This year’s unique Chanukah twist was the “Major Menorah” featuring 6 different University at Albany majors with professors from those departments lighting that candle. Quite a bit of work went into the preparations for this, leading up to the special ceremony for the 6th Night of Chanukah, Monday evening at the Small Fountain outside the UAlbany Campus Center.


Each of the 6 Branches of the Menorah to be kindled that evening were decorated according to the theme of that Major: (L-R) POLITICAL SCIENCE had photos of the NYS and US Capitols at the top and two dozen flags of different countries running down the side. BUSINESS had a purple (school colors!) tie tied at the top running down the side with a dollar sign on it, and a rising arrow chart at bottom. COMPUTER SCIENCE had a green digital font “Happy Chanukah” scrolling at the top, with motherboard circuit designs going up its side. ART-HISTORY Jerry S. an art-history students put a lot of work into designing the branch as a column from the Jerusalem Temple with gold leaf coming off all around the top. PHILOSOPHY had question marks all over it, plus portraits of Jewish and Greek philosophers around the top. JUDAIC STUDIES/HISTORY had a yellow Jude star behind barbwire at the top, with a chain (of history) winding down all the way its side, and an Israeli flag at the bottom.

Earlier that day we had an extended Lchaim Hot Latke Table, also outside the Campus Center (despite the cold!) sharing approx many hundreds of mini-Latkes as a taste of Chanukah. There was choco-gelt and Menorahs and Candles available, too. Towards the end of the Latke Table we had a Mincha Minyan for a Yartzeit.

UAlbany Students at Major Menorah

At 4:30pm we began the short but memorable and meaningful Major-Menorah Lighting ceremony. Quite a crowd of students came out.

The Shamash (helper candle) was lit by Nancy Belowich-Negron, retiring director of the Disability Resource Center in recognition for all her work in helping students of all majors to access and reach their goals, and shine like the candles of the Menorah.  The 6 Candles by Professors: Dr. Sarah Cohen – Art History, Dr. Elliot Rich – Business, Dr. Bradley Armour-Garb – Philosophy, Dr. Seth Chaiken – Computer Science, Dr. Victor Asal – Political Science and Dr. Arthur Brenner – JST/History.


The lighting method (this was debated quite a bit) was tiki-torches, cut to fit the size of the Menorah, and improvised (because we couldn’t find Tiki-Oil) using online instructions for olive oil. For some reason the wicks were quite stubborn and didn’t light or stay lit easily. That’s why we were eager to light it again at Shabbos House on the 7th and 8th nights of Chanukah, using regular candles.


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