Annual Menorah in the D goes virtual Thursday with new activities

Posted at 5:28 AM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 05:28:16-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — This year, the Jewish community can celebrate Hanukkah with events that promise connection and fun while staying safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of metro Detroiters will safely light their first Hanukkah light at the same time in their homes – virtually – as the large Detroit Menorah is lit in Campus Martius.

Hanukkah begins Thursday, Dec. 10 at sundown through Dec. 18.

Only a handful of dignitaries will be allowed to be at the Menorah on Thursday, including invited guests: Governor Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Representative Brenda Lawrence.

Rabbi Kraisel Shemtov, Vice President of Chabad-Lubavitch Centers in Michigan, and his presenting sponsors The Shul, Chabad Greater Downtown Detroit, and Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit will also have a small number of people to comply with COVID-19 protocols.

For the past 10 years, the lighting of a large menorah in downtown Detroit’s Campus Martius Park has attracted many enthusiastic participants of all ages. This year, Menorah in the D, presented by Chabad-Lubavitch Centers in Michigan, The Shul, Chabad Greater Downtown Detroit, and Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, will feature its traditional torch lighting of the menorah at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10.

Viewers will be greeted by community leaders and dignitaries and 10-year recap and the incredibly significant Torch Ceremony with honorees from Detroit and around the world. Then following the lighting of the Menorah, an afterparty on Zoom will bring the community together to share their lighting family celebrations together all beginning at 6 p.m.

Though Campus Martius is a public plaza, organizers are encouraging people to watch this year’s Menorah in the D from home instead of in-person.

The organization will honor individuals in our community who actualize the vision of sharing the light. The 2020 Lamplighters are:

  • Harve and Judy Disner, Coronavirus Survivor
  • Chaim Lieberman, Beaumont Hospital
  • Yochanan Polter, Project Chessed
  • Amanda Smith, Umatter
  • Andrew Lukoff & Madi Ishbia, Jarc, Ort, The Holocaust Center, NextGen
  • Richard and Harriet Cooper, Kelly Cooper Fund
  • David Sherman Family, Fisher Foundation
  • Dr. Darienne Hudson, CEO and President of United Way

Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers, and fried foods. The Hebrew word Hanukkah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple.

Here's a list of Hanukkah 2020 safe & joyous celebrations throughout metro Detroit!

Chabad of Huntington Woods
Public Menorah Lighting- Saturday, December 12 - 7 pm
Parking Lot by Main and 7th St

Chabad Jewish Center Royal Oak
Drive-In Menorah Lighting- Sunday, December 13- 4:30 pm

Chabad of Bingham Farms Drive-In Menorah Lighting
Franklin Community Park- Monday, December 14- 5:30 pm
To learn more, visit

Visit for more information and to register for a special Menorah in the D box of Chanukah-related items.