Jewish Business Alliance Leader Reflects on Favorite Hanukkah Traditions
As Georgetown McDonough commemorates the eight nights of Hanukkah, we’re hearing from Ethan Finkelstein (MBA’24), a leader of the Jewish Business Alliance (JBA) about his favorite holiday memories, food, gatherings, and traditions that are celebrated during this special time of year.
Learn more about some of the ways Finkelstein is sharing his Jewish heritage with other McDonough students and how he plans to engage Georgetown’s Jewish community in 2023.
What do Hannukkah celebrations mean to you?
Hanukkah is a time of commemoration and tradition, bringing family and friends together to light up the cold, dark, winter nights, both literally with our menorahs and figuratively with song and celebration.
What comes to mind when you reflect on the holiday?
Growing up, we would hear the re-telling of the story of Hanukkah: of the Maccabees’ unlikely triumph over the Greeks and the rededication of their temple in Jerusalem with the lighting of the menorah. It was always fun to reenact the battles and dress up like the Greek and Maccabees.
What are some of your favorite Hanukkah traditions, and how have you carried on those traditions while at McDonough?
My favorite tradition is just a good old fashion Hanukkah party where we eat lots of fried foods (to commemorate the oil that lasted for eight days when it was only supposed to last for one). My favorite foods are fried potato latkes, jelly donuts, and schnitzel. It was nice to celebrate Hanukkah during the McDonough holiday party this year by bringing Latkes to the event. It was especially meaningful for those who have never celebrated Hanukkah before to learn a little bit about our traditions.
As a leader of the Jewish Business Alliance, how do you hope to engage the McDonough community with Jewish traditions?
Some of the ways we hope to engage the community this upcoming year is by planning celebrations around key Jewish holidays to educate our fellow classmates about our traditions, organizing Shabbat dinners where the community can come and reflect together on their week, and hosting events with the wider Washington, D.C., Jewish community around relevant business topics that students will find engaging.
How is the Jewish Business Alliance commemorating Hanukkah this year? How can others get involved?
While Hanukkah falls outside of the academic calendar this year, we were able to host a Shabbat dinner right before folks left for the December break to bring the community together. Even though students will be celebrating Hanukkah at home, we know that community members will reach out to each other to connect and wish each other a Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday).
Are there any upcoming events hosted by the Jewish Business Alliance that the McDonough community should be aware of?
We are still planning our calendar for next year, but we will certainly be hosting another communal Shabbat dinner, hopefully one event with the wider Washington D.C., Jewish community, and a Passover celebration in the spring.