December 12, 2023

UAB Heersink School of Medicine celebrates Chanukah with public Menorah Lighting Event

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The UAB Heersink School of Medicine recently ushered in the joyous festival of Chanukah (or Hanukkah) with a vibrant Public Menorah Lighting event held on Thursday, Dec. 7. Hosted by the Office for Diversity and Inclusion Student Affairs, the Chabad of Alabama, and the Jewish Medical Student Association, this festive event brought together UAB leadership, students, and community members. The gathering was filled with meaningful speeches, networking opportunities, music, and traditional Chanukah treats.Menorah abstract

Outside the Wallace Tumor Institute, the atmosphere was filled with warmth and camaraderie as attendees assembled to witness the lighting of the menorah, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness and the miracles commemorated during Chanukah.

The event commenced with heartfelt speeches delivered by prominent figures within the UAB Heersink School of Medicine community, such as opening remarks by Anupam Agarwal, M.D., dean of Heersink School of Medicine, who spoke of the significance of Chanukah's message of hope, resilience, and unity. “I enjoyed attending the Menorah Lighting today,” Agarwal said on Thursday. “I am grateful to have been part of this important tradition symbolizing light and wisdom.”

Participants seized the opportunity to connect and network, fostering a sense of togetherness and solidarity among those present.

Ben Honan, MS3, helped organize the event and was proud to be involved. When asked why the event was meaningful to him, he replied: “Lighting the menorah is something that Jews across the world are doing this time of year. The eight nights of the holiday represent the miracle of limited oil lasting for eight nights to keep a holy light lit long ago. The menorah lighting event was an opportunity for anyone to share in the spirit of light during this season, inspiring us to be a light in each others’ lives.”

Honan said he was pleased with the event’s success. “The Hanukkah event was special, with people of various backgrounds enjoying a moment from the Jewish culture, as sharing in each others’ cultures is how we make the world a better place. I’m very grateful to the School of Medicine and its Office for Diversity and Inclusion for their year-round support of all cultures and backgrounds.”

Lively music was played, and attendees savored the traditional delights of the holiday, such as latke donuts and Chanukah gelt, enhancing the cultural experience and creating an atmosphere of shared joy and celebration.

Beyond the illuminating menorah lighting ceremony, the event served as a platform for cultural exchange and understanding, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity within the UAB Heersink School of Medicine community. It provided an opportunity for individuals from various backgrounds to come together, learn, and celebrate the rich traditions of Chanukah.