In the dark of this Sunday evening, a candle will shine brightly at the Tabernacle, marking the start of the festival of Hanukkah. The celebration begins at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 18.

Events continue later in the week at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven, with a Hanukkah Carnival on Wednesday, Dec. 21 and Havdalah on Saturday, Dec. 24. as well as virtual gatherings, through Dec. 25.

Rabbi Caryn Broitman of the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center will lead Sunday’s event at the Tabernacle.

Rabbi Broitman noted that Hanukkah originates in two stories. The earliest is of a fight against repression of religious freedom, found in the Book of Maccabees. The Talmud tells of a miracle taking place inside the temple 600 years later, when purified oil for the Torah’s eternal light burned for eight nights instead of just one.

“What we take from those two stories is a message to resist oppression,” Rabbi Broitman said. “There are many examples of resistance, including the Exodus story and the civil rights movement. We have what’s happening today in Ukraine and around the world. The stories unite us.”

She continued: “The best way to resist oppression is to make connections and work together. We need a sense of hope. The miracle is felt when things look bleak and a door just opens for us.”

Working together is one of the reasons why the congregation is returning to the Tabernacle this year, she added.

“We’ve been welcomed so warmly and graciously by the Camp Meeting Association,” Rabbi Broitman said. “It feels inspiring to have a relationship with another faith community, for our communities to practice in our own particular heritage but be in relationship with each other. Plus, there’s a wonderful tradition of being outside for the winter holidays.”

Guitarists Eric Johnson and Anthony Esposito will lead participants in song on Sunday, with latkes provided by Alex and Kate Salop and their family, as well as Nancy Salon. As per tradition, sufganiyot will also be served. 

A full schedule of Hanukkah events can be found at