Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

December brings many different family traditions, religious aspects and the gathering of families and friends to celebrate with each other. Chanukah, which started on Dec. 2 and will last until Dec. 10, sees people come together to celebrate the lighting of the menorah. 

Chanukah, according to chabad.org, is “[The] Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.” 

While I am not Jewish, I have experienced different aspects of Jewish tradition. A few years ago, my dad converted to Judaism, marrying my step mom who is Orthodox Jewish. Every year, my sister and I have dinner with our dad’s family to celebrate one of the nights of Chanukah. 

During this time, we watch the lighting of the menorah.    

“At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting,” writes chabad.org. “The menorah holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash (“attendant”), which is used to kindle the other eight lights. On the first night, we light just one flame. On the second night, an additional flame is lit. By the eighth night of Chanukah, all eight lights are kindled.”

While many people get to go home and celebrate the holidays with their families over winter break, some are not as lucky. With finals and the end of the semester right around the corner, those who celebrate Chanukah may not be able to go home for the holiday. 

But Rowan University helps students feel at home every year during the holiday. The Rohr Family Jewish Student Center – Chabad of Rowan University helps Jewish affiliated students on campus celebrate the holidays as a family. 

Rowan Chabad posted on their Instagram on Friday the “Eight Crazy Nights” schedule consisting of events each day of the week to celebrate the holiday. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, the MEGA Festival Menorah Lighting and Fair took place in the Student Center. 

Rohr Family Jewish Student Center – Chabad of Rowan University’s schedule for the Chanukah Holiday. -Photo courtesy of rowanchabad’s instagram

The organization also helps students get the items they need to celebrate the event. Rowan Chabad gives out free menorahs and candles to students who need it. 

According to HISTORY.com, Chanukah is a celebration of lights with traditional foods, games and gifts given each night for eight nights. 

“Even though there was only enough untainted olive oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for a single day, the flames continued flickering for eight nights, leaving them time to find a fresh supply,” the site notes. “This wondrous event inspired the Jewish sages to proclaim a yearly eight-day festival.”

Although I am not Jewish, my father and his family are and I help celebrate the great traditions. Wishing happy holidays to all goes a long way. 

Happy Chanukah and happy holidays! 

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