Chabad RGV’s annual Hanukkah event will be a bit different this year, but the sentiment will be just as meaningful.
Chabad RGV and the city of McAllen will be hosting a drive-in Hanukkah event at 4 p.m. Sunday.
The event will feature the lighting of a menorah with McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, a showing of the film “Beyond The Flame,” and there will be Hanukkah treats to go.
“It’s a drive-in, there’s no getting out. It’s COVID-friendly. Just have a good time” Rabbi Asher Hecht said.
Hanukkah, which began Thursday and lasts for eight days, celebrates the reclamation of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Israelites drove out the Syrian-Greeks in the second century BC. The name “Hanukkah” is a Hebrew word meaning “dedication.”
During their rededication of the Holy Temple, the Israelites found that they only had enough olive oil to light the temple’s menorah for one day. However, the oil ended up lasting for eight days.
The rabbi said that the celebration is an important opportunity for the community to attend to not only their physical needs during the pandemic, but also their spiritual needs.
“People are not just suffering healthwise, but people are also suffering mentally,” Hecht said. “They’re having a difficult time trying to get through this time, to understand it, they’re trying to stay motivated and excited. Many people can’t see relatives or grandparents. Many people are out of jobs. What helps in times like this is a little bit of faith — particularly connected to the very fiber of the culture of our country.”
The annual event is usually attended by members of the Jewish faith as well as non-Jewish individuals. Hecht said that the vent is an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to share in spiritual nourishment and inspiration.
“It’s not an in-person event. It’s not where people can eat the food — where people are interacting with one another in person,” Hecht said. “It’s still coming together. It’s still celebrating the holiday season. It’s still listening to the message of this holiday, and in some way that little bit will be like the little bit of oil. It will do for us everything we need because when we show God that we’re not going to be distracted and we move forward to make sure that this holiday is still celebrated, God will respond with great miracles.”
The drive-in Hanukkah event will take place behind the McAllen Convention Center at 3130 Col. Plummer Drive. The event is free of charge to the public.