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A 9 foot tall menorah sits on the 3rd floor in Baker Center. (Photo by Kaitlin Kulich)

Hanukkah Festivities Underway in Athens

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Homemade donuts are traditional Hanukkah sweets. (Photo by Kaitlin Kulich)

Community members and Ohio University students celebrated the first day of Hanukkah on December 2 by lighting the shammash on a 9-foot tall menorah outside of Baker Center.

According to Jackie Levine, president of Chbad, a Jewish student center at Ohio University, the shammash is in the center of the menorah and is used to light the other candles.

Levine said the lighting of the menorah commemorates the time when a small Jewish army defeated the Syrian Greeks and reclaimed the Temple of Maccabees. Every year, eight candles are lit to symbolize the eight days the first candles remained lit despite only having enough oil to last one day.

Levine says she enjoys celebrating Hanukkah on campus because it allows more people to celebrate together and learn about the Jewish religion.

“Having Hanukkah on campus allows other Jews we don’t know about to come together. It’s really important to bring everyone together no matter where it is for our celebrations.”

Latkes were a hit on the first day of Hanukkah.

After the lighting of the Menorah, people gathered in Baker for doughnuts and traditional Hanukkah latkes, which are like potato pancakes. Foods fried in oil are typically eaten during Hanukkah to celebrate the oil that keeps the menorah lit all eight days.  Levine says more greasy, as well as non-greasy, food will be provided at Chabad along with the lighting of the menorah every day for Hanukkah from 6 to 8 p.m. until December 10. Levine said all people, not just people who are Jewish, are welcome to join.

“We’re always open to questions because a lot of people don’t know about Judaism. We allow anyone because people are curious about different religions in college.”