As many at Georgetown are aware, the Hanukkah menorah, or Chanukiah, was stolen from Red Square this past December. This menorah is a symbol of pride for not only Jewish students at Georgetown, but Jews worldwide. Despite an acknowledgement of the grave nature of this act, little has been done to remedy the situation. Whether this was an act of anti-Semitism, a drunken prank or perhaps both, this act was inappropriate and disrespectful to the entire Georgetown Community.

This is not the first time the Jewish Community at Georgetown has been a victim of this sort of behavior.

The year before I first came to Georgetown, the Chanukiah was damaged and desecrated. As a prospective student that incident made me hesitant to enter into an environment where prejudiced acts like these occur. Students and administrators, however, assured me that Georgetown is a tolerant and respectful place.

As I graduate though, it seems that little has changed. The Jewish community at Georgetown is still the victim of similar acts, and little attention is given to these instances. Most importantly, there is still no permanent symbol of Judaism on our campus. The menorah that the Jewish community uses on Hanukkah is a temporary loan from local Jewish organizations.

I do not wish to dwell on the acts of the past. I would like, however, to discuss the potential of the future. Change can, and should, occur.

To this end, the Jewish community is hoping to spread awareness about the possibility of attaining a new, permanent menorah. The Chanukiah that has been proposed is inspired by the ideals of Kabalah, or Jewish mysticism. The design for the Chanukiah embraces mystical themes from other religions and will act as more than a symbol to the Jewish community – this menorah will symbolize the tolerance and interfaith dialogue that the Georgetown community proudly champions.

Tonight, a talented artist named Patrick Birge, a graduate of Notre Dame and a student of Kabalah, will present his Chanukiah design in the ICC Galleria at 6:30 p.m., along with a presentation of Kabalah by Rabbi Yehuda Berg. Please come and support the artist, the Jewish community, and our university.

Georgetown continually embraces religious tolerance and diversity, and this presentation gives us the opportunity to showcase the type of morality and responsibility that this university touts and aims to sustain.

I ask for those empathetic to ending intolerance to attend and not let Georgetown forget what has happened.

Community support is essential to showing the administration and the outside world that Georgetown students care when these actions take place.

I encourage you to support religious diversity and open-mindedness. Attendance at this presentation is a pivotal step in ensuring and strengthening the ideals of Georgetown. I hope to see you there.

Daniel Sirkin is a senior in the College.

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