The Abbe Center for Jewish Life will host a series of events and activities to celebrate Hanukkah, which runs from Sunday, Dec. 6 through Monday, Dec. 14. From latkes and jelly donuts to dreidel competitions and a brisket dinner, each night will include a candle lighting followed by a special event to observe the holiday.
“Our nightly programs provide students with a ‘home away from home’ where they can taste the familiar foods of the holiday, share family traditions, and build memories together as an HWS Jewish community,” says Julianne Miller, director of the Abbe Center and Hillel adviser. “We hope that the events also provide students with a break from studying during finals week – and the inspiration they need to get back to their work.”
Students will have numerous opportunities to indulge in traditional Hanukkah foods, beginning with the Annual Fried Food Fest which kicks-off the celebrations on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. Students can enjoy everything from latkes to fried mac and cheese bites, and fried veggie egg rolls. Friday’s Shabbat Dinner on Dec. 11 will also feature sufganiyot – deep-fried jelly donuts traditionally eaten during Hanukkah – for dessert. Rounding out the holiday, Hillel will join Temple Beth-El for the Annual Hanukkah Celebration and Brisket Dinner on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 4:30 p.m. at Temple Beth El.
Throughout the holiday, students will have opportunities to make their own treats. On Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., students can gather for edible dreidel making using marshmallows, pretzel sticks and Hershey Kisses; on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., students can try their hand at latke making in Abbe Center’s Tina Wasserman Kosher Kitchen; and on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. the Abbe Center will host a cookie decorating event.
“Hillel is a group on campus that you can be a part of even if you aren’t Jewish,” says Hillel Board Member Sammi Hurwitz ’16. “The group as a whole and our adviser Julianne are so welcoming and encourage all students to participate in the events.”
In addition, game nights are on the agenda for this year’s celebrations. On Monday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., the Abbe Center will host a Jewish version of the game Apples to Apples, and on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m., students can paint their own dreidels and then compete in a tournament.
For the spring semester, Hillel will offer an exciting new lineup in addition to classic programs like Shabbat 250, monthly bagel brunches and Passover celebrations. From an environmental Shabbat dinner with Eco Reps, to tree planting, the Jewish Cooking 101 series, a kosher deli night, and an interfaith series, Hillel will offer students many new ways to connect with the Jewish faith and identity.
“With such a large number of clubs and organizations at HWS, collaboration allows for many new perspectives and ideas, which is what we are constantly striving for with our events,” says Hillel President Jessica Lohre ’16. “While Hillel aims to educate others about Jewish holidays and traditions, we recognize that many people on this campus are passionate in their ideas and opinions regarding current global conflicts. We are hoping to have more dialogue surrounding these current issues and events and to provide an outlet for such ideas and continue to foster a safe space for conversation of all different perspectives.”