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    Cal Lutheran hosts Hanukkah celebration: Hillel students organizing service activity, ceremony

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    Organized by students in the university’s Hillel club, the event will be held in Lundring Events Center on the Thousand Oaks campus.

    The ceremony will feature the lighting of the candles on the menorah. The community can also join faculty, staff and students in enjoying traditional food and activities.

    For the first time this year, participants are invited to bring a toy and assemble holiday packages during the event for children served by Many Mansions. Hillel members are volunteering for the nonprofit throughout the year.

    This year Hanukkah takes place from sundown on Dec. 24 through Jan. 1. Every year, Jewish people around the world celebrate Hanukkah to commemorate the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees defeated the army of the Greek ruler Antiochus Epiphanies and won their religious freedom.

    Hanukkah is referred to as the Festival of Lights because, according to tradition, a rekindled menorah burned for eight days although it only held enough oil to burn a single day. The holiday is a reminder to rekindle our spiritual lights and shine for the world.

    Although Cal Lutheran has long hosted Hanukkah celebrations, the Hillel club in recent years has organized more events for the campus and the nearby community. In 2012, Rabbi Belle Michael took over as the adviser for Hillel and became the first Jewish member of the university’s Campus Ministry staff. The Oak Park resident also began helping to lead chapel services.

    The number of Jewish students at Cal Lutheran is growing and currently stands at about 150. Hillel, led by president Briana Shneyder of Encino, provides a community for the Jewish students and opportunities to explore their identity with one another and community members. Celebrations draw students from many faiths and perspectives, and club members participate in the campus’s interfaith activities as well as social justice events. The club recently put together an advisory board made up of community leaders, parents, alumni, faculty and staff.

    Lundring Events Center is located in the Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center, which is on the north side of Olsen Road between Campus Drive and Mountclef Boulevard.

    Cal Lutheran’s Office of Campus Ministry is sponsoring the free event. For more information, contact Shneyder at [email protected] or Michael at [email protected].

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