SoCal synagogue creates one-of-a-kind drive-thru experience to celebrate Hanukkah amid pandemic

BEL AIR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hanukkah is officially underway but the holiday looks very different this year as COVID-19 cases spike across the country and in Southern California.

The Stephen Wise Temple in Bel Air created a one-of-a-kind festival of lights to bring as much joy and light in the midst of such dark and difficult times.

"This desire to create this kind of touchless, very safe drive-thru experience this year, with a sense of urgency, is really a result of COVID-19. So this is the first time we've ever done this and as far as we know, it's the first time it's ever been done," said Rabbi Yoshi Zweinack.

The event, dubbed LIT: A digital drive-thru Hanukkah Experience, is intended to lift the spirits of many celebrating the holiday with a blend of synchronized lighting displays and projection installations set to music.

Tickets are required for the event, which will run through Dec. 20.

Other celebrations across the region also focused on the meaning of the holiday despite not being able to gather.

The Jewish community in Beverly Hills united in celebration to light the menorah Thursday night. The holiday has a different feel this year but the message is more important than ever.

"Internally, where everything takes place, I feel more proud and joyous than ever before. I feel that we are living in a very special time. We can...celebrate our heritage like never before," said Rabbi Yoself Cunin with the Beverly Hills Jewish Community Synagogue.

Due to the pandemic, many of the menorah ceremonies are going virtual for all to see, including one in Long Beach.

At Continental Kosher Bakery in Valley Village, customers lined up to get their traditional Hanukkah treats to drop off to family and friends instead of celebrating together.
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