Thursday is the fifth night of Hanukkah out of eight. Last year during the pandemic, SLO Hillel delivered special Hanukkah packages to students and families and held a Zoom celebration. This year, they will celebrate in person.
Rabbi Micah Hyman, the Rabbi of Temple Ner Shalom and the Executive Director of SLO Hillel, described Hanukkah as, “…a time of family, a time of dedication. It's kind of nice that Hanukkah is separate from this other December holiday for us. You know, this festival of light is really about the days getting shorter, seeming like our world is getting darker and we need community.”
For every night of Hanukkah, a representative lights the menorah at 5 p.m. in San Luis Obispo's Mission Plaza.
Members of the Jewish community are gathering for temple services, while wearing masks, and spending much of their celebrations outside.
Thursday night, they will light the fifth menorah candle and walk through the Downtown SLO Farmers' Market.
“[At Mission Plaza] there'll be a group, there's a collection that will move from the plaza on down through that market and we'll be proud and celebrate our heritage on that night of Hanukkah,” explained Rabbi Hyman.
He said they are confident they will be able to host everybody, but there will also be a livestream of Thursday's candle lighting in Mission Plaza on Facebook.
"So that's the trick right now is how to be safe, be outdoors and also make sure that we can gather and celebrate the festivals,” Rabbi Hyman said.
There will be a traditional Shabbat service at 6:15 p.m. on Friday which leads into the day of rest. Temple Ner Shalom is also preparing an outdoor space, just in case of a full house.