Hanukkah 2020 celebrations to be both different, and the same

Hanukkah 2020 celebrations to be both different, and the same
Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah and those of Jewish faith will light the first menorah candle much differently this year.

Volunteers at the Chabad of Vancouver Island are hard at work, baking dozens of special jelly donuts for their members to take home for the first night of Hannukah.

“Hannukah this year is going to be different than many years before, but I also think it’ll be more special than years before,” said Rabbi Mier Kaplan of the Chabad of Vancouver Island.

Usually, hundreds in Victoria’s Jewish community gather for song, dance, and prayer, to light the menorah in Centennial Square, but not this year.

“For now and over the holidays, and I’m reminded Hannukah starts today at sunset, let’s stay apart,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry Thursday.

“Not because we don’t care about each other, but because we do.”

Those on the south island of Jewish faith have found a way to still celebrate: together, but apart.

“Usually we give out the jelly donuts ‘sufganiyot’ at the event, so instead they are coming in the morning to pick up the donuts. So we are all going to be lighting [the menorah] in our own home, while enjoying the same Hanukkah donuts, and celebrating together as a community,” said Rabbi Kaplan.

The images of those at home taking part will be virtually connected.

The Chabad of Vancouver Island is setting up a big screen in front of the legislature to show people lighting the menorah in their own homes.

Hannukah, at its most basic, is a celebration of the triumph of light over darkness – the burning candle, a symbol of hope.

“That teaches us, that we always have to start by bringing some light into the world. But never be satisfied with the light we brought yesterday, and every day, to bring some more light. And this message of Hannukah is so important in the time we’re living through,” said Rabbi Kaplan.

Traditionally the eight nights of Hanukkah are celebrated in a different family member’s home, with large numbers of family and friends all coming together, but not this year.

“There is no doubt this is a darker time than many of us have experienced in our lifetimes. And the importance of realizing that when you encounter darkness, our job and our calling is to bring light,” said Rabbi Kaplan.

Reminding everyone this holiday season, no matter what faith you believe in, to bring light to our homes, communities, to anyone, every day.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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