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Different venue, format for 2020 Peninsula Hanukkah celebration in light of pandemic

Posted at 7:13 AM, Dec 10, 2020

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Food, music and of course...lighting the menorah.

It will all be part of the United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula's 2020 Hanukkah celebration.

It's the usual 300-person crowd at the Newport News City Center that UJC will have to do without.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers changed this year's event from "Hanukkah at City Center" to "Hanukkah on City Center"...as in 401 City Center Boulevard; the address of the United Jewish Community center.

The socially-distanced event will take place with people listening from their car radios in the parking lot or virtually through Facebook Live and other means.

"We've had to prepare and then prep and have plan A, B and C just to make sure we have all our ducks in a row so it does change things. We will miss certain components of the festivities but it's still going to be special," said Naioki Wood, one of the organizers.

Wood tells News 3 the donuts and dreidels typically given out will be individually wrapped and brought to parked vehicles.

It's a sign of a holiday season like no other, but UJC's Director of Education Carmela Malkin-Kuhn says we can't let COVID-19 keep us from celebrating.

"It's very important to continue with the traditions, even though they look different. I think they still have an appeal especially during these times when things are tough and most people are isolated," she said.

Hanukkah on City Center starts at 6 p.m. at the United Jewish Community's center. The lot opens at 5:30 with room for roughly 80-100 cars.