Jewish students across campus will get a chance to celebrate Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish celebration, by lighting a giant menorah Sunday evening in Baker Center.

Levi Raichik, the rabbi and director of Chabad, a Jewish student center, said multiple events will be held from Sunday to Dec. 10 to commemorate the rededication of the Temple of Maccabees after their victory over the Syrians Greeks. 

“To commemorate that we light a menorah every year of Hanukkah just like the menorah that was in the temple,” Raichik said. “But, we light an eight-candle menorah for the eight days of Hanukkah.”

Other than celebrating the victory of the small group of Jewish fighters who used mostly guerilla-style attacks to defeat the large group of Syrian Greeks, Raichik said he likes to celebrate the miracle of the oil, which was initially enough to only be lit for one day but stayed lit for eight days instead. 

Raichik said Chabad will be open every day for Hanukkah from 6-8 p.m. and will serve free dinner. A Shabbat-themed Hanukkah dinner will also take place at 6 p.m. on Dec. 7 at Chabad, where traditional Hanukkah food will be available for students to eat in addition to the regular dinner. 

“Since Hanukkah is all about the oil, the custom is to eat foods that are very greasy and fried with oil,” Raichik said. “So, we’re going to have potato latkes and jelly-doughnuts, which are both traditional Hanukkah food.”

Raichik hopes to engage the non-Jewish student population at OU in the Jewish culture by offering menorahs to students, so that when they light it in their apartment or house, their roommates can be introduced to the Jewish culture. 

Chabad will provide parents and/or loved ones of a student an option to sign up to send a care package to the student, which will contain a small menorah that students can light in their respective apartments. 

All these festivities will be kicked off by the lighting of a nine-foot menorah at 6 p.m. on Sunday in the Honors Collegium in Baker Center where Raichik said 200 people are expected to attend. Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Gigi Secuban and Vice President of Student Affairs Jason Pina will also attend the event and light a candle.

“We are planning on leaving the menorah at Baker for the entire Hanukkah,” Raichik said. “Students could walk by and see the menorah and get acquainted to Jewish culture and religion.”

Another campus Jewish organization, Hillel at OU, has also organized two dinners –– one for students at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5, and another for other Athens residents at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 9. 

“You don’t have to be Jewish to come,” said Lilli Sher, who is the student president and engagement intern at Hillel. “But it is a center for Jewish students and the community. We are open to anyone who wants to join us.”

The food served during the dinner will include the traditional Hanukkah food, such as the potato latkes with applesauce and sour cream as toppings, sufganiyot and others, similar to the food that will be served at Chabad.

“I love potato latkes,” said Landon Crawford, who is a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, which is the only international Jewish fraternity at Ohio University, and an intern at Hillel. “They’re so much fun to make and are delicious. It’s nice. Everyone calls it a potato pancake, pretty much.”

Crawford, who is a sophomore studying games and animation design, is excited to celebrate Hanukkah with his brothers at OU. Crawford is going to attend events at both Hillel and Chabad.

“They’re are people that definitely do (both Chabad and Hillel),” said Sher, who is a junior studying journalism. “People tend to go to one or the another place just because of habit and scheduling, but everyone is always welcome at either organization.”

Raichik also wants people to attend the events at both Chabad and Hillel. He wants students to bring their Jewish friends and non-Jewish friends, too.

“If you’re Jewish, you should bring a friend and come,” Raichik said. “If you are not Jewish you should also come because we have plenty of food and plenty of room for everybody.”


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