Philadelphia menorah lighting ceremonies held online amid COVID-19

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Thursday, December 10, 2020
Philly celebrates start of Hanukkah virtually
Event organizers in Old City say they’ll do their best to make sure this year’s virtual menorah lighting ceremony special.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Organizers of menorah lighting ceremonies across Philadelphia have moved their programs online due to the pandemic.

Decorations were set up early with the menorah in place in the courtyard of the Betsy Ross House in Old City, but the courtyard won't be nearly as crowded this year for the menorah lighting ceremony Thursday night.

"I always say better safe than sorry. It's always important that safety comes first," said Rabbi Zalman Wircberg, of the Old City Jewish Arts Center.

They're going virtual this year with only a few invited guests allowed in the courtyard.

The event will be streamed on the Old City District website at 4:30 p.m. so that everyone can take part on the first night of Hanukkah.

"At sundown, we light the first candle the first candle and every night we progress and keep going up and lighting another candle for the next 8 nights," Zalman said.

The event in Old City will not be the only virtual menorah lighting ceremony in the city Thursday.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will deliver remarks at Boathouse Row.

It will be streamed on the Office of Public Engagement's Facebook page at 5:15 p.m.

The hope this year is that families will light a candle each night while thinking of acts kindness and spiritual growth.

"We all have a little light. We all have a little spark inside all of us that we can share," Wircberg said.