It's that wonderful time of the year to enjoy latkes and lighting the menorah alongside your family in the spirit of Hanukkah. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, your festivities this year will look different and involve some virtual gatherings that stray from the norm. While quarantining, you and your family may participate in your favorite traditions over Zoom or tune into these virtual Hanukkah experiences in spirit of the holiday.
Truthfully, signing up for any of these virtual Hanukkah experiences is a great alternative to your traditional gatherings, as they allow you to safely celebrate online. As long as you have WiFi — in addition to a ticket or registration confirmation — you can soak in art, music, and even enjoy a candle lighting all from the comfort of your home. You can learn about the Northern Lights during the Festival of Lights, or get dressed up in festive pajamas and dance the night away.
The best part? Your family members can do the same from the safety of their own homes, to make it feel like you're all together. Simply send them the information they need to get registered, or sign on to one of these virtual Hanukkah events at the correct date and time. Like you, they'll only need a quality Internet connection and a ton of spirit for the holiday for these virtual experiences to totally light up their world.
1. Hanukkah Zumba
If you have a lot of energy and excitement going into this year's virtual Hanukkah festivities, then you'll probably want to join a Hanukkah Zumba class and dance one of the eight nights away. Hosted by Addison-Penzak JCC Los Gatos, this class will be led by fitness instructor Amy Gardner, and require you to put on a comfy outfit and follow along with the Latin dance moves. You'll be dancing to both traditional Zumba songs, as well as music with a Hanukkah vibe.
The event is totally free. You just need to register on the APJCC website in order to receive the necessary Zoom link. The class takes place on Thursday, Dec. 17 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. PST.
2. "Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights"
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Jewish Arts Collaborative have teamed up this year to deliver a massive Festival of Lights virtual celebration. There are two parts to this experience. The first is a family-friendly gathering that's made for people of all ages, and includes music, art, a story time, and a Hanukkah in Hebrew celebration. The second focuses on the traditions and history of Hanukkah and includes a community candle lighting which can be streamed on both Facebook and YouTube.
Both experiences can be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of your home, and take place on Wednesday, Dec. 9. The first gathering is being held at 5 p.m. EST, and the second is being held at 6 p.m. You can register for free via the event's page.
3. A Virtual Hanukkah 8K
Put your sneakers on and run an 8K in the spirit of the holiday with Asheville Jewish Community Center's virtual run. Taking place on Sunday, Dec. 13, this event asks each participant to go out and run an 8K course of their own. You'll need to log your official time using a log button on the Asheville JCC website, as well as send in a photo of you running.
The people with the fastest time will be mailed prizes, and are expected to be announced on the next day. The JCC notes on their event page that there's a no-contact packet pick-up, prior to the event. Adult race entry costs $35 per person, while youth entries for anyone under 18 who'd like to participate cost $25. Register via the event page.
4. "The Wide World of Hanukkah Treats"
Over the years, your family members may have taught you how to make a variety of Hanukkah treats. This tasty class, brought to you by Skirball Cultural Center and Amelia Saltsman — the writer and award-winning author behind The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen: A Fresh Take on Tradition — will expand your recipe book even more. Saltsman will guide you and your family in making cheese pancakes and nailing her tricks of the trade.
There are two time slots you can choose from: Sunday, Dec. 13 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. PST. The workshop costs $15 per household for anyone who wants to join, and $10 for members of the Skirball Cultural Center.