Armstrong Hillel Holds Inaugural Chanukah Celebration
(Dec. 12, 2012) On December 9, 30 Armstrong students, faculty, and community members gathered in Compass Plaza to light a six-foot menorah at the university’s first Chanukah celebration.
Organized by Armstrong Hillel, a Jewish student organization on campus, the event featured Chanukah blessings, music, donuts, and coffee.
“We hope to make this event an annual tradition at Armstrong,” said Armstrong Hillel chapter co-founder Scott Sandler, a senior cellular and molecular biology major.
Graduate student Harry Portman, acting treasurer for Armstrong Hillel, discussed the deeper meaning of Chanukah, an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the Jewish triumph over the Syrian-Greek army and the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C.
“We owe it to ourselves to focus on our personal spirituality, renew our faith in our beliefs, and elevate ourselves and the world at large by setting an example of religious observance, becoming the lights that spread illumination in a world being consumed by darkness,” he told the crowd.
Armstrong professors Daniel Skidmore-Hess and Frank Katz, who serve as faculty advisors for the university’s Hillel chapter, also attended the candle lighting ceremony.
“Our intention is to reach the community and to have a lot of fun,” said Portman, who organized the Chanukah celebration with Caroline ShemTov, a senior speech-language pathology major. “This is a nice social event and an opportunity to educate people about what Chanukah means to us historically and what it can mean to us now.”