With large Hanukkah gatherings on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, divisions of the Orthodox Union have come together to create a centralized online hub with resources to guide community members in celebrating at home throughout the holiday, which begins on the evening of Thursday, Dec. 10 and continues through Friday, Dec. 18.

In light of the community’s extensive use of the OU’s “Chag at Home” platform, a coordinated effort was undertaken by OU Kosher, the OU Women’s Initiative, OU Torah Initiatives, OU Israel and the Karasick Department of Synagogue & Community Services to create at-home opportunities for both Torah inspiration and engagement for individuals and families.

OU Kosher will be providing a series of over a dozen, two-minute videos that address common questions related to the holiday, such as when to light the candles, what to do if a person forgets to say “Al-Hanisim” and more. The department will also focus its popular “Halacha Yomis” program on providing readers with the answers to frequently asked questions related to the eight-day holiday.

OU Women’s Initiative will launch a video series titled “Hanukkah Ideas and Inspiration,” featuring noted lecturers Michelle Sarna, Rivi Frankel, Sorah Shaffran and Rivka Foxbrunner.

OU Torah Initiatives will be launching a series of nearly 25 lessons. They will be available in a mix of audio, video and text offerings. The lectures will feature Torah luminaries, including HaGaon Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rabbi Zev Leff, Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman, Rabbanit Shani Taragin, Dr. Chana Tannenbaum and others.

OU Israel will provide child-friendly programming, including a series of six animated videos and engaging activity sheets to guide families looking to spend time together following the menorah candle-lighting each evening.

OU Karasick Synagogue & Community Services will provide a daily downloadable, easy-to-digest packet of Torah articles and essays that readers can print out to read or share each night.

“Due to the pandemic, numerous traditional aspects of the Hanukkah celebration will be different this year. It is nevertheless incumbent upon us to ensure that we derive the appropriate joy and inspiration from these holy and special days,” said OU president Moishe Bane.

Orthodox Union executive vice president Rabbi Moshe Hauer added that “while we are saddened that many of our usual communal and family gatherings will be disrupted this year, our hope is that many will visit the website and be inspired to spend time discussing the messages and meaning of the holiday.”

For more information or to access the website, click here.

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