Written by Elisa Alloul, Student, Hillel at York Tzedec Chair

Every year on Chanukah, Hillel at York hosts its annual Canorah lighting ceremony.

Hillel students and staff joined together for two days to collect non-perishable food items for Jewish and non-Jewish families in need, outside of the kosher Sobeys leading up to Chanukah. It was amazing to see how many students volunteered their time to collect cans and how many community members generously donated non-perishable food items. This year, the number of cans we collected broke a record! The cans we collected were donated to Chasdei Caduri and the York University Food Bank.

Then, on Chanukah itself, a group of students volunteered to build a giant menorah out of the cans and a lighting ceremony was held to honour representatives of the Hillel York community in York University’s Central Square.  Various student leaders, Hillel Board members, and members of the university administration were honoured, without whom, Hillel would not be able to provide the programming and campus community that it does.

A diverse crowd of people came out to watch the ceremony and enjoyed a delicious Chanukah lunch afterwards. Many students from different backgrounds stopped by to watch the ceremony, learn about Chanukah and the Canorah project itself.

What makes Canorah so special is that it presents the opportunity for the Jewish community to be showcased to the greater York community; to be a light unto the nations.  Canorah is also the perfect opportunity for students to get involved and perform an act of tzedec: social justice. Canorah is the perfect representation of what Chanukah is all about: the fact that a single light can eliminate much of the darkness. Thanks to the efforts of Hillel at York, and the greater Jewish community, we were able to add some light to the holidays for many.