Chabad of Northern Colorado and Colorado State University host annual Menorah Lighting

Rick Cookson

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Photos by McKenzie Coyle

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Dreidels to spin, gelt to win and a whole lot of Hanukkah cheer filled the LSC Plaza on Thursday night at Colorado State University’s annual Menorah Lighting celebration.

For the seventh year in a row, Northern Colorado’s Chabad Jewish organization partnered up with CSU to bring the celebration of Hanukkah to the University’s campus. Attendants enjoyed traditional Hanukkah foods such as donuts, bagels and chocolate gelt, along with traditional Hanukkah music — including songs by Adam Sandler — and some meaningful words related by Chabad’s central figure, Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik.

There is a very powerful message behind the celebration of Hanukkah that can resonate with everyone no matter what their background may be — we can all shine a little light in a world of darkness,” Gorelik said.

Starting on the 25th day of the Jewish month, Kislev, and ending on the 3rd day of the Jewish month, Tivet, Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of when a days worth of oil — meant to light the Temple menorah — miraculously burned for eight days during the Maccabean Revolt. The message imparted is that a little bit of light can expel a whole lot of darkness and the Menorah Lighting on campus aimed to spread that very message.

“It’s so great to see the community coming together and recognizing the significance behind lighting the menorah as well as the meaning of Hanukkah with different people from around campus and Fort Collins,” said Chabad at CSU‘s president, Danielle Geller.

For some students, the Menorah Lighting was a nice break from their studies. For some it was happy ending to a long semester, but for undeclared sophomore, Harrison Meyers, it was a chance to embrace his Jewish heritage at a time when he’s so far from home.

CSU President Tony Frank reaches up to light the center candle, the shamash, on the 6-foot tall menorah during Thursday night's Menorah Lighting ceremony. (Photo credit: McKenzie Coyle)
CSU President Tony Frank reaches up to light the center candle, the shamash, on the 6-foot tall menorah during Thursday night’s Menorah Lighting ceremony. (Photo credit: McKenzie Coyle)

“I’m from the East Coast, and by coming out to Colorado, which has a very small Jewish community, I felt at a loss not being around my family,” Meyers said. “Events like this allow me to get involved with the Jewish community here at CSU. It’s a small community, but it’s definitely here.”

After spinning the dreidel a few times and warming up with some hot tea, Meyers and everyone else in attendance listened to Gorelik and engineering professor, H. J. Siegel, say a few words about the holiday before the mic was handed off to University President Tony Frank.

“We live in a pluralistic society and one of the things we celebrate here at CSU is that we all give each other space to breath and let people worship as they see fit,” Frank said. “I think we do a pretty good job of that here and I like being a part of that.”

After singing a few popular Hanukkah songs, things came to a close and the crowd slowly dispersed. Whether they were off to the library to finish studying or headed back home for the holidays, students and members of the community left with the spirit of Hanukkah fresh in their minds.

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Chabad of Northern Colorado will be hosting three more Menorah Lighting celebrations including one in Old Town on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.

Collegian Photo Editor Rick Cookson can be reached at rcookson@collegian.com or on Twitter @RickCookson1