Students from the Jewish community gather outside the student center to light the menorah in celebration of Hanukkah. - File photo / Alex Heller

Hope, peace and love.

Those were the points that Rabbi Hersh Loschak focused on as all three Jewish clubs at Rowan University braved a bitter cold night to celebrate the eight day festival of lights, Hanukkah.

The festival commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the second century BCE.

According to Rabbinic tradition, the victorious Maccabees could only find a small jug of oil that had remained uncontaminated by virtue of a seal, and although it only contained enough oil to sustain the Menorah for one day, it miraculously lasted for eight days, by which time further oil could be procured.

As the group gathered outside the Student Center, Loschak gave the blessing as President Ali Houshmand lit the middle candle of the University’s Menorah.

“Hanukkah is the story of love and hope,” Loschak said. “It’s the story of how hope will always triumph in the darkness.”

The Student Center was filled with treats, fun games and cheerful celebrations. Although Christmas often overshadows Hanukkah, many, including junior pre-med bio chemistry major Aaron Korbman, feel that Hanukkah has a lot to offer tradition-wise.

“It all depends on perspective,” he said. “Each one has its special quirks and shortcomings, but what makes it really special is getting the chance to celebrate it with friends and family.”

As he began to celebrate with friends, Korbman wanted one main thing for the holida.

“The one thing I want this Hanukkahi is a passing GPA,” Korbman said.

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