In the midst of a pandemic that’s changed the face of holiday entertainment, the latest addition to an ever-growing roster of drive-through experiences stars the leader of a Jewish revolt from the second century BCE.
This week, Judah Maccabee joins mischievous elves and animatronic dinosaurs as part of a drive-through boom aimed at limiting the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Maccabee—or more specifically, an actor portraying the Jewish priest who led the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire from 167 to 160 BCE—will lead Angelenos through the story of Hanukkah in a first-of-its-kind live reenactment, titled Maccabees: A Drive-Thru Chanuka Experience, from December 9 through 13 in DTLA.
The 30-minute program is the brainchild of Rabbi JJ Duchman and wife Frumie, whose nonprofit, Power of Youth L.A., offers Jewish enrichment programs and events for children as a way to spark their imaginations and bring Jewish history to life.
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The Festival of Lights interactive experience will include special effects, live performers (maintaining a minimum of six feet from vehicles), keepsakes, and photo opportunities. Guests will be required to stay in their vehicles and wear face masks at all times.
The goal of the multimedia show is to transport guests to a time when Judah Maccabee and his band of brothers fought King Antiochus IV to combat Hellenism and preserve the Jewish faith.
“With so many entertainment industry actors affected by the financial devastation of the pandemic, we’ve enlisted amazing talent, including many who work at Universal Studios [theme park], such as special effects experts, audio-visual engineers, and actual actors,” JJ Duchman says.
The Duchmans are all about experiential learning: “As the pandemic hit and schools successfully transformed their educational curriculum into remote platforms, we realized that educators were struggling to offer experiential learning,” he says. “We believe that as powerful as education is, when a child can feel something and see it with their own eyes, it has a much more lasting impact.”
Maccabees: A Drive-Thru Chanuka Experience opens Dec. 9. Tickets are $99 per vehicle for up to seven guests per car.