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Hanukkah 2011

Fill all eight days of the Festival of Lights with holiday revelry.


World's Largest Menorah Lighting

Photograph: Courtesy Alicia Jo Rabins

Alicia Jo Rabin

Alicia Jo Rabins of Girls in Trouble

Photograph: Rodney Bedsole

Beer + Latke Hanukkah Celebration

Photograph: Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art

Lisbon's Hebrew Bible

"Lisbon's Hebrew Bible: Medieval Jewish Art in Context"


Sephardic Music Festival and Heebonism

Photograph: Courtesy Jeff Strank

The Ball

The Ball

Photograph: Courtesy The Jewish Museum

"An Artist Remembers: Hanukkah Lamps Selected by Maurice Sendak"

Photograph: Steve Gullick

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

RECOMMENDED: Guide to Hanukkah in NYC

Night One, Tue 20:
World's Largest Menorah Lighting
Go big on the first night of Hanukkah as the 4,000-pound, 32-foot-tall gold-colored lamp at the southeast corner of Central Park is lit. Israeli artist Yaacov Agam designed the structure, which holds the Guinness World Record for its superlative size and requires a crane to illuminate its candles. Grand Army Plaza, Fifth Ave at 59th St (fifthavenuebid.com). Tue 20--Thu 22, Sun 25--Tue 27 5:30pm; Fri 23 at 3:30pm; Sat 24 at 8:30pm.

Night Two, Wed 21:
Girls in Trouble
This art-rock band, the brainchild of Brooklyn violinist Alicia Jo Rabins, plays songs about the women of the Torah from its self-titled 2009 debut and last spring's Half You Half Me. The performance is presented in conjunction with an ongoing exhibition celebrating another accomplished Jewish woman, "Emma Lazarus: Poet of Exiles." Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, 36 Battery Pl at 1st Pl (646-437-4202, mjhnyc.org). 7pm; $15, seniors and students $12, members $10.

Night Three, Thu 22:
Beer + Latke Hanukkah Celebration
Brooklyn Brewery staffer Dan Moss will bring the beer and 92YTribeca chef Russell Moss (Dan's uncle) will provide the gourmet latkes—crispy kale and carrot pancakes served with a hops-heavy reduction, for example. Test your wits and wrists with Hanukkah trivia and dreidel competitions. Meanwhile, Rabbi Dan Ain will be on hand to handle questions concerning faith. 92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St at Canal St (212-601-1000, 92ytribeca.org). 7pm; $22, advance $18.

Night Four, Fri 23:
"Lisbon's Hebrew Bible: Medieval Jewish Art in Context"
Like their Christian contemporaries, Jewish communities commissioned exquisite illuminated manuscripts during the Middle Ages. See one of the most stunning examples, the Cervera Bible, a late 13th-century Bible from Spain that is currently on loan from the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal. This example of Hebrew imagery survived despite the expulsion of Jews from both Spain and Portugal at the end of the 15th century. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-570-7710, metmuseum,org). Tue--Thu, Sun 9:30am--5:30pm; Fri, Sat 9:30am--9pm. Closed Sun 25. Suggested donation $25, seniors $17, students $12, members and children under 12 free. Through Jan 16.

Night Five, Sat 24:
Sephardic Music Festival and Heebonism
While others spend their evenings dreaming of sugar plums, stay up all night dancing to global beats. Shemspeed and Heeb magazine curate this Christmas Eve double bill, in conjunction with the Sephardic Music Festival, that starts with legendary Israeli singer-songwriter Miki Gavrielov performing (7pm). Stick around as Brooklyn-based DJ—and Shemspeed founder—Diwon mans the decks for Heeb's late-night rager (10:30pm). Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St at Thompson St (212-505-3474, lepoissonrouge.com). Sat 24 at 7pm; Miki Gavrielov "The Founding Father of Israeli Music" $25; Heebonism $15, advance $10; both events $43, advance $38.

Night Six, Sun 25:
The Ball 2011
While more than 4,000 partyers are expected to shuttle from clubs such as Hiro, Marquee and the Park in stretch SUVs on Saturday 24 for mega singles mixer the Ball, we're excited for the next day's bash held on the Dream Downtown's ritzy PH-D Lounge (355 W 16th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves). Scope out the Meatpacking District's skyline from the 12th-floor penthouse perch, as you and a few hundred of your closest friends dance to DJ Louie Mole's selection of R&B and hip-hop. Locations vary; visit letmypeoplego.com for details. Sat 24, Sun 25 8pm; $30, two-day pass $55.

Night Seven, Mon 26:
"An Artist Remembers: Hanukkah Lamps Selected by Maurice Sendak"
The Jewish Museum gave Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak free rein to handpick menorahs from the institution's collection. The 33 examples Sendak chose date from the 18th through 20th centuries and feature sculptures of whimsical animals entwined around the candle holders, as well as more stark examples that reminded him of the Holocaust. Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave at 92nd St (thejewishmuseum.org). Mon, Tue, Sat, Sun 11am--5:45pm; Thu 11am--8pm; Fri 11am--4pm. $12, seniors $10, students $7.50, children under 12 free. Through Jan 28.

Night Eight, Tue 27:
8 Nights of Hanukkah with Yo La Tengo
Close out the Festival of Lights at the final performance in Yo La Tengo's Hanukkah-long run. The annual rite attracts the band's famous friends and fans to its native Hoboken. As in previous years, guest performers won't be announced in advance; however, writers Robert Sietsema and Jonathan Lethem, comedians Eugene Mirman and Todd Barry, and musicians David Byrne and the National have dropped by in the past. Maxwell's, 1039 Washington St at 11th St, Hoboken, NJ (201-653-1703, maxwellsnj.com). Tue 20--Thu 22, Sun 25--Tue 27 8:30pm; Fri 23, Sat 24 9pm; sold out.

See Early Hanukkah parties

Early Hanukkah parties

Pre-game for the Festival of Lights with these holiday bashes.

Eight Days More: A Les Misrables Tribute to Hanukkah
Tablet magazine's Rachel Shukert sets new lyrics to Les Mis's Tony Award-winning score to tell the tale of Judah Maccabee and his heroic fight against High Priest Jason. (Who knew that there were barricades in the Holy Land, too?) Musical numbers include "Temple on a Mount," "Empty Seats at Empty Theaters" and "At the End of Judea." 92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St at Canal St (212-601-1000, 92ytribeca.org). Dec 15 at 7:30pm; $20-$25.

Cheryl Does Chanukah at the Jewish Museum
Members of the raucous party-planning and performance-artist collective Cheryl will don Hanukkah-inspired costumes in addition to their feline headgear at this bash. Grab a mask or a pair of hologram glasses (while supplies last), hit the open bar between 8 and 9pm, and then hit the dance floor, where DJ Nick will be spinning. Be sure to catch video projections, which will splice cat, dance and Hanukkah-themed images in between photos of the museum's collection. The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave at 92nd St (212-423-2300, thejewishmuseum.org). Dec 15 at 8pm; $12-$15.

Major League Dreidel
Last year's champ, Juspin Bieber, will defend his title, if not his name (it's indefensible), during this fifth annual tournament. Both first-timers and MLD heavyweights can go toe to toe at the Spinagogue, a Star of David--shaped game board, for a chance to win gold foil--covered chocolate coins. While waiting for the main event, listen to heavy-metal band Gods of Fire play from its Hanukkah Gone Metal album, including MLD anthem "No Gelt, No Glory!" Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave at Havemeyer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (majorleaguedreidel.com). Dec 17 at 6pm; $10--$15.

The 5th Annual Menorah Horah
Burlesque duo Schlep Sisters (Minnie Tonka and Darlinda Just Darlinda) retell the Hanukkah story, taking a few titillating liberties to describe holiday traditions from latkes to family feuds. Comedian Seth Herzog hosts the evening, while other scantily clad stars, such as Shiragirl, Anita Cookie and Sarah Screamss, add some extra sass. DJ Mel Huckabee's mix of '80s and Hanukkah music will accompany the booty-shaking onstage. Highline Ballroom, 431 W 16th St between 9th and 10th Aves (212-414-5994, highlineballroom.com). Dec 17 at 8pm; $15--$25.

Third Annual Latke Festival
Indulge in your seasonal fried favorites from restaurants Mile End, The Plaza, Veselka Bowery and Kutsher's Tribeca. While the chefs will sweat over hot oil for a chance to become Latke Festival Master, you'll be able to sample the savory treats. Then root for your favorite, as author Cathy Erway, former New York Times restaurant critic Mimi Sheraton and current New York Times scribe Melissa Clark decide the winner. To enter your own potato-pancake recipe, e-mail it to info@ediblebrooklyn.com. The top entrant gets a Breville 5-quart mixer and the opportunity to compete against the culinary bigwigs. Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-636-4100, greatperformances.com/latkefest). Dec 19 at 6:30pm; $30.

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