Oh Chanukah! Oh Chanukah, Come Light the Menorah

Watch the Jewish Federation’s 24/7 Chanukah Lighting Candle Cam

You’ve probably seen the TV channels that just broadcast a continuous video of a Yule log burning, as a comforting background spreading no-effort holiday cheer. Netflix even has one this year.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is taking that idea and making it their own again this year with the return of the popular 24-hour video feed of a virtual menorah.

Starting Sunday, Nov. 28, there will be a repeating video for Chanukah with the correct number of candles burning.

“The Jewish Federation recognizes that, even as we emerge from the pandemic, there are still many isolated people who we need to keep connected to Jewish life. In a year in which a lot of people still can’t get together with loved ones for Chanukah because of distance or COVID-related restrictions, we thought that a virtual community menorah might bring a smile to a few of those people. It’s not just 24/7, it’s 24/8 for the eight days of Chanukah.”

Jeff Finkelstein, President and CEO

In these stressful times, when it’s difficult to gather with friends and family for traditional holiday celebrations, the Jewish Federation hopes these candles provide a bit of warmth for anyone who needs it.

“I hope some people — whether Jewish or not — keep the candles up on a screen to remind them that they are not alone,” explains Finkelstein. “If you want to send a virtual card to a friend, you could also include a link to the Virtual Menorah.”

If you’re unfamiliar with this Jewish tradition, it goes back a long way.

“Chanukah is the Festival of Lights,” explains Finkelstein. “In the second century BCE, a small band of Jews defeated the Seleucids, who wanted to force the Jews to accept the Greek gods. When the Jews went to rededicate their defiled temple, they only had enough oil to keep the sacred lamp lit for one day. In a miracle, the oil lasted eight days, so we light candles for eight days to remember. Chanukah literally means ‘dedication.’”

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