Chanukah celebration to bring awareness of religion


TCU Hillel Jewish Student Foundation President Viola Clark poses with a friend at a booth to remember and honor those lost in the Pittsburgh massacre. Photo courtesy of Viola Clark.

By Brody Haverstick

The TCU Hillel Jewish Student Foundation is hosting events throughout Chanukah to share and celebrate their faith with the community while fighting anti-Semitism.

First-year student Viola Clark restarted the foundation to continue honoring her family’s background and to stay true to her faith.

“I went to the Office of Religion and Spiritual Life, and they had a list of students who had identified themselves as Jewish,” said Clark. “So, I contacted those on the list and we had a dinner and discussed whether or not we wanted a Hillel.”

Since then, the foundation made a mission statement and began meeting together to actively embrace their faith.

The TCU Hillel Jewish Student Foundation meeting and enjoying a meal after reviving the foundation this school year. Photo courtesy of Viola Clark

Clark said Assistant Professor of Dance Adam McKinney, who is also Jewish, helped create a way to connect with more students.

“We need to build relationships with people across the idea of difference,” said McKinney.

He said everyone is welcome to attend the events and hopes people realize Judaism and Christianity are more alike than they are different and that we all must interact peacefully with one other.

The events are targeted to raise awareness in an effort to get students to be open about becoming Jewish allies and stand up against anti-Semitism.

“You just don’t know when something could happen,” said Clark. “Just the other day a Jewish professor at Columbia University was targeted and had swastikas drawn on her walls in her office. It can be scary knowing that you could be targeted at any time over your religion.”

Scott Langston, a religion professor, said he hopes students never think religious oppression is okay.

“We have a mission here at TCU to make sure that when they leave here, they don’t leave ignorant people,” said Langston. “We want them to leave accepting and knowledgeable to all people.”

He said in order for this to happen, students need to be educated in other religions so they will not believe stereotypes or misconceptions of people of other religions.

The Menorah Project is a way to demonstrate solidarity with Jews. Students can print out an image of the menorah, an eight-branched sacred candelabrum, and tape it to their  windows or doors.

Students can also take part in the third annual Chanukah party 4:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in Erma Lowe Hall. People from all religions are welcome to attend. The School for Classical and Contemporary Dance is hosting the party.

The hosts said they hope there’s a good student turnout and that the celebration will be a national example that religious oppression isn’t welcome and the TCU community supports all religions.