Rabbi Jeremy Simons, Dr. Stan Eisen, and President John Smarrelli at CBU's first menorah lighting.
MEMPHIS — Christian Brothers University (CBU) hosted its first-ever menorah lighting on campus, observing the first day of Hanukkah on December 2, 2018.
The event was a cooperative effort among Dr. Stan Eisen (Biology Professor, Director of Pre-Professional Health Programs), Hillel of Memphis' Rabbi Jeremy Simons, and Russell Gourley of the CBU Physical Plant. Refreshments following the lighting were provided by CBU Residence Life.
"Hanukkah always falls on the 25th day of Kislev, and the 25th day of Kislev and the entire week of Hanukkah corresponds to the last full week of classes. This led to an idea of building a Hanukkah menorah and to observe Hanukkah on campus," Dr. Eisen said while introducing the event. "This was a community effort in building the menorah and we invite all of you to partake."
Rabbi Jeremy Simons leads Hillel of Memphis. Based at the Morris S. Fogelman Jewish Student Center, the student organization serves students on seven college campuses in Memphis, including CBU. Rabbi Simons shared some of the history of Hanukkah and led all those attending in reciting a blessing and singing a traditional song before the menorah was lit. Following the ceremony, attendees enjoyed refreshments and got the opportunity to play dreidel, a traditional Hanukkah game played in Jewish homes around the globe.
"I was deeply moved to see so many people, especially non-Jews, who came to celebrate the start of our holiday," Simons shared. "It was a reminder that our different faiths don't have to divide us. As Jews we don't seek to make the world Jewish, but rather to practice our Judaism in the world."
The menorah was dedicated in memory of Rabbi Yosi Eisen, the son of Dr. Eisen and his wife Ellen. Rabbi Eisen, who died this summer, spent six years as the OU-JLIC Rabbi at University of Massachusetts-Amherst where he worked to create a home away from home for Amherst students.
Additional assistance in the installation process was provided by CBU students Sara Laney, Matthew Etts, Michael Mendez, and Lance Silvis.
For more information on the CBU menorah, contact Dr. Eisen at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about Hillel of Memphis and its work with students at area colleges and universities, email email@example.com or phone (901) 452-2453.