Princeton area congregations to host online celebrations for Hanukkah

Faith communities continue to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting many events online via Zoom or other platforms like Facebook Live. Some Jewish congregations will kick off Hanukkah this week with outdoor, socially-distanced menorah lightings, but most daily programs will be conducted online.

Hanukkah starts at sundown on Thursday, Dec. 10, and continues until sundown on Dec. 18. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is a Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. 

The Jewish Center of Princeton has a variety of virtual activities planned for each day of Hanukkah, as well as a pajama and book drive on Friday, Dec. 11, for children in need.

Congregation Kehilat Shalom in Belle Mead also has planned virtual Hanukkah celebrations.

Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction has scheduled a series of cultural and educational events and worship services for Hanukkah. Each of the events or services will take place on Zoom and will include a communal menorah lighting.

“The Maccabees fought for religious freedom and lit the menorah in the Temple in order to bring their community together,” said Congregation Beth Chaim Senior Rabbi Adena Blum. “We have the same need for community today. As a result of the novel coronavirus, we cannot gather in person, but technology allows us to come together for holidays, education, and worship, and we are making use of that. This is a unique way for us to connect. At this dark time of year and during this dark period of the pandemic, we are looking forward to bringing more light into our lives.”