Pandemic can’t change Hanukkah’s history, traditions

Oh, how times have changed!

Just before last Hanukkah, when the Vi at Aventura’s senior living community invited me once again to be a celebrity judge, along with other area dignitaries and media professionals, for its second annual Golden Latke Competition, I was happy to oblige.

The room was filled to capacity, and also filled with the aroma of a scrumptious, holiday favorite: latkes.

Due to social distancing guidelines, and our senior community’s vulnerability to infection from COVID-19, such gatherings will not take place this year.

Let’s face it: Hanukkah, like all other holidays observed during the pandemic, will be like nothing we have seen in our lifetime. But even these unprecedented times can’t change history and many of the traditions associated with the Festival of Lights.

Hanukkah’s story is timeless. As the miraculous story goes, in 165 BCE, the Maccabees were victorious against enemies of Israel and rededicated the holy temple by lighting the candelabra (menorah). The miracle continued when a quantity of oil that was only expected to light the lamp for one day actually lasted for eight. In the present day, the nightly ritual of lighting the menorah throughout Hanukkah’s duration celebrates that ancient feat.

The miracle continues today. The holiday that symbolizes light is much-needed in these darkest of times.

Hanukkah not only is a time to receive but also to dedicate a few moments in our lives to bring the spirit of the season to a community in need in these uncertain times.

With the latke contest canceled for this year, representatives from Vi are taking their efforts on the road.

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