The lights of Hanukkah will shine by Zoom this year at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center, with a series of virtual candle lighting events for each of the holiday’s eight nights. Hanukkah begins on Thursday, Dec. 10 and concludes Friday, Dec. 18.

“We’re not going to be doing any in-person gatherings but Friday will be a bigger celebration,” said Rabbi Karen Broitman.

Normally, the congregation marks the Friday of Hanukkah with a large celebration featuring music and a dinner of traditional Hanukkah latkes, Rabbi Broitman said. This year, in place of the traditional in-person celebration, the synagogue plans to host a virtual service on Dec. 11 beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Zoom event will include holiday and sabbath services, as well as a larger celebration with singing and candle lighting. The event will feature musical guests, violist Deborah Strauss and guitarist Eric Johnson, who will help lead the congregation through song and prayer.

The Hebrew Center will host virtual candle lightings for each subsequent night of the holiday at 5:30 p.m. as well.

In addition to evening celebrations, the Talmud study class will feature a holiday-specific bible study on Wednesday morning. The class will focus exclusively on Hanukkah texts and readings related to the story of the Maccabees.

Rabbi Broitman said she hopes the virtual holiday will bring spirituality and light into the congregation, especially during the more challenging winter months of the pandemic.

“It feels real, in some ways, even more important to just have a menorah lit to symbolize light and hope and change and the miraculous,” Rabbi Broitman said. “It’s been very meaningful for us to connect as a community over Zoom…. We’ve felt the community of the Hebrew Center and I think the ritual will be a great comfort and something to look forward to.”

For more information and Zoom links, visit