Students to celebrate Hanukkah

Wake Forest Jewish students, faculty and staff will join Jews around the world to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights, more commonly known as Hanukkah, from Dec. 1 – 8.

Each night, students and others will gather at the stage on Manchester Plaza to light a six-foot menorah. The menorah, recently purchased through the University Chaplain’s Office, is the largest in Winston-Salem. The services will be led by Wake Forest’s Jewish student group, Hillel.

Rabbi Michael Gisser

Rabbi Michael Gisser

“This will mark the start of what we hope to be an annual tradition at Wake Forest and will undoubtedly lead to other new traditions as our community celebrates its pluralism and diversity,” said Rabbi Michael Gisser, who was recently hired as the first associate chaplain for Jewish life, a new part-time position in the Chaplain’s Office.

The first Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony will take place on Dec. 1, the first day of Hanukkah. Times for each ceremony will vary; see the complete schedule below.

On Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., an information table will be set up in the Benson University Center, where students can learn more about Hanukkah.

Following the candle lighting ceremony on Dec. 2, a mezuzah will be hung on the door frame of the Jewish Life Office in Reynolda Hall, the first time a mezuzah has ever been hung from a door at Wake Forest. A mezuzah is a sacred parchment inscribed by hand with two portions of Torah and typically hung on the front doors of Jewish homes.

Following the candle lighting ceremony on Dec. 3, students will celebrate Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, in the Meditation Room in Reynolda Hall. A Shabbat dinner will be held in the Autumn Room in Reynolda Hall. Reservations are required for the dinner.

Members of the Winston-Salem Jewish community are encouraged to attend the candle lighting ceremony on Dec. 5.

The Hanukkah candle lighting schedule is as follows; each ceremony is open to the public.

Wednesday, Dec. 1 — 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 2 – 6:15 p.m.; Followed by Mezuzah ceremony, Jewish Life Office, Reynolda Hall, room 19

Friday, Dec. 3 – 4:30 p.m., followed by Shabbat ceremony in the Meditation Room in Reynolda Hall and Shabbat dinner in the Autumn Room, Reynolda Hall. Reservations required for dinner; please contact Rabbi Gisser at extension 4056 or by e-mail to

Saturday, Dec. 4 – 6:15 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 5, 6:15 p.m.: The Winston-Salem Jewish community is invited to join students in lighting the menorah

Monday, Dec. 6 – Wednesday, Dec. 8, 6:15 p.m.

By Kerry M. King (’85), Office of Communications and External Relations

Categories: Events

Tags: HanukkahRabbi Michael Gisser