Hanukkah being celebrated differently on P.E.I. due to COVID-19
'Everybody really enjoys the holiday, but we are forced to stay apart this year'
Hanukkah celebrations on Prince Edward Island are a bit different this year due to COVID-19, as they are in many parts of the world.
There will be no large gatherings around the menorah, given the pandemic protocols in place.
The seven-day Jewish Festival of Lights began Thursday night and runs until Friday, Dec. 18.
"It was just me and my wife and we lit the first candles, so it was a little bit quiet," Leo Mednick, president of the P.E.I. Jewish Community, said of the first night of Hanukkah.
"Everybody celebrated with their families alone," Mednick said, adding that typically about 25 people get together that night on P.E.I. and have a potluck.
"Everybody really enjoys the holiday, but we are forced to stay apart this year."
Since COVID-19 hit the Island back in March, Mednick said, the Jewish community has been taking precautions by not getting together as often — or in the same ways — as it usually would.
"We got together a couple times for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, but very few people were able to show up and we had to do it in a big hall. But for now, we are staying apart."
The P.E.I. Jewish community sent a letter to its members suggesting one way for the spirit of Hanukkah to be passed on, Mednick said.
"We've asked people to send out little videos of their children saying the prayers, lighting the candles," he said. "We hope that gives them a little bit of spirit."
People are also connecting with family members by video messaging — and that is helping lift spirits as well, Mednick said.
The P.E.I. Jewish community has been speaking with officials at the City of Charlottetown and the province to establish a public menorah to celebrate the holiday — but Mednick said that wouldn't be established until at least next year.
Reminder about symptoms
The symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
- Possible loss of taste and/or smell.
- Sore throat.
- New or worsening fatigue.
- Shortness of breath.
- Runny nose.
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With files from Island Morning