Jewish community comes together at University of Victoria for inaugural celebration

University of Victoria recognizes Hanukkah with a lighting of the menorah in a charming corner of the new Mystic Market

From left Sabine Ricard

The University of Victoria recognized Hanukkah on Tuesday with a lighting of the menorah in a charming corner of the new Mystic Market.

A gas-lit hearth added its glow to the event, which brought together representatives from across the Greater Victoria’s Jewish community.

“The air was emotional,” said Lisa Church, who organized the event. “There were a few tears being wiped. It was wonderful to see.”

UVic Hillel director Carmel Tanaka believes it might be the first time Hanukkah, or any religious holiday other than Christmas, has been recognized at the university.

“We had faculty come down, people from the Jewish Federation of Victoria, the Jewish Community Centre, the Hillel and the Jewish youth program,” Tanaka said.

“I don’t remember getting people form all these groups together before, they really came out of the woodwork.”

Lighting the menorah is part of the first day of Hanukkah’s eight-day celebration, which begins at sunset on Dec. 16 until Wednesday, Dec. 24.

The first flame was lit by Sharon Kobrinsky, Jewish Chaplain at UVic.

Tanaka played the violin with guitarist Alex Konyves, performing traditional North American Hanukkah songs and some from Israel, while Food Services supplied traditional foods including the famous potato latkes.

The Mystic Market lounge and restaurant recently underwent a $7-million refit, and Church said it was an ideal space for such an event.

“We have the space so we can hold events like this,” said Church, retail outlets co-ordinator for UVic’s Food Services.

reporter@saanichnews.com