Hanukkah begins this evening with modified celebrations due to the pandemic and new regional stay-at-home order.
“The Hanukkah menorah really is about hope,” said Rabbi Steven Rosenberg from Temple Isaiah.
The doors have to stay shut this year, so Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs is taking its Hanukkah celebration outdoors Sunday afternoon.
“We have so much darkness right now and we wanted to do something that would just give people a little bit of hope,” Rabbi Rosenberg said.
“We’re going to spin the dreidel, we’re going to sing, dance… socially distanced,” said Temple Isaiah President Mitchel Karp.
Rabbi Rosenberg said it was important to find a safe way for his congregation, including Karp, to come together in person.
“If you’re ambivalent about coming in person, you can come in your car and stay in your car in the parking lot and be in your own little bubble which is great. So I want everybody to participate in a way that they feel comfortable,” Karp said.
“You know, one of our goals, and one of our mandates in Judaism is to protect our lives and protect everyone else’s life, and so we wanted to make sure this was a safe thing to do,” Rabbi Rosenberg said.
Temple Sinai in Palm Desert has gone completely virtual.
“With some good thinking and a little bit of organization, we’ve been creating a nightly congregational lighting of our Hanukkah menorah at 5:30 every night, and then this Sunday, we put together a special 5 o’clock Hanukkah sing-along for the congregation,” said Rabbi David Novak from Temple Sinai.
The celebrations might look different this year, but the message of hope is as pertinent as ever.
“When you see light, when you see lights that are kindled, and you see a light burning bright, it’s a sense that there’s going to be a tomorrow,” said Rabbi Rosenberg.
Click here for more information and to RSVP for Sunday's celebration at Temple Isaiah.