Chabad Center to hold Hanukkah event at Union

By Kiran Sood

As Hanukkah falls during winter break this year, the Chabad Center of Champaign-Urbana is holding a Hanukkah event Thursday from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. in the Illini Union Recreational Room.

“The Hanukkah Bowl,” is an evening of bowling, billiards, food and fun, all in the Hanukkah spirit, according to the Chabad Web site. This is the only and first Hanukkah event ever sponsored by the Union Recreational Room.

Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel, the director of the Champaign Chabad Center, said this year marks the second year the event has been held. The whole room will be transformed into the Hanukkah spirit, he said. At the entrance to the Union, there will be a large menorah for all to enjoy.

“The purpose of this event is to celebrate the joy, fun and spirit of the festive event in a central location,” Tiechtel said. “There will be cosmic bowling, pool games, free latkes (potato pancakes) and dreidel games.”

He said there would be free admission to all students and the games would be at discounted prices.

The event is not only for Jewish participants, it has a message that students of all different backgrounds can relate to, Tiechtel said.

“Hanukkah has a message that everyone can relate to, ideas of religious freedom and tolerance,” he said. “By holding the event in a central location, we hope to attract many different people to come and celebrate together.”

Tiechtel said the significance of Hanukkah lies in the eight flames of the menorah. Each night, an additional flame is lit to symbolize the oil, which burned for eight days instead of one.

“The message behind the menorah is that people should not just be satisfied with one light,” Tiechtel said. “Each additional light symbolizes the idea that people should constantly be thankful and helpful to all others.”

Deborah Karbin, sophomore in ACES, attended the event last year and plans on helping again this year. She will be helping to run the dreidel table and will explain to people exactly what the game means. She said with Christmas around the corner, many people also begin celebrating another important event – Hanukkah. She said it is unfortunate other Jewish holidays throughout the year don’t receive as much attention as Hanukkah does.

“This is a great outlet for the many Jewish people on campus who want to take part in these types of events but don’t know where to go to find them,” Karbin said. “Especially around the holiday season, Hanukkah really brings people together.”