National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting in Washington DC


The National Menorah adorns The Ellipse near the White House in Washington, DC, on December 8, 2018. (ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Hanukkah begins Thursday at sundown with menorah lightings taking place across the U.S., while many celebrate at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In Washington, D.C., the National Menorah grand lighting ceremony kicks off at 4 p.m. EST, just across the street from the White House on the Ellipse.

The lighting, which is typically attended by thousands, is expected to look different this year. Social distancing and other safety protocols will be in place, and attendees are required to designate if they live in the same household for seating arrangements.

The event organized by American Friends of Lubavitch will include a special performance by the U.S. Navy Band.

In Brooklyn, New York, nonprofit soup kitchen network Masbia is marking the first night of Hanukkah by serving donuts and latkes to those in need during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, a rabbi in upstate New York is hosting Hanukkah services over Zoom and Facebook Live this year, NewsNation affiliate WSYR reported.

Rabbi Daniel Fellman, of the Temple Concord in Syracuse, said four synagogues in the area are coming together to make the holiday feel as normal as possible.

Since the start of the pandemic, Fellman’s temple has been closed, moving all services online.

“We’ve had people joining the Zoom from all over the country,” he said. “People who grew up in Syracuse and moved away, and people who have family here.”

Fellman said they’ll hold a menorah lighting ceremony Thursday night, which the temple will livestream on their Facebook page.

In Denver, one synagogue is hosting a “COVID safe” drive-in concert to celebrate the holiday, NewsNation affiliate KDVR reported.

The WCRJ Synagogue & Community Center‘s event will be held Sunday, and include a “lighting of the gratitude menorah honoring pillars of light during COVID-19.” The synagogue said it’s following government coronavirus safety guidelines to make sure people are celebrating safely.

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