Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Congrats to Talia on a great Hanukkah event at UPenn Hillel

It's been a big media week for the whole Kayne family - check out the end of the video at the bottom (follow the link)

Strobe lights, music, karaoke and chocolate fondue - sounds like a party!

Add Penn President Amy Gutmann and a student dressed as a cardboard dreidel and you have last night's Hanukkah candle lighting at Hillel.

Penn Hillel celebrated the first night of the Festival of Lights with a party for the University community. Hillel advertised the event by putting up flyers portraying Gutmann, who is Jewish, as a Maccabee warrior with the words, "Amy Gutmann…Would you light my menorah?"

The event attracted a solid crowd, filling up the lobby and dining hall at Steinhardt Hall. Hillel president and College senior Risa Chalfin, expected no less, even predicting that the function would attract students of all ethinicities.

The event "draws many non-Jews who come for the social atmosphere and to learn about our culture," she said.

For the occasion, Hillel decorated with strobe lights and blue and white Hanukkah decorations. Free food, dreidels, menorahs and candles were given to visitors, as well as informational pamphlets about the holiday. One enthusiastic reveler called the event, "the Hanukkah party of the century."

The Shabbatones, a Jewish a capella group, arrived to sing "Tirei Zeh Ani," which translates to "Look, Here I Am." Following their performance, Gutmann lit the menorah, commenting, "it is a miracle that we are here today celebrating a miracle that took place" so long ago.

This was followed by a performance by Penn Six, who sang a parody of "Video Killed the Radio Star," replacing the titular line with, "we hope you have a hap-py Hanukkah!"

Not to be forgotten among the celebration was the meaning of the holiday, which celebrates the victory of the Jewish Maccabees over an oppressive emperor.

Wharton freshman Elad Golan, dressed as a human dreidel, greeted students andnoted that the holiday symbolized "people fighting for democracy."

Some Jewish students came to the event to celebrate their religion with others. Wharton senior Uri Elgar, an exchange student from Israel, said, "it was fun, but the prayer was weird for me. The lyrics were the same, but I'm used to a different melody."

Gutmann regarded the event as a great success. "I think it's terrific that so many Penn students can find time to celebrate this holiday together," she said.

Dreidels, gelt and Gutmann - News

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