By: Ariel Kahan  | 

YU To Hold 97th Annual Hanukkah Dinner Virtually On Sunday Night

Yeshiva University will be hosting its 97th annual Hanukkah Dinner virtually at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5. While this event was initially supposed to take place in person, YU made a decision several months ago that the dinner should be held virtually “out of an abundance of caution” for COVID-19.

The event, known as "The YU Tonight Show," is free and open to the public. The evening's guests include President Ari Berman, CBS Mornings Co-Host Gayle King and Italian Opera Tenor Andrea Bocelli. While the event will go live on Sunday at 5 p.m, the program will be recorded and available for viewing until the end of the calendar year. 

As stressed in the event's invitation, this annual dinner is intended to be a significant fundraiser for the institution. These funds support the university's greatest needs, including scholarships, faculty and facilities. In past years, the event has raised millions of dollars, with five million raised in 2018 and 5.6 million raised in 2019. A link to donate is included in the invitation. 

The event was originally supposed to take place at the Plaza Hotel in Midtown but was shifted to a virtual format as a precautionary measure. "We care deeply for the health and safety of the Yeshiva University community," said Senior Executive Director of Strategy and Partnerships Ellen Finkelstein. "In discussion with the university's leadership, our administration felt that it was appropriate and safer to hold the dinner virtually for one more year.”  

YU also held last year’s Hanukkah Dinner virtually due to the pandemic. While this year's announcement came as a surprise, Finkelstein believes that there are many benefits: "Holding our dinner this way allows us to include many more people than we are able to in person. We are pleased to include anyone who wishes to join – there are no barriers of entry to view the dinner program."

While this event is being held virtually, YU has held many other events in-person throughout the pandemic including last year’s Yom Ha’Atzmaut program, selichot, basketball games and addresses by speakers, including the recent visit by Sheikh Mohammed Al-Issa. 

Photo Caption: The YU Tonight Show

Photo Credit: Yeshiva University