It’s no exaggeration that Chanukah traditions are meaningful for some local college students.
In interviews, three students reflected on their childhood Chanukah traditions and on moments that created meaning.
Becca Robbins, 21, of Minneapolis and a senior at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said one of her favorite childhood memories was when the holiday fell on her birthday. “When my friends came over, my dad had us light the candles together, even though not everyone was Jewish.”
One night out of the eight, Robbins and her father have a “father-daughter day.” In past years, the two have gone skiing or went to see a musical of her choice. They have seen the musicals “An American in Paris,” “Wicked,” “Book of Mormon,” and this year they will see “Falsettos.”
Singing is a big part of the holiday in their house, she said. Robbins’ favorite is “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” and the Adam Sandler songs. She and her father have “worked on memorizing those,” she said. They also watch the Sandler movie, “Eight Crazy Nights.”
Robbins prefers her homemade latkes with sour cream and in the future, she hopes to teach her children how to make latkes.
Hannah Polan, 21 and a junior at UW-Milwaukee, for years went with her family for one of the nights to her “grand-aunt’s” house for dinner, candle lighting and presents.
Her cousins joined and they played board games like Apples to Apples, Uno and Life. “Every year my aunt would create a family Jeopardy game on a poster board and have candy prizes for the winning teams,” Polan said.
Last Chanukah, Polan stayed at college and “lit menorah candles at my duplex,” she said. Polan likes to eat her latkes with applesauce.
In the future, Polan said she would “like to carry on my family tradition and host a Chanukah party if I have kids. Also I want to carry on family Jeopardy.”
Daniel Silver, 21 and a sophomore at Marquette University, is from Glenview, Illinois. Throughout his childhood, he would join his extended family and visit his great-aunts and great-uncles as well as his grandfather or aunt’s home.
“My family would all come up to Milwaukee and we would gather together and have a Chanukah party and play games, eat latkes, make Chanukah cookies,” he said.
Silver prefers his latkes with applesauce.
He remembers getting jerseys or tickets to a Bulls game and said “I always like lighting the candles; it is always nice.”