Where to Celebrate Chanukah Around Philadelphia

Boathouse Row
Boathouse Row

Temperatures are dropping. Chestnuts are roasting. Mariah Carey is singing about what she wants for Christmas (aka you).

This year, however, you can eat your Chinese food and celebrate Chanukah at the same time as the first night falls on Christmas Eve this year. To get the eight nights of celebrating started, here are a few events going on around the city that will get your dreidel spinning.

Thursday, Dec. 22

Start off the holiday early with a little service to the community as well as your stomach.

Get in the giving (and baking) spirit with Congregations of Shaare Shamayim as they bake cookies at 2 and 7 p.m. for their Holiday Cookie Project. The baked goods will be distributed to hardworking EMTs, nurses and doctors on Dec. 25 at 10 a.m. To sign up to bake, deliver or both, call 215-677-1600. 9768 Verree Road, Philadelphia.

Later Thursday night, the Young Friends of the National Museum of American Jewish History will gather for Cocktails and Candles at 7 p.m. The pre-Chanukah Chanukah celebration will feature — in addition to latkes, of course — “a specialty cocktail, wine and beer, and Chanukah-inspired hors d’oeuvres.” Plus a silent auction and 50/50 raffle. More information can be found at nmajh.org. 101 S. Independence Mall E, Philadelphia.

Friday, Dec. 23

For some pre-Chanukah fun, check out some of these:

Head out to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for its Art After 5 event, the Festival of Lights Concert, with klezmer music by the West Philadelphia Orchestra starting at 5 p.m. This event, co-sponsored by Temple University’s Feinstein Center, is free with museum admission. philamuseum.org/artafter5. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.

Join in a pre-Chanukah celebration at Old York Road Temple-Beth Am with festivities starting at 6 p.m. with a pre-Chanukah dinner featuring plenty of latkes and applesauce. An intergenerational Shabbat service will follow, after which you can enjoy an oneg with festive desserts like sufganiyot and children can make their own edible dreidels. Reservations required. 215-886-8000. 971 Old York Road, Abington.

Congregation Beth Or is taking the Festival of Lights to a new level with a glowstick family Shabbat starting at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner, the first annual Latke-Off Latke Tasting Contest and fun Chanukah games.

To RSVP or enter the latke contest, head to bethor.org. May the latke odds be ever in your flavor. 239 Welsh Road, Maple Glen.

For some citywide fun, Franklin Square will host a free event filled with holiday games and crafts from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and a chance to see the Square’s grand Electric Spectacle. Festive clothes encouraged. 200 N. Sixth St., Philadelphia.

Saturday, Dec. 24

On the first night of Chanukah, there are a few events to head to for lights and libations.

The Germantown Jewish Centre presents Klezmukah with the Ken Ulansey Band and dance master Steve Weintraub. Start out with a latke dinner at

6 p.m. followed by a candle lighting and singing and finish out with a music and dance party. (Advance registration required.) Kids programs for different age groups include a Disney movie night and murder mystery glow-in-the-dark dance party. Find out more at germantownjewishcentre.org or 215-844-1507. 400 W. Ellet St., Philadelphia.

For the younger crowd, the Chevra is sure to have One Crazy Night with its 12th annual Chanukah party for those in their 20s and 30s. Starting at 9 p.m. and going all night long, enjoy live music plus a Chinese dinner (because of course), open bar and cocktails, Chanukah-style sufganiyot and chocolate gelt, candle lighting and more. Perfect for grad students and young professionals. Be sure to wear cocktail attire. Check chevra.net for tickets and information. 2002 Ludlow St., Philadelphia.

Or if you’re more into lo mein, check out the eighth annual Moo Shu Jew Show at Chinatown’s Ocean Harbor Restaurant presented by the Gershman Y. This year’s lineup of comedians includes Julie Goldman, Josh Gondelman and Avi Liberman. The event starts at 6 p.m. and is likely to sell out. But check gershmany.org or call 215-545-4400 for tickets and information.

Sunday, Dec. 25

In between movies, continue the Chanukah celebration with a few big bashes.

Temple Beth Ami will hold its annual Chanukah party starting at 10:30 a.m. There will be games, music, food and fun for all who attend. Visit tbaphilly.com or 215-673-2511. 9201 Old Bustleton Ave., Philadelphia.

Fill in the blank at National Museum of American Jewish History’s annual “Being ___ at Christmas.” Storytime, crafts, live music, face painting — all this and more during the museum’s all-day event starting at 10:30 a.m. For ticket information, visit nmajh.org. 101 S. Independence Mall E, Philadelphia.

South Street Headhouse District invites the neighborhood to a public menorah lighting in celebration of Chanukah starting at 7 p.m. And at 7:30 p.m., join in Historic Congregation B’nai Abraham’s annual Latkas & Vodkas Party. Per the event description, there will be homemade latkes and you can warm yourself up with a selection of vodkas and kosher wines. For tickets, head to latkasandvodkas.eventbrite.com.

Monday, Dec. 26

Your chance to have fun in Parkway traffic begins at 4 p.m. with the March of Lights, Lubavitch of Greater Philadelphia’s annual car menorah parade, billed as the world’s largest. The route will take participants from Benjamin Franklin Parway at 22nd Street to Independence Hall, where the first public menorah lighting in modern American history took place in 1974. For more information, call 215-725-2030.

Tuesday, Dec. 27

Later in the week, there are still celebrations to be had.

Center City Jewish Preschool will host its annual Chanukah party at the Ethical Society at 4 p.m. featuring an interactive performance by Lolly and Yo Yo, arts and crafts, latkes and refreshments. At 5:30 p.m., move into Rittenhouse Square for the annual menorah lighting, accompanied by a few words from community leaders and some refreshments. Register at jewishpreschool.org. 1906 Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.

Wednesday, Dec. 28

Keeping the Chanukah party going, from 6 to 8 p.m., Congregations of Shaare Shamayim will host its annual Chanukah bash with entertainment, latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts). No charge. Entertainment with the Harlem Hoopsters (not the Globetrotters). 215-677-1600. 9768 Verree Road, Philadelphia.

Thursday, Dec. 29

Other city institutions are getting in on the fun as the holiday goes on.

At the Please Touch Museum, “spin a dreidel and get in the holiday spirit” with a rousing klezmer performance by the West Philadelphia Orchestra. Performances are at noon and again at 2 p.m. This event is free with museum admission. 215-581-3181. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia.

Later that evening, join Mayor Jim Kenney at the Fairmount Fish Ladder on MLK Drive for the sixth night of Chanukah, as Boathouse Row continues to be lit up like a menorah and the sixth house will be illuminated at 6 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to come out to celebrate.

Contact: mstern@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0740


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