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A drive-through Hanukkah light experience is coming to Cincinnati

Rockwern Academy

Hanukkah is the festival of lights so it's only fitting Cincinnati is finally getting a drive-through Hanukkah lights display.

Rockwern Academy is transforming its parking lot into an illuminated Hanukkah display Nov. 28 - Dec. 2 and Dec. 4.

"We're excited to do a Hanukkah display, in part, because there are displays for other holidays at this time of the year," says Rabbi Laura Baum, head of the school. "Even though Hanukkah is a relatively minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, it just seems like an opportunity to have our own special drive-through display for the Jewish community as well."

The event boasts white and blue holiday lights, inflatables, Hanukkah decorations, student artwork on a giant screen, and a special soundtrack of Rockwern students singing Hanukkah songs.

Baum says some people may be surprised to realize Christmas isn't the only holiday this time of year that's traditionally marked with festive lights.

"I think that while Christmas is more traditionally celebrated with holiday lights, there's certainly not a monopoly on that," she says. "We're really excited about taking a Jewish holiday that has its origins as a festival of lights and bringing some light to that holiday as well for people to see."

Hanukkah marks the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem inthe second century BCE after Judah and the Maccabees defeated and drove out the Greek army. When they went to light the temple's menorah, there was only enough oil for one night. However, the oil miraculously lasted eight days.

The eight-day holiday begins this year on the evening of Nov. 28 and lasts through Dec. 6.

As far as she knows, Baum says, this is Cincinnati's first drive-through Hanukkah lights display.

"I think it's just a wonderful opportunity during this winter season where it's getting dark earlier in the evening to have something festive to do. It's an amazing opportunity to just have some fun and joy and to learn a little bit about Hanukkah for people who might not know about it... see some of the symbols of Hanukkah menorahs and dreidels, and to hear some of the Hanukkah songs," says Baum. "It's really a learning opportunity and we hope people of all backgrounds and interests will come and partake in this experience."

The event is free and open to the public. It runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 28 - Dec. 3 and also Dec. 4 at Rockwern Academy at 8401 Montgomery Road. Cars should enter on Sturbridge Drive.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.