Going Green for Chanukah
A student lights a menorah made of reclycled materials at the Green Menorah contest hosted by Hillels Around Chicago.
What would you do if you had a shoe, empty beer bottles, pages of a newspaper, paper towel rolls and soda bottle tops? Make a trip to the trash? How about making a chanukiah, or menorah?
Hillels Around Chicago (HAC) challenged its students to design and build menorahs using only recycled materials.
“Chanukah celebrates the ancient story of a people who were victorious, despite adversity, due to the ‘miracle’ of a lasting energy source,” said Michelle Maer, executive director of HAC. “This theme has never been more relevant, and I can’t think of a better time to be mindful of the environment than the holiday season.”
HAC received a total of 17 entries which exceeded the number of entries they were expecting.
"We only started promoting the program one month ago," said HAC Program Director Galit Greenfield, "We thought 10 entries would be nice so to get 17 was very exciting."
First-, second-, and third- prize winners were chosen by a panel of judges at a HAC Chanukah party on evening of Tuesday Dec. 11.
Amanda Stowell, a sophomore at Columbia College, was awarded top prize with her menorah made out of recycled magazines water-bottle caps, and non-toxic glue.
"A surprisingly sturdy structure can be made from magazine paper," she said.
Rutgers Hillel also went green with their "Festival of Green Lights" program where they sold compact fluorescent light bulbs to the Rutgers University community.
While Cornell Hillel got creative with their menorah, bringing in a giant menorah made out of ice to use during community candle lightings. Student volunteers lit menorah on most nights of the holiday with Cornell President David Skorton the honor on the sixth night.
Fear the Turtle? No. Fear the Dreidel.
University of Maryland has reclaimed the world record of most people spinning a dreidel simultaneously for at least 10 seconds. On Wed. Dec. 5, 602 Maryland students and supports showed their dreidel spinning skills to break the previously held record of 541. University of Michigan Hillel sought to make UMD's glory short lived with their own attempt at breaking the record on the following day. Unfortunately, like Indiana University's attempt the previous week, Michigan’s fell short, drawing only 490 participants. UMD Hillel’s chart topping success was featured in Sports Illustrated.
Tzedek for the Holidays
The Jewish community at Washington University got into the holiday giving spirit with their “ChannuCASINO” charity night featuring several traditional casino games, including poker, black jack and roulette with proceeds from entry fees was donated to the Warm Neighbors program that assists those who cannot afford heating bills each winter.
The Jewish Student Organization at the University of Missouri, Columbia tied cards in with Chanukah by holding a poker tournament with all proceeds benefiting the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
Students at the University of Oklahoma also incorporated tzedakah into their Chanukah plans and turned latke eating into a fundraising opportunity. AEPi and JEWLS, a Jewish fraternity and a Jewish womens organization, hosted the second annual "Latkes for Love" last Thursday, raising money for the children’s branch of Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. For $5 each, attendees were treated to live music, prizes and of course latkes.
Hillel of Colorado co-sponsored the Rose Medical Center's Community Chanukah Celebration, the largest community Chanukah celebration in Denver. It featured carnival games, children’s arts and crafts, music and traditional Chanukah foods. Additionally, Rose Medical Center offered free glucose and blood pressure checks and provided free general health advice.
Several Hillels added fun new twists to traditional Chanukah parties.
The Hillel at Univesity of Texas San Antonio "jazzed up" their Chanukah celebration with their annual "Jazzing Up Chanukah" program. Along with traditional foods, holiday songs, door prizes and a performance by the UTSA Jazz Combo, Rabbi Yaacov Cohen of the Torah Learning Center in San Antonio presented "How To Celebrate Chanukah" a program focusing on historical information on Chanukah and the celebration's significance today.
Hillel at the University of Toronto will take Chanukah partying to the extreme with an eight hour-long party on Thursday Dec. 6. Activities will included Latke Iron Chef; Chanukah cookie baking; a dreidel spinning contest; poker and other card games; Chanukah card making for patients at a local hospital; and a viewing of a Chanukah-themed movie.
Other Hillels brought an interfaith touch to their Chanukah celebrations.
The University of Cincinnati, along with the university's African American Cultural hosted a Chanukah and Kwanzaa party last week, where students took part in Chanukah and Kwanzaa candle lighting traditions and other holiday activities.
Students at UC Davis learned how to cook latkes and participate in an Interfaith Progressive Dinner program to learn about different religions, traditions and cultures. Participants will enjoy a multi-course vegetarian meal, with each course being served at a different campus faith house. Hillel at Davis and Sacramento will be hosting the main course.
At Northeastern University, NU Hillel, the Catholic Center at NU and the Catholic Student Association will be putt on a Chrismukkah celebration in an effort to reach out to all students on the Northeastern University campus as well as provide learning opportunities for them. The university Catholic center hosted a gift exchange, menorah lighting, a dreidel game and Christmas and Chanukah based food.
Chanukah began at sunset on Tuesday Dec. 4 and concludes at sunset Wednesday Dec. 12.