Hanukkah Night celebrates Jewish holiday

The Knight Spot reverberated with the sounds of spinning dreidels and clinking gelt on Friday Dec. 2. Geneseo’s Hillel partnered with Geneseo Late Knight to present Hanukkah Night, an event in celebration of the traditional Jewish holiday. Bags of gelt, the gold coin-shaped candy most commonly used in the traditional Hanukkah game of dreidel and a single dreidel—a spinning top printed with four Hebrew letters—sat at each table for attendees to take home at the end of the night.

Food was also provided at the event. Attendees could make their own edible menorahs—a candelabrum with nine candles—out of marshmallows, icing and pretzel sticks.

The main attraction, however, was the dreidel game. The game itself was simple, bringing relief to the stressed minds of the student populace. For the game, each player put a piece of their gelt in the center of the table, then a player would spin the dreidel. Each letter printed on the dreidel represented a different action that the player must take when the top falls on it.

The Gimel symbol allows the player to take everything in the center of the table; each player, however, must offer another piece of candy to fill the center again. Nun symbolizes the next player’s turn with no consequences, while Hay allows the player to take half of the candy in the center. Lastly, Shin forces the player to offer up a piece of their candy to the center stash.

Students participating in the game followed the traditional rules, but quickly began to add their own twists, as well. For example, one table forced its participants to eat an increasing amount of marshmallows with the more Shins they got.

Another began sacrificing credit cards, room keys, earrings, licenses and even bags of tea to the center table, as its members dug deeper and deeper into their pockets to add something that would amuse their friends.

Psychology major freshman Madeline Reichler best summed up this table’s sentiments right after throwing her wallet in the center of the table. She buried her face in her hands and said, “I hate all of you.”

Said in good fun, however, a smile soon returned to her face when a Gimel gave her the entire table’s winnings, including one participant’s glasses. Fortunately, everything was returned to their rightful owners by the end of the night.

Even in its lighter moments, the positive reception of the event sparked hope in GLK coordinator and international relations major junior Uma Natarajan.

“It’s amazing how the Geneseo community can come together in solidarity after the bias-related incidents,” she said.

Dylan Fichera, another GLK coordinator and childhood education major sophomore, shared the same opinion as his colleague.

“We’re lucky to have these kinds of events, even with what’s going on in the world,” he said.

Casual as it was, Hillel and GLK provided a comforting environment to reflect on the importance of Hanukkah, as it was celebrated through fun with friends.