Menorah Lighting Ceremony Begins Chanukah Celebration in Bloomington, Indiana Thursday

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 7: Bloomington community members gather for a Menorah lighting ceremony at Indiana University’s Sample Gates on December 7, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The lighting marked the beginning of the Jewish festival Hanukkah, which began the evening of December 7, and goes through December 15. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 7: IU President Pamela Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav assist with the Menorah lighting ceremony at Indiana University’s Sample Gates on December 7, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The lighting marked the beginning of the Jewish festival Hanukkah, which began the evening of December 7, and goes through December 15. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Staff report

Bloomington, Indiana – December 8, 2023

Over 100 people gathered at the Sample Gates Thursday evening to participate in the ceremonial lighting of a grand 12-foot menorah, marking the commencement of Chanukah (Hanukkah) celebrations at Indiana University. The event drew together a diverse crowd of students, faculty, families, community members, and prominent university figures, including IU President Pamela Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav.

Partially organized by Lucas Reiner, a Kelley School of Business student, the menorah lighting event on December 7th at 6:00 P.M. sought to unite the greater Bloomington community in observance of the first night of Chanukah. Amid rising concerns of antisemitism, Reiner emphasized the symbolism behind the menorah’s radiance, stating, “a little light expels a lot of darkness.”

“The menorah’s light embodies a universal message, resonating with the triumph of freedom over oppression, light over darkness, and the pursuit of liberty and independence,” reiterated Reiner, underscoring the enduring significance of the occasion.

The ceremony was punctuated by speeches from various participants before President Whitten, along with Provost Shrivastav, took center stage as they were called upon to assist in the lighting of the menorah.

Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century BC. It is observed for eight nights and days, symbolized by the lighting of the menorah, a candelabrum with nine branches.

The 2023 lighting took place with the ongoing Israel-Hamas war taking place after over 1200 were killed in Israel during a massacre committed by Hamas on October 7, 2023. Israel has since begun a military operation into Gaza.

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 7: Bloomington community members gather for a Menorah lighting ceremony at Indiana University’s Sample Gates on December 7, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The lighting marked the beginning of the Jewish festival Hanukkah, which began the evening of December 7, and goes through December 15. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 7: Bloomington community members gather for a Menorah lighting ceremony at Indiana University’s Sample Gates on December 7, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The lighting marked the beginning of the Jewish festival Hanukkah, which began the evening of December 7, and goes through December 15. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 7: IU President Pamela Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav assist with the Menorah lighting ceremony at Indiana University’s Sample Gates on December 7, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The lighting marked the beginning of the Jewish festival Hanukkah, which began the evening of December 7, and goes through December 15. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 7: Bloomington community members gather for a Menorah lighting ceremony at Indiana University’s Sample Gates on December 7, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The lighting marked the beginning of the Jewish festival Hanukkah, which began the evening of December 7, and goes through December 15. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 7: Bloomington community members gather for a Menorah lighting ceremony at Indiana University’s Sample Gates on December 7, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The lighting marked the beginning of the Jewish festival Hanukkah, which began the evening of December 7 and goes through December 15. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 7: Bloomington community members gather for a Menorah lighting ceremony at Indiana University’s Sample Gates on December 7, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The lighting marked the beginning of the Jewish festival Hanukkah, which began the evening of December 7, and goes through December 15. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 7: IU President Pamela Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav assist with the Menorah lighting ceremony at Indiana University’s Sample Gates on December 7, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The lighting marked the beginning of the Jewish festival Hanukkah, which began the evening of December 7, and goes through December 15. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 7: Bloomington community members gather for a Menorah lighting ceremony at Indiana University’s Sample Gates on December 7, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The lighting marked the beginning of the Jewish festival Hanukkah, which began the evening of December 7, and goes through December 15. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

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