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Chabad ‘Canorah’ lights darkness, fights hunger

Published: Monday, December 10, 2012

Updated: Monday, December 10, 2012 15:12


The Tufts Chabad House will light its first-ever Canorah in front of the Mayer Campus Center tonight at 5:30 p.m. as part of an effort to combat hunger in the local area.

The Canorah, a menorah built from donated canned goods, is a new addition to the Chabad House’s annual Hanukkah celebration. After the lighting ceremony, the cans will be donated to Project Soup, a free supper program affiliated with the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

Rabbi Tzvi Backman and the other members of the Chabad House teamed up with 11 different Tufts groups, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to collect donations.

According to Shira Strauss, a member of the Chabad Student Board, each campus group pledged to donate $50 or its equivalent in cans. Additionally, a drop box is located in the upper level of the Campus Center for students to make individual donations.

Backman said his goal is to collect 500 cans for donation. Based on the last count, the group is close to reaching its goal.

“We are gearing towards people who are going abroad next semester and need to clean out their stuff anyway,” Strauss, a junior, said. “So if anyone has extra [cans], they’re very helpful.”

Sophomore engineer Jonah Harris has designed a plan to build the menorah with Backman.

“We spent some time toying with whatever cans we had and we came up with [a] pretty good system,” Harris said. “We think it will look pretty nice. We’re looking forward to a great evening.”

Strauss invites students to meet at noon at the Campus Center to help construct the Canorah before the lighting ceremony. The event will feature performances from the Pep Band; traditional Hanukkah foods, such as latkes and jelly donuts; and an appearance from University President Anthony Monaco, Backman said.

The Canorah is observed on many other Chabad campuses and is part of an effort from the Chabad House to extend its service to the community, Strauss explained.

“The Chabad House kind of excels in looking for ways in making Jewish tradition and Jewish ideals very accessible to the community, and this Hanukkah celebration has always been along those lines,” Backman said. “And, of course, feeding the hungry has always been a very Jewish tradition as well.”

Backman believes that Hanukkah is an especially good time to reach out to those in need.

“There’s a powerful message to the Hanukkah lights,” he said. “When you light a candle, if there’s a concept there, you add real light to the darkness that exists in the world. You’re literally having an impact on people who are kind of in the dark when it comes to having basic necessities.”

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