Mega Chanukah Festivities on Campus at Rutgers

The popular postman’s motto, “neither snow, nor rain, nor darkness of night keeps these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” might as well have been written about our valiant students here at Rutgers University, who all showed up to participate in this year’s Chanukah observances and festivities despite the holiday’s taking place in the midst of final exams.

Students from all 5 campuses, and from all walks of life, took precious time out of their exam studies and participated in all of Chabad’s exciting 8 days and nights of Chanukah get-togethers on campus. From a spirited public Menorah lighting of a gigantic Menorah on the front steps of Brower Commons on College Ave., with music, hot potato latkes, doughnuts, hot cocoa, and very short speeches amidst below-freezing temperatures, to an exciting Menorah Car Parade driven by students and alumni through College Ave, Busch and Livingston campuses and the surrounding communities of Highland Park, Edison, and Piscataway, to a mega, campus-wide JCafe Chanukah Party right in Chabad House, headed up by JCafe Director Sabrina Tavel and Chanukah Festival Directors Abby Newman and Ma’ayan Zimand, with dreidel games, doughnut making, latkes frying, and individual menorah lightings, over 1,000 students participated. Nearly 1,500 menorahs were distributed campus-wide, and many students held private mini Chanukah Hakhel gatherings with friends in their off-campus houses.

According to the Car Menorah Parade originator, and Chabad House Educational Director, Rabbi Shaya Shagalow, “the parade is a perfect way for our university’s Jewish community to show our Jewish pride and to remind everyone of this very happy festival of lights. Who doesn’t like a parade?!”

In the weeks leading up to Chanukah, students packed Menorah kits for campus distribution and delivery to Rutgers US Troops serving nationwide and overseas via their APO addresses, so that they too can participate in publicizing the miracles of Chanukah, wherever they may be stationed.

According to Rabbi Baruch Goodman, Chabad’s Campus Director, “While the Maccabees had to fight external opposing forces bayamim heheim – back in the day, our students, today’s Maccabees fought courageously b’zman hazeh – today, to find time amidst their studies to celebrate the miracles and bring tons of light to their fellow Jews on campus, bringing so many of their friends and classmates to Chabad to celebrate, enjoy and pick up their very own menorahs for them to light as well. I would like to thank all our student leaders and organizers, especially those who accompanied me on many of the nights of Chanukah to visit fellow students in fraternities and sororities, and off-campus houses, sharing the lights of Chanukah and giving them the opportunity to light their own menorahs. We are most proud of all our students for pushing away the darkness of this exile, with deeds of lovingkindness, unity, simcha, and lots of mitzvahs, paving the way for Moshiach to come that much quicker!”

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