From the Cantor,  Murray Simon

Hanukkah During COVID


This year, HANUKKAH coincides with the secular calendar from the evening of December 10, 2020, through sundown of December 18, 2020. So, is Hanukkah early or late this year? Well, it’s right on time because it always comes on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev on the lunar calendar.


I am pleased that Hanukkah will not be “competing” with Christmas this year as it will have concluded an entire week before the much 

celebrated Christian holiday. Hanukkah will have a chance to “stand alone” as our Jewish celebration of religious freedom.


How can it be celebrated while we are still in a “lockdown” world? Well, the good news is that Hanukkah has always been a holiday primarily celebrated in the home.


The lighting of the hanukkiah (nine branched menorah), the singing of special Hanukkah songs, the playing of the dreidel and the eating of the delicious latkes and sufganiot can and should be done in the confines of your home.


Therefore, the CDC would agree that Hanukkah is a COVID-19 friendly holiday that you can celebrate without being in large social gatherings. Also, the current use of ZOOM provides us with an opportunity to connect with our children and grandchildren for candle-lighting wherever they may be in the world! Lucky for us that ZOOMing is surely a boon during these “lockdown” times that didn’t exist previously.


Speaking of COVID, the World Health Organization announced on February 11, 2020 that the official name for this virus is “CO” for “corona”, “VI” for virus, and “D” for “disease.” This acronym sometimes reminds me of the Hebrew word, KAVOD – meaning “honor” or “glory.” The use of KAVOD in our liturgy refers to the “imminence or closeness of God.” May the celebration of Hanukkah during the COVID pandemic this year bring us closer to each other AND closer (KAVOD) to God.


Hag Hanukkah Sameyach

                                                               Cantor Murray E. Simon.