of the Temple, an eternal candle was

relit, but only with oil for one day. The oil lasted eight


For this reason, oil is found in many of the holiday’s customs.

Traditional customs include eating fried food, lighting candles and

playing games.

“The whole gift-giving thing is only in America,” Raizen said.

“In Israel they wouldn’t do that.”

Last year, Hillel also lit a giant menorah on the Lory Student

Center Plaza. Since school is not in session, they chose not to

light the menorah.

“I don’t want to fall off the ladder again either,” Raizen


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