Jewish culture’s in the spotlight at Concordia University this Chanukah, and in a departure from past campus events, it’s a favorable spotlight.

Known for its anti-Israel riots in years past, the Montreal, Canada, campus still has an atmosphere of intolerability: Many Jewish students regularly cover their skullcaps with baseball caps. But on Monday, the schools’ monthly cultural night will feature a Semitic twist; nearly 400 students are slated to attend Latkes and L’Chaim, a Chanukah-themed event jointly sponsored by the Concordia Student Union, the Arts and Science Federation of Students, Hillel and the local Chabad-Lubavitch student group.

Yoni Waysman, 25, says that in his three years on campus, it’s the first time he’s seen something Jewish garner serious, positive attention.

“The whole university’s talking about it,” offers Waysman, president of Chabad Concordia. “It’s really nice to see everyone excited. It’s something they don’t want to miss, even though it’s right in the middle of finals.”

Normally occurring in the winter break between semesters, Chanukah at colleges across North America can typically be a quiet affair. But Chabad Houses serving 150 campuses are doing this year’s holiday up big, with public menorah lightings and grand parties. At Concordia, given the past history, the numbers are not only unprecedented, but student leaders say, refreshing. All told, the party could see upwards of 800 students.

At Concordia, you can easily find non-Jewish ethnic and religious groups, several with anti-Israel points of view. The campus only has two Jewish ones, Hillel and Chabad, which became a recognized student group just two years ago.

Waysman says that as a second-year group, Chabad’s influence is surprising.

The university “went overboard to facility the success of [next week’s] event,” he relates.

Concordia is funding the event and publicizing it on Facebook.

“We told them three to four weeks in advance, and everything happened in a heartbeat,” adds Waysman. “Just a little bit of light took over the whole place. One thing’s for sure, the higher-ups are looking at this event and taking it as a step in the right direction.”

Rabbi Yisroel Bernath, director of Chabad NDG in Montreal’s Monkland neighborhood and administrator of the campus group, says that he wants to take away a prevailing sentiment that it’s not okay to be “too Jewish” on campus.

“It’s a monumental event, because not only is it the first time there’s going to be a Jewish party on campus, it’s also the first time the Concordia Student Union is putting their name on a Jewish event,” says Bernath.

The cultural night will feature a dreidel station, bottle-cap menorah making, and the musical beats provided by a student deejay.

“It’s going to be very Jewish-themed,” says Bernath. “We’re decking the whole place out with different Chanukah decorations.”

At 9 p.m., executives from different campus groups will light a sustainable Chanukah menorah made out of a frame of recyclable materials and branches filled with donated cans. Bernath will display the menorah at his off-campus Chabad House.

David Adelman, 20, Hillel’s social vice president, is looking forward to the cultural night being different from the ones the school has had in the past. He wants all attendees to go home with menorah.

Says Adelman: “We can be out there and be proud.”