by Blair Donner
Each year, Chabad at Rutgers hosts a few unique and beloved on-campus traditions in celebration of Chanukah. Beyond the parties, the prayers, and menorah displays, two of these include a public menorah lighting at the College Avenue campus and a Chanukah parade that spans all five campuses. This year on December 9, 2015 over one hundred spectators assembled to join in prayer and the festive spirit of Chanukah. Afterwards, the annual Chanukah parade is held, one of the most cherished and anticipated events of the year. “It’s always something I look forward to each year,” one student David Solomon commented, “Especially the parade – that’s the most fun!”
The public menorah lighting event always kicks off the evening and takes place in front of Brower Commons. This year, a banner proudly waved and Jewish student representatives enthusiastically stood welcoming Jewish students and bystanders to come join the tradition. Holding this event in public is important for two main reasons. First, it provides students already active in Jewish life a festive event to attend on campus, and a chance to openly show their affinity for their historical roots. Second, it also provides those who are a part of the Rutgers community and also lost touch with their roots in Judaism a chance to reconnect with both Chanukah and their Jewish heritage.
After the public lighting, the awaited parade finally arrived. Both students and Rabbis of Chabad together had decorated their cars in advanced. On the top of each vehicle, a menorah was proudly displayed along with signs wishing observers a happy Chanukah. As the cars navigated through the five campuses, all could agree that it was fun to continue the tradition. Moreover, two police cars followed in the front and the back of the procession in order to maintain the safety of the parade participants. The Jewish community at Rutgers is grateful for their dutiful work.
Meanwhile, while these cars continued their procession, a remainder of Jewish students continued their festive spirit within the Chabad building. In the newly built synagogue, students filtered in and out saying their prayers and already reminiscing about the night’s event. In addition to public lighting and parade, the Chabad at Rutgers board holds a slew of events to sustain the Chanukah spirit on campus. As a result, even students who were unable to attend these two events have plenty of opportunities to connect with their Jewish roots. For those who wish to keep up to date with events similar to this please contact Chabad House at Rutgers, and visit us on the web at www.chabadrutgers.com, www.chabadnj.org, or call 732-296-1800.