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CSU students celebrate Hanukkah during finals week

While busy studying for their final exams, some Colorado State students also spend their time celebrating Hanukkah. This year, the Jewish holiday falls from Tuesday to Dec. 25.

According to Zachary Josephs, vice president of Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi and sophomore English major, students should not expect the University to give students time off for Hanukkah.

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“Because it falls so close to Christmas, people think that Hanukkah is a really big deal,” Josephs said. “But really it’s been pretty commercialized. It’s more of a festive occasion.”

Amanda Ansell, a member of the Jewish organization Hillel and a senior English education major, said that she is accustomed to studying during Hanukkah. 

“Growing up in Colorado, I was pretty much one of the only Jewish students,” Ansell said. “There was always other stuff, like school or Christmas, going on.”

Josephs said it is unrealistic for students to have eight days off for the holiday.

“Finals will be over before Hanukkah is,” Josephs said. “We can’t really complain.”

Cultural coordinator for Hillel and undeclared freshman Hillary Lorsch said that there are opportunities in Fort Collins to follow traditional Hanukkah customs.

“This past Friday we had a Hanukkah Shabbat at Hillel,” Lorsch said. “All the food was vegan and gluten free, so we try to make it available for everybody. That was our way to celebrate before finals week.” 

Lorsch also said that Hillel and Chabad, another Jewish organization for students, will have candle lightings every night.

“Since freshmen can’t light candles in their dorms, there will be candle lightings pretty close to campus,” Lorsch said.

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Josephs said that the Jewish community at CSU makes staying in Fort Collins for the festivities easier.

“Although I won’t be with family in Philadelphia, I’ll be with my family here,” Josephs said. “It’s important to me to follow these traditions my ancestors have followed … It helps us realize that finals aren’t the end of the world, and we still have so much more than that.”

Collegian Diversity Beat Reporter Hannah Ditzenberger can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @h_ditzenberger.

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