Aggies celebrate Hanukkah
Photos: Courtesy Texas A&M Chabad
Members of the Jewish community at Texas A&M and Chabad welcomed Aggies from across the campus spectrum to their menorah lighting on Dec. 7, 2023.

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The vibrant glow of the menorah illuminated Texas A&M’s campus as the Aggie community gathered in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah. What made this event truly remarkable was the display of solidarity and support from hundreds of Aggies, including Texas A&M University President Mark Welsh, who came together to stand alongside the Jewish Aggie community.

Sean Pappolla, president of the Chabad Jewish student board, explained the unique sense of community within the Jewish population at Texas A&M. “The Jewish community at Texas A&M feels large in its tightly knit and active community,” he said. He emphasized how the events and the support from fellow Jewish students create a unified community and that the campus menorah lighting was proof of that community.

Texas A&M President Mark Welsh joins Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff to light the menorah on the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 7, 2023.

While many Jewish students find it difficult to be away from home during the holidays, Chabad has created a home away from home for students. Bar Yaari, another dedicated member of the Jewish community at Texas A&M, echoed the overwhelming support from the Jewish community. “The Chabad House at Texas A&M resembles a home to me…. I will always feel welcomed no matter what the occasion,” he said. The menorah lighting on campus symbolized Jewish pride and unity, giving “students the message of being proud and standing tall. The menorah symbolizes faith and hope by bringing light into the world and I think that doing it so openly on campus allowed students to feel more united and proud of their identity,” Yaari added.

Welsh’s presence demonstrated the university’s commitment to unity and creating a sense of belonging. “We came to learn … and to make sure that we always remember that this is a family,” Welsh said, emphasizing that Aggie family showed the university’s dedication to fostering an environment where every member feels supported and embraced.

The overwhelming support from Welsh and the multitude of Aggies in attendance on this special occasion serves as a testament to the unity that defines Texas A&M University. Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff, Chabad at Texas A&M director and campus rabbi, said, “Chabad is proud and grateful for the unwavering support from the Aggie family.”

Pappolla added, “Times like this remind me that there is always a light within me that can be found with the help of others when I am unable to.”

The Texas A&M campus menorah is a project of Chabad at Texas A&M University. For more information about Jewish life at Texas A&M, please visit JewishAggies.com or reach out to Rabbi Yossi or Manya Lazaroff at 979-220-5020.

“As lights of the menorah shine on campus, the Jewish community at Texas A&M is thankful for the spirit of togetherness and support fostered by its fellow Aggies through this event,” said Rabbi Lazaroff.

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