Ball State’s Hillel, a smaller part of the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, hosted its annual Hanukkah celebration on Monday.

Ball State Hillel has been around since 1961 and is open to all of the student body. It has weekly meetings which help members celebrate Jewish events and participate in volunteering and fundraising

Brooke Braun, the president of Ball State Hillel, said the Hanukkah celebration is a university event  which anyone can attend. Past celebrations have had up to a 60-person turnout.

Ball State’s Hillel, a smaller part of the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, hosted its annual Hanukkah celebration on Monday.

“It’s a chance to meet other people that may have just seen our flyers or want to learn about Hillel and haven’t expressed interest otherwise,” Braun said. 

Hanukkah is the Jewish celebration of the defeat of the Syrian armies and the rededication of the Holy Temple during the oppression of the Jewish people within Jerusalem during 168 B.C.E. 

The Syrians abolished Judaism, including their observances and practices, along with desecrating their Temple. The resistance born from this oppression were called the Maccabees, and, although outnumbered, managed to fend off the Syrian armies.

According to legend, when the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple, they found only a single jar of oil sufficient for one day which is used for the ner tamid, or eternal light, that is placed within the Temple. Miraculously, the oil managed to stay lit for eight days while more oil was being secured. 

This year, the holiday will be celebrated on Dec. 12  —  the 25th day of Kislev —  a month on the Hebrew calendar that lasts for eight days. Kislev will end the evening of Dec. 20.

“I know a lot of Jewish kids coming into college don’t really want to go into any religious affiliation. I know I didn’t,” said Ryan Gilman, vice president of Hillel and senior criminal justice criminology major. “But I joined regardless, and it’s just a great way to meet other people and to just expand yourself around campus.”

Gilman said even if someone is not Jewish, participating in Hillel can be a fun and educational experience.

“It’s nice to talk to other people who are having a similar experience,” said Cricket Kowal, a sophomore theatrical studies major who has participated in Hillel since the beginning of the year. “For me, Hanukkah is about family and spending time with the people I love.” 

In the spring, Hillel will host a similar university celebration for a different Jewish holiday called Purim, which starts this coming year on Feb. 28. 

Contact Andrew Harp with comments at adharp@bsu.edu or on Twitter at @retr0andrew.