EAST LANSING, Mich. — Hanukkah is in full swing, and students at Michigan State University can now light a menorah in certain residence halls.
Lit candles aren't allowed in dorm rooms, so to bring the full Hanukkah celebration to students, the Chabad at MSU partnered with MSU Residential and Hospitality Services create space for students to light a menorah.
“Give them the full experience. We are so happy that we’re able to provide that with the student housing." said Simi Shemtov who runs the Chabad at MSU with her husband. "That students could proudly light the menorah and, even though they’re not home, some of them actually do it at the dorms they FaceTime their moms while they do it.”
Hanukkah lasts for eight days and celebrates the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem.
“The tradition is that they found kind of enough oil for one day to light this menorah or seven branch candelabra that was at the temple in Jerusalem. And the oil lasted eight days so it was seen as a miracle,” said Yael Aronoff, the director of the Sterling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel at MSU.
From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. during Hanukkah, students can visit certain residence halls where there’s a table set up in the lobby for them to light the menorah. Students can also enjoy a sweet treat like jelly donuts, Hanukkah gelt and cookies and even get a free menorah from the Chabad.
Tamara Hyman, a junior and an active member of the Chabad at MSU, said she was eager to light her Hanukkah candles this year.
“My freshman year when I was living in a dorm room, we didn’t have anything like this set up. So, I wasn’t able to light candles because I didn’t want to get in trouble,” Hyman said.
Hyman hopes lighting the menorah in the residence halls continues.
“I think it’s so awesome that they were really able to get this to come through and I hope to light candles right here next year," she said.
Freshman Shoshi Ploetz said this is her first Hanukkah away from home and that it's nice that she’s able to still light the menorah.
“The first night I started feeling it. I was like really sad I’m like I’m not with my family and it’s the first night of Hanukkah. Just like growing up I would spend all eight nights with them,” Ploetz said.
Click here for the full list of residence halls at MSU offering the menorah lightings.