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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern Hillel hosts annual Latkepalooza Hanukkah celebration

Jacob Wendler/The Daily Northwestern
Students dined on freshly cooked latkes and round jelly doughnuts, known as sufganiyot, at Hillel’s annual Latkepalooza celebration.

About 150 Northwestern students gathered Sunday evening at the Fiedler Hillel Center for Northwestern Hillel’s annual Hanukkah celebration, Latkepalooza.

The smell of freshly cooked latkes — potato pancakes traditionally prepared during the Jewish festival of lights — greeted students entering the building. 

Laid across blue embellished tables were boxes of round jelly doughnuts known as sufganiyot. Familiar emblems like dreidels and chocolate coins also decorated the venue. 

Though Hanukkah begins in December, Hillel planned its annual celebration before Reading Period this year to accommodate students who do not plan to return to campus following Thanksgiving break.

“We really just wanted to make the event like a fun celebratory occasion,” said Weinberg senior Shara Reimer, a programming co-chair on Hillel’s student executive board. “This year, it’s really especially important that we’re having this big event to celebrate the holidays in Jewish culture and community.” 

The annual Latkepalooza celebration serves as a reminder of home and family to many members of campus by bringing alive a familiar cultural tradition.

Weinberg junior Sari Eisen, president of Hillel’s student executive board, said she hoped this event would help continue to foster the Jewish community at NU.

“It’s a really nice way to come together as a community, keeping up these traditions,” she said. “It makes me feel connected to the rest of the community, and I feel connected to my family.”

Many students echoed this sentiment, saying they caught up with one another and bonded with friends over latkes and sufganiyot.

The event is a testament of the close community of Jewish students on campus, said Weinberg junior Noah Edelman.

“It’s been great to see so many people here — people who I know, people who I don’t know — and it shows that Jewish community is very vibrant at Northwestern,” he said. “It’s proof that the Jewish community stands together and is supportive of one another in the community.”

Activities at the event included stations for cookie decorations, photo shoots and mock cocktails. Students also had the opportunity to spin a prize wheel for the chance to win prizes like tote bags, phone wallets or a $5 donation to Israeli national emergency and disaster service Magen David Adom.

The event’s organizers felt it was important to acknowledge the impact of the Israel-Hamas war on the NU Jewish community, according to Reimer. 

“We thought that having an event with no acknowledgement of anything going on in the world was sort of just like an elephant in the room,” she said. “We also did not want it to be the focus because we wanted this to be a celebration.”

Latkepalooza’s early date also gives Hillel members the opportunity to celebrate the eight-day holiday with their families at home in the coming weeks.

“We gather from times of joy and sorrow and everything in between. That’s what it means to be part of a community,” Weinberg senior Ethan Less said. “We just live our Jewish lives.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @Jerrwu

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