On a clear night of Hanukkah, look to the east: You should be able to see what looks like a menorah lit up across the Hoan Bridge.
The sight is this year’s Hanukkah on the Hoan (Nov. 28-Dec. 5), a ceremony in which support beams of the bridge are lit up with flickering red, orange and yellow lights to represent the flames of menorah candles. Each night of Hanukkah, a new beam on the bridge will be lit, until eight are “burning” together.
“It’s a breathtaking and an amazing experience,” says Jeff Jones, of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
This new tradition was born out of necessity last year during the pandemic. The Jewish Federation wanted to find ways for the community to celebrate together without gathering in person and decided on the bridge display.
It also allows the group to share the faith’s traditions with the entire city. “This is not only for the Jewish community – this is for the Milwaukee community,” Jones says. “It’s an opportunity to spread light, hope and unity.”