A menorah lighting at Liberty Station in a past year. File photo courtesy of the Liberty Station Community Association

Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival of lights, begins early in the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, with the first candle being lit at sundown on Sunday, Nov. 28.

The holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the historic temple in Jerusalem following the Jews’ victory over a larger Syrian army in 165 BCE. It is the only Jewish holiday associated with a military victory.

The date varies between late November and late December because the Jewish religious calendar is based on the cycles of both the Moon and Sun.

In the United States, the holiday has evolved into a time for giving gifts to children and friends, and in some ways has become a Jewish alternative to Christmas.

This year, many celebrations will remain virtual, but others will take place in person with social distancing or outdoors.

Liberty Station in partnership with the Chabads of Downtown San Diego and Pacific Beach will host a public menorah lighting in the central promenade on Sunday, Nov. 28, at 5 p.m. The family-friendly festivities will include music and the traditional lighting of the menorah.

The San Diego Jewish Journal offers an online list of holiday activities.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.