After an uncertain start to the new school year, where the global shock brought about by Covid-19 shut down universities across the country last year, bringing with it the decimation of countless student groups on college campuses, Chabad House at Rutgers is happy to announce that its student involvement and successful college student programming is back even stronger than before.
Last week, Chabad House Rabbis, staff, and student leaders ran a most successful ChanukaGLOW Extravaganza in the Grand Ballroom of its 95,000 sq.ft. facility attracting over 400 students. With an impressive hot buffet catered by Chabad’s own Head Chef Paul Reese, students enjoyed giant inflatable amusement games and interactive sports competitions, make your own sufganiyot – doughnuts, potato latkes, snow cones, and cotton candy. Then, student leaders spoke to the massive crowd about the modern-day significance of the miracles of Chanukah and invited all to gather around the Menorah for community lighting. With the brachot blessings led by Chabad student leader Daniel Gohar, a Rutgers sophomore, everyone joined in singing the blessings and the Ma’oz Tzur melody traditionally sung after the lighting. “The warmth and enthusiasm in the room were visible on everyone’s faces gathered around that Menorah,” said Mattea Boyarsky, a Rutgers senior and student Director of Chabad’s weekly Tuesday Night JCafe Bistro.
“The height of the night was definitely the Dreidel Spin Tournament where students competed with each other for the longest spin. Eight winners were awarded Amazon gift cards corresponding to the Chanukah miracle of the oil lasting for eight days, in addition to various raffle prizes,” added Rebecca Roberman, a Rutgers Sophomore and Chabad’s Primary Officer. “We thank the wonderful Gohar family for sponsoring all the prizes.”
Student leaders including the immediate past student President of Chabad Zach Peller, Rebecca Roberman, Mattea Boyarsky, and Ariel Gohar, highlighted key messages from a landmark Chanukah letter written to the entire Jewish people by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. These students spoke of how a Jew is here in this world to take the physical and use it out for holy purposes, fulfilling G-d’s wishes, thereby making those physical things and actions holy. And, as Rebbeca Roberman said, “the light we create from doing something that G-d wants, though invisible to our physical eyes, illuminates the person performing that mitzvah, as well as his or her family, the entire Jewish people, and the surrounding material world, all just from that little mitzvah or good deed!” Zach Peller, Chabad’s President Emeritus during Covid last year, mentioned how “everyone’s presence here tonight bears witness to both the miracles that G-d performed for our ancestors so many years ago, at this time of year and of today’s miracle of coming back together and jumpstarting Jewish life at Rutgers once again!”
Rabbi Baruch Goodman, Chabad’s Student Activities Director, spoke of how “you are all the Maccabees of today, and we hope that the intense light that we are creating in Heaven from all the love, togetherness, and unity we’re experiencing tonight at this ChanukaGLOW should immediately push away the darkness of exile and point a spotlight on Moshiach and herald in the Torah-promised era of Redemption for us and all man and womankind!”