Into the Light: Exploring Chanukah and Christmas

Written by Naomi Shore, Hillel Student Jewish Learning Coordinator and Christina Cummins, Hillel Student Multifaith Coordinator

In December, Ryerson Hillel had the opportunity to participate in an exciting interfaith event with the Ryerson Catholic Students Association. Into the Light, which celebrated and discussed both Chanukah and Christmas in the modern world, allowed students from both campus groups to learn about the highly commercialized holiday of their peers, as well as explore the cultural significance of their own holiday. After explaining the religious customs and history of each holiday, the discussion focused on the affects of the commercialization of these holidays through widespread media.
The activities and the discussion that followed provided an open space to not only learn about each other’s cultural and religious practices, but also shined a light onto our similarities as faith-based students on campus. Our religions, though separate, still result in the same challenges when celebrating a holiday that has become more and more secular. It was a truly intriguing discussion and an incredible learning experience. We walked away with a greater appreciation for both holidays, and we hope the other participants did as well. This event provided a great basis for us to further our relationship with not only the Catholic Student Association but also with other religious and cultural groups on Ryerson campus.