Last night, for the seventh day of Chanukah, Chabad Jewish organization partnered with CSU to light a menorah in the LSC.
Jody Donovan, the Dean of Students, and H. J. Siegel, an electrical and computer engineering professor, represented CSU as Jewish members of faculty.
Although the students and community members in attendance were primarily Jewish, several passersby stopped to watch the lighting and some non-Jewish students came for the experience.
“My grandma really likes Jewish tradition, so I was raised with it a little bit. I’m not Jewish, I’m Christian, but in Christianity Jesus is a Jew, so I respect that part of Jesus,” said Michelle Holder, sophomore international studies major. “(This event) is awesome… it’s bringing a bit of home to school.”
Members of Chabad and the CSU faculty representatives spoke about the importance of the message of Chanukah, and then audience members were selected to light each candle of the menorah. The event finished with a sing-along of traditional Chanukah songs like “Dreidel, Dreidel,” with lyrics available for those who didn’t have the songs memorized.
Rabbi Yerachmeil Gorelik, who heads the Chabad student organization, emphasized that the message of Chanukah is the ability of a small act, or in the case of the story of Chanukah, a small object, to to have an unexpectedly great effect.
“Whether on a community level or an individual level, sometimes we encounter some darkness in our lives… and we feel it may overwhelm us, there is so much darkness and negativity. But we remember the message and the miracle of Chanukah and the lights — that a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness,” Gorelik said. “One good act of kindness or goodness can light up your whole world and the world around you, and that’s the message.”
Michael Lichtbach, student president of Chabad and senior engineering major, also found symbolic meaning in the lighting of the menorah and urged students to extend kindness to each other.
“We all have these little flames, and we’re trying to go through life and sometimes the wind comes and blows them out, and you have to go back to your friends and you can get re-lit up again,” Lichtbach said. “The point is that if you see someone who their flame might be out, go ahead and help them rekindle it, whatever that means or however you need to do that.”
Gorelik said he enjoys celebrating Chanukah on CSU’s campus because the message of Chanukah is something to which all people can relate, regardless of religious affiliation.
“Chanukah is something that is celebrated specifically in a public arena because it’s a universal message of the lights that applies and resonates with everybody, of all backgrounds, and that’s what we try to bring out,” Gorelik said. “We so much appreciate the university supporting us, which they have tremendously with whatever we’ve needed.”
Collegian Reporter Ellie Mulder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.