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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Local Rabbis urge community to stay connected, find safe ways to celebrate Hanukkah during pandemic

The Giangreco family gathers to watch Solomon Giangreco light two candles on the menorah for the second day of Hanukkah, Friday, Dec.11, 2020, at Temple Beth Shalom in Spokane.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Though many celebrating Hanukkah this year won’t be surrounded by family and friends, there are still activities in the Spokane area they can join both virtually and outdoors to connect with others during the holidays.

Both Temple Beth Shalom and Chabad of Spokane will host activities over Hanukkah, with Temple Beth Shalom offering several online gatherings and Chabad of Spokane offering a Hanukkah car parade and an outdoor Menorah lighting.

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day celebration held this year from Dec. 10 to Dec. 18. It commemorates the rededication of the Jewish temple and the miracle of the temple lamp staying lit for eight days with just a single day’s supply of oil.

Rabbi for Temple Beth Shalom Tamar Malino urged those who may not be able to join family and friends in person to still find a way to celebrate, and still reach out to others during the holiday.

“Even if you’re not in the same room with someone, it’s still better to see someone’s face and hear someone’s voice and connect the best you can,” she said.

She said if people are not cooking for a big group or celebrating with many, it’s still important to have music and light in your home, and blessings and recipes are easy to find online to help those celebrating for the first time on their own.

Temple Beth Shalom will not hold any in-person activities for Hanukkah, but Malino said people can connect with others on the temple’s website, which has resources, and links for services and activities that will be held over the next week.

Chabad of Spokane County will host both a car parade and a public menorah lighting in Riverfront Park Sunday.

To join the parade, people should meet in the old Shopko parking lot on the South Hill at 4 p.m., and to attend the Menorah lighting, meet at the rotary fountain in Riverfront Park at 5 p.m.

Chabad of Spokane Rabbi Yisroel Hahn said everyone planning to attend should wear a mask and social distance from others.

He urged those celebrating Hanukkah this year to look out for those who may not have support , especially the elderly or those alone during the holidays.

“We have a moral obligation and they should not be forgotten,” Hahn said.

He said Chabad of Spokane is delivering Hanukkah candles to older people in the community, but everyone should find ways to check in on older people and anyone who is isolated.

The synagogue is also hosting several activities online and has Hanukkah resources on its website as well that will be available over the holiday.