The Jewish Chaplaincy, part of Georgetown’s Office of Campus Ministry, and the Jewish Student Association (JSA) lit three Hanukkah menorahs at Georgetown Dec. 1 to give thanks for miracles, religious freedom and each other on the first night of Hanukkah.
Interim Georgetown Rabbi Bruce Aft, other members of the Jewish chaplaincy and JSA members led the menorah lighting, which was attended by both Jewish and non-Jewish students, faculty and staff.
“It’s the festival of light, it’s winter and it’s getting dark, so it’s nice to be reminded of the strength and warmth of people coming together,” said Andrew Levine (C’ 11), co-president of the JSA.
Dedication to Faiths
Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt. Jewish tradition states that during the rededication there was only enough oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day – but the oil miraculously burned for eight.
The celebration at Georgetown started with a performance by Chutzpah, a Georgetown a cappella group, after which Aft entertained the community with stories behind the symbolism of Hanukkah.
Aft reminded the Jewish students that Hanukkah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew, is a celebration for freedom of religion and that the community should dedicate itself to celebrating all faiths.
He also gave the Jewish Chaplaincy a mezuzah to place on the doorframe of the Jewish Chaplaincy office in honor of Rabbi Harold White, who retired from Georgetown last year after 40 years of service.
“This celebration is indicative of what we try to do year-round as we bring together people of different faiths as one faith celebrates their tradition,” said Kevin O’Brien, S.J., executive director of campus ministry at the menorah lighting.
“Campus ministry and the community always come to celebrate with us,” said Lili Bayer (SFS’13). “I love when the whole community gets together to celebrate the holidays.”
Eitan Paul (SFS’12) said he was happy that members of other faiths come together to support the Jewish community.
“It’s nice to see the chaplains of the other faiths to come out to support one another, it creates a great atmosphere, community, and inter-religious respect,” he said.