Hanukkah Events Around Philly and the Main Line
Hanukkah may be later than usual this year, but there are still plenty of celebrations happening locally.
Hanukkah, the festival of lights, is the major Jewish holiday that falls in December. It may not be the most religiously significant of holidays, but it’s still celebrated by Jews the world over, with a series of traditions that include dreidels, menorahs, potato latkes and, as Adam Sandler sang, “instead of one day of presents, we get eight crazy nights.”
Due to a quirk of the Jewish calendar, Hanukkah is unusually late this year, with the first night falling on Christmas Eve and the holiday wrapping up on New Year’s Day.
Here are some events to look forward to around Philadelphia this Hanukkah:
The Please Touch Museum will celebrate Hanukkah on December 29. Free with admission, the event will feature both dreidel games and a klezmer performance from the West Philadelphia Orchestra, and noon and 2 pm. (4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia)
That same orchestra will also bring its klezmer stylings to the Philadelphia Art Museum, on December 23, as part of the “Art After 5” series. (2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia)
Rittenhouse Square will host its annual lighting of the Hanukkah menorah at 5:30 p.m. December 27.
Boathouse Row will be lit white and blue for Hanukkah between December 24 and 31, for the first time ever, with the different boathouses representing different candles of the menorah.
Suburban Square will hold its annual menorah lighting on December 25 at 4:30 pm, followed by a Hanukkah Wonderland event inside the former City Sports store. (At Anderson and Coulter Avenues, Ardmore)
For the first time, Franklin Square’s annual holiday event will include a Hanukkah celebration, on December 23 at 5:30 pm, featuring dreidels, latkes, and much more. (200 6th St., Philadelphia)
On Christmas Day, the National Museum of Jewish History will hold a daylong event called “Being ___ at Christmas,” an “annual day of family fun” encouraging Jews to spend Christmas day any way they see fit. Among the day’s activities are crafts with the Clay Studio and live music from Alex & the Kaleidoscope. (101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia)
Also on December 25, the Kaiserman JCC hosts its annual family day and Hanukkah Blast from 9 am — 5 pm. You can buy latkes, decorate a menorah, play games, see a kids’ movie, and of course, snag some gelt. A community candle lighting is at 4 pm. This event is open to anyone. (45 Haverford Road, Wynnewood)
Get a sitter for the Moo Shu Jew Show, an annual Christmas Eve comedy show that combines a celebration of the first night of Hanukkah with a pair of established Jewish traditions: Comedy and Chinese food on Christmas. Headliners include comics Julie Goldman, Josh Gondelman, and Avi Liberman. The event is presented by the Gershman Y and takes place at the Ocean Harbor Restaurant (1023 Race St., Philadelphia).
Photograph by Gwyneth K. Shaw.