Jewish students at Grand Valley celebrate the start of Hanukkah

Megan Braxmaier

While many students are dreaming of a white Christmas, Jewish students all over Grand Valley State University prepared for the first night of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, this past Saturday.

Hillel, a faith based club at GVSU, not only provides Jewish students on campus the opportunity to interact with each other, but also provides events and activities that are open to the entire GVSU community to bring students together and enjoy different aspects of the Jewish religion.

“Hillel has really turned everyone in the group into friends,” says Hillel president, Noah Zucker. “Besides always having a great time together, it also gives students a support network for any challenges they may face living as a minority on campus.”

This past weekend marked the beginning of Hanukkah, and Hillel held a party to celebrate the first night with candle making and Latkes, which are pancakes made with grated potato.

“We celebrate a time when our ancestors came to find their temple ruins and only found enough oil to light a lamp, that must remain constantly lit, for a single day, and it miraculously lasted eight,” Zucker said. “We celebrate this by lighting candles and saying special prayers for eight nights.”

Zucker encourages all students to check out Hillel sponsored events on campus, as well as other students who are interested in joining to check the club out for themselves.

“Our events are really laid back and a lot of fun,” Zucker said. “They usually involve eating and just enjoying each other’s company. We also try to have at least one major event each year to help educate the GVSU community on a cause. We have events that range from Shabbat dinners every other week, to challah (bread) baking, to just going downtown to Griffins games as a group.”

Hillel is currently in the process of planning to have a holocaust survivor come and speak to GVSU students about their experiences.
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