Hanukkah for NYC Kids 2012: Parties, Performances and Giant Menorahs
You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy a festive Hanukkah celebration (it's not like there's a quiz at the door). This year, the Festival of Lights arrives a good two weeks before that other December holiday, giving it a nice chunk of time in the spotlight. In honor of Hanukkah, we've rounded up family fetes featuring singing, dancing, latke eating, dreidel spinning and menorah lighting.
Although the holiday officially starts on the evening of Saturday, December 8, you can enjoy Hanukkah happenings even before those eight crazy days and nights kick off.
The Flying Latke – Tribeca
The Flea Theater, 41 White Street between Broadway and Church Streets
Saturdays, December 1, 8 and 15, and Sundays, December 2, 9 and 16 at 11am
This offbeat Hanukkah play by Arthur Yorinks (best known for his Caldecott Medal-winning book Hey, Al) features the meshugge Silverstein family, who cause a UFO panic after one of their potato pancakes is thrown out the window during a holiday food fight (hey, it happens).
Hanukkah Festival – Upper East Side
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
Sunday, December 2 at 10:30am
$15 for children, $10 for adults
At this hands-on fete, you'll decorate dreidels and cookies, craft candles and even make your own olive oil while listening to songs by Shababa Mamas in both English and Hebrew. The Y encourages families to bring unwrapped gifts for its 92Y Hurricane Sandy Gift Drive.
Hershel's Hairy Hanukkah – Battery Park City
Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, 36 Battery Place near First Place
Sunday, December 2 at 10:30am
Free with admission: $12 for adults, free for children under 13
Israel-born musical storytellers Maya Blank and Uri Sharlin of Play Me a Story performs a piece about the Festival of Lights for the preschool set. Refreshments will be provided.
World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting – Upper East Side
Grand Army Plaza, Fifth Avenue at 59th Street
Saturday, December 8-Saturday, December 15: Friday at 3:30pm, Saturday at 8:30pm and 5:30pm on all other days
Christmas trees don't get to have all the fun. After all, Hanukkah is the festival of lights. This massive 32-foot tall, two-ton menorah will be lit every night of the holiday.
Grand Army Plaza Menorah Lighting – Park Slope
Intersection of Vanderbilt and Flatbush Avenues
Saturday, December 8-Saturday, December 15 at dusk
Each night of the holiday, the menorah will be lit and revelers can enjoy hot latkes, gifts for the children and live music.
Chanukah deLIGHT! – Crown Heights
Jewish Children’s Museum, 792 Eastern Parkway at Kingston Avenue
Sunday, December 9 10am-6pm
Celebrate the Festival of Lights with a full day of festive activities including fire spinning displays, olive oil pressing, doughnut decorating, deep-fried cookie demos and the lighting of the grand menorah. It's also a great day to check out the museum's interactive exhibits.
A Community Chanukah Celebration – Windsor Terrace
Kings Bay Y at Windsor Terrace, 1224 Prospect Avenue near Vanderbilt Street
Sunday, December 9 10am-noon
The Y marks the holiday with a glow-in-the-dark dance party, featuring a live deejay, a drum circle, storytelling, sing-alongs, and arts and crafts. Young revelers can snag free driedels, glow sticks and other toys, and chow down on piping-hot latkes. Although this fete is free, the Y asks that families bring nonperishable food items for donation to its after-school program.
JCP's Hanukkah Bash – Tribeca
Jewish Community Project, Citigroup, 388 Greenwich Street near Ericsson Place
Sunday, December 9 11am-1:30pm
$15 per person, $60 per family
Mark the holiday with activities, crafts, music, food and storytelling with this vibrant community organization. Groove to bands from the nearby Church Street School for Music and Art, play dreidel and Pictionary, participate in a latke cooking challenge, sing along with Jacob Stein from the Pop Ups, make your own menorah, get your face painted and more.
Family Hanukkah Happening – Lower East Side
Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge Street between Division and Canal Streets
Sunday, December 9 11am-2pm
$15 per family
Explore this lower Manhattan landmark and hear the story of Hanukkah. Afterward, eat, sing and play dreidel.
Poppy Seed Players: Judy and the Maccabees – Upper West Side
Merkin Concert Hall, 129 West 67th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue
Sunday, December 9 at 11am
Forget everything you learned in Hebrew School about Judas Maccabeus being an old man with a bunch of sons sent out to fight the Syrian Greeks. In this reimagining of the ancient tale, Judy is a spunky girl with a daring plan to free her people. See if it works (and if there's a miracle coming her way) in this lively musical.
Hanukkah Family Day – Upper East Side
The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street
Sunday, December 9 noon-4pm
Free with admission: $12 for adults, free for children under 12
Head to the Jewish Museum for an afternoon of Hanukkah-themed fun, including a make-your-own menorah craft sessions and live tunes by Yosi and the Superdads.
Hanukkah Dance Lesson and Party – Flushing
Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard near Linden Place
Sunday, December 9 at 1pm
$16 for adults, $12 for children
What do you get when you mix not-so-traditional Eastern-European Jewish music with more of the same from Turkey? Shtreiml, a five-piece band featuring diatonic harmonica (a.k.a. blues harp), trombone, drums, bass and clarinet. Come for a Middle Eastern dance lesson, and stay for the concert. Flushing Town Hall will donate 30% of the proceeds to restoration of the historic Free Synagogue of Flushing.
Chanukah Celebration – Upper West Side
West End Synagogue, 190 Amsterdam Avenue at 69th Street
Sunday, December 9 at 2pm
Suggested donation of $5 per person, $18 per family
The synagogue throws open its doors to the public for its annual community-wide celebration, with music, food, crafts and dancing galore.
Chanukah on Ice – Midtown West
Wollman Rink, Central Park, enter at Central Park South and Sixth Avenue
Monday, December 10 6-9pm
$22 for adults, $18 for children ages 3 to 13, free for kids under 3. Buy tickets in advance.
Hit the ice and skate to live Jewish music played by the Maccabeats. Other fun on tap includes kosher food and the illumination of a giant hard-carved ice menorah.
Chanukah Lobby Celebration – Upper West Side
JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street
Wednesday, December 12 9:30am-12:30pm
The lobby of the JCC is transformed into Hanukkah central. Families can play dreidel, do arts and crafts, decorate cookies and listen to a story at this drop-in program that's open to the public.
The National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene: My Yiddishe Chanukah – Battery Park City
Winter Garden at the World Financial Center, 220 Vesey Street at West Street
Sunday, December 16 at noon
Close out the holiday with a no-cost lineup of classic Yiddish songs and scenes from NYC's premier Yiddish theater.
Want more seasonal fun? Check out our Holiday Fun Guide.