Students gather for Funk n’ Latkes Hanukkah celebration

For one night a year, the cafe students know as Funk ‘n Waffles transforms into a holiday celebration with Funk ‘n Latkes.

“This is an event that people look forward to every year,” said Zach Goldberg, Hillel president and sophomore policy studies and economics dual major.

On Monday night, Hillel held its annual Funk ‘n Latkes event to celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah. Dozens of students showed up at Funk ‘n Waffles, a popular Syracuse cafe, to celebrate the holiday, eat waffle latkes and listen to live music.

This year, Hillel partnered with SU Records to bring in musical groups to perform in honor of the holiday, Goldberg said.

Goldberg, who put the event together, described the event as a challenge to plan, but a night that is worth the hard work.

Before the event, students were treated to latkes made by waffle iron and sat down to celebrate Hanukkah. They eagerly waited for the night’s many musical performances.

The holiday fell right around the time of stressful looming finals, but that did not stop students from showing up to take a break and celebrate.

“It’s weird because it’s finals, but I like how there is a place to go and celebrate,” said Rikki Schneiderman, a freshman magazine journalism major.

Schneiderman said she appreciated the familiar aspect of celebrating with friends at school, describing the event as homey.

The event began with a performance by the a cappella group Oy Cappella. The group opened its performance with a rendition of “Hanukkah, Oh, Hanukkah.”

All of Oy Cappella’s performances have a Jewish connection, with all songs written and composed by Jewish musicians.

After Oy Cappella’s performance, David Kimelman, religion vice president of Hillel, came onstage and led the lighting of the menorah in honor of the first night of Hanukkah, which is on Dec. 8.

Once the menorah was lit, more bands took the stage to play and add to the high-energy atmosphere of the celebration. The bands Funk Collective, Diverze and Miraculous all gave electrifying performances that kept the audience excited.

Students at the event showed their appreciation for Hillel and for being able to celebrate Hanukkah with the campus community.

“It’s nice to know I have a lot of Jewish friends,” said Elyse Davis, a freshman child and family studies and psychology dual major. “It gives a sense of community that is nice.”

For some students, the Funk ‘n Latkes event has become a Hanukkah tradition, a place to go every year and celebrate away from home.

Zoe Batt Stern, a sophomore public relations major and intern for Hillel, expressed sadness about missing the next Funk ‘n Latkes when she is abroad. She and her friend have celebrated together every year.

“It’s become a tradition that my best friend and I come every year together,” Stern said.

For Goldberg, the Hillel community is like a family away from home, so the Funk ‘n Latkes Hanukkah celebration is an event that holds great meaning to him.

Said Goldberg: “The great thing about Hanukkah is that it is always a celebration.”


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