ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) – For Wizards forward Deni Avdija, this year’s Jewish holiday of Hannukah is the first that he’s had to spend away from home and without his family.

Avdija had a small piece of home in the DMV Thursday, when he lit the menorah at Rockville Town Center in Montgomery County, celebrating the fifth night of Hannukah with the local Jewish and Israeli community.

“Those little things with the community, especially with the Jewish community, being far away from home, it’s not easy to celebrate the first Hanukkah out of home,” Avdija said after the menorah lighting. “I want to say thank you to the people who came here and supported me and light the menorah with me.”

Avdija chanted the Hannukah prayers, sang songs and answered questions from young and old fans in Hebrew, and signed autographs.

In his second NBA season with the Wizards, the 20-year-old forward is averaging 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game off the bench.