Hanukkah 2012 events: Parties, shows and things to do on Hanukkah

There's more to Hanukkah 2012 than just candles and fried food. Mark the Jewish Festival of Lights with Broadway, beer and more.

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Menorah Horah

Menorah Horah Photograph: Clint Hild


This year, Hanukkah 2012 doesn’t overlap with that other well-known December holiday, Christmas: It takes place from sundown on December 8 until sundown on December 16, giving you eight days full of music, latkes, dreidels, booze, burlesque and some stale gelt (chocolate coins) left over from last year. Here’s where to celebrate.

RECOMMENDED: Guide to Hanukkah in NYC

A Chanukah Charol

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Comedian and Broadway vet Jackie Hoffman—most recently she played Grandmama in The Addams Family—reprises her one-woman semiautobiographical take on Dickens’s classic Christmas novel. Hoffman plays every role in the hit show, delivering kvetchy comedic monologues and riffing on Jewish identity. TONY Theater associate editor Adam Feldman describes it as “one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in a theater.” Take your parents when they insist on visiting, and finally solve the mystery of exactly how many things rhyme with oy vey. jackiehoffman.com. $39.50–$59.50.

  1. New World Stages 340 W 50th St, between Eighth and Ninth Aves
  2. Sat Jan 3
More info

The Eight Nights of Hanukkah with Yo La Tengo

  • Critics choice

Every year, the indie-rock trio returns to Hoboken to tear it up with surprise guest performers in tow. Though the lineup changes annually, the shows usually feature a mix of YLT’s own songs, covers, traditional Hanukkah tunes and comedy sets (H. Jon Benjamin and Jon Glaser made appearances last year). Tickets for all eight crazy nights have already sold out, so either hit up StubHub or mark your iCal for next year’s dates. Sold out.

  1. Maxwell's 1039 Washington St, at 11th St
  2. Sat Dec 20
More info

Hanukkah Family Day

  • Price band: 1/4

At the Jewish Museum's celebration, little revelers can decorate dreidels, craft Hanukkah lamps and use the stories of Ezra Jack Keats for scene-inspired artwork. Don't miss a performance from Ben Rudnick and Friends or the museum's iconic collection of Hanukkah lamps. Ages 3 and up.

  1. The Jewish Museum 1109 Fifth Ave, at 92nd St
  2. Sun Dec 14
More info

Delancey to Doughnuts: A Lower East Side Chanukah Tour

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Meet at the LESJC Kling & Niman Family Visitor Center, 400 Grand St at Suffolk St Prep for Hanukkah by joining the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy on a two-and-a-half-hour walk. The tour visits the ’hood’s historic synagogues and ends with gratis coffee and sufganiyot (traditional jelly doughnuts). Go to nycjewishtours.org for more information.

  1. Location TBA
  2. Until Sun Dec 1
More info

Menorah Horah

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Want to spend the holiday with some hot Jewish girls—most of whom aren’t wearing clothes? Hosted by Sherry Vine and judged by burlesque stalwarts the Schlep Sisters (Minnie Tonka and Darlinda Just Darlinda), this event welcomes everyone from honorary Jews to “bacon-loving heebs,” so expect a crowd that’s almost as rowdy and diverse as the performers. The pageant-style event features Little Brooklyn, the Evil Hate Monkey and others battling it out for the title of brightest candle on the menorah. $20–$35 plus $10 minimum. Purchase half-price tickets through December 6, 2012 at ny-offers.timeout.com/deals/hanukkah-burlesque.

  1. Highline Ballroom 431 W 16th St, between Ninth and Tenth Aves
  2. Sun Dec 14
More info

West End Synagogue Chanukah Celebration

  • Price band: 1/4

Celebrate the Festival of Lights with the West End Synagogue! Featuring a performance by singer-songwriter Michelle Citrin (star of viral YouTube videos "Rosh Hashanah Girl" and "20 Things to Do with Matzah"), Chanukah crafts for kids and delicious latkes and chocolate gelt. All ages.

  1. West End Synagogue 190 Amsterdam Ave, at 69th St
  2. Sun Dec 14
More info

Chanukah on Ice

  • Price band: 2/4

Families can celebrate the Festival of Lights by taking a spin around the ice rink in Central Park and watching as a giant ice menorah is lit for the first night of Hanukkah. A light dinner, donuts and hot beverages are included in the evening's festivities. All ages.

  1. Trump Wollman Rink Central Park, enter at W 59th St at Sixth Ave, 10065
  2. Mon Dec 2
More info

Fourth Annual Latke Festival

  • Critics choice

The beloved fried potato pancake takes center stage at this Jewish comfort-food jamboree. Chefs from 16 local restaurants—including A Voce, Balaboosta and Veselka—descend on BAM to vie for the ultimate latke award, judged by a panel that includes Brooklyn Flea cofounder Eric Demby and Saveur senior editor (and former TONY Food & Drink editor) Gabriella Gershenson. In addition to latkes, nosh on mini bialys from Hot Bread Kitchen and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) from Dough. Plus, an open bar serves beer from Shmaltz Brewing Company, vodka and wine, as well as Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee and fermented drinks from Kombucha Brooklyn. Profits will be donated to the Sylvia Center for childhood nutrition.

  1. BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building 30 Lafayette Ave, between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St
  2. Mon Dec 15
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Gail Simmons: Latke Sizzle

  • Critics choice

Top Chef judge Gail Simmons talks with James Beard Foundation executive vice president Mitchell Davis about the joys of Jewish food, including the fried potato pancake. A latke tasting and vodka pairing follow.

  1. 92nd Street Y 1395 Lexington Ave, between 91st and 92nd Sts
  2. Tue Dec 16
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The Big Quiz Thing's Christmahanukwanzayear Spectacular

  • Critics choice

Noah Tarnow serves as host and MC at the holiday edition of his long-running multimedia quiz show, where your impressive stash of trivial knowledge (or ability to come up with smart-alecky witticisms) just might snag you a $200 grand prize. EDP serves as the between-round DJ.

  1. Littlefield 622 DeGraw St, between Third and Fourth Aves
  2. Tue Dec 11 - Wed Dec 12
More info

Beer and Latkes Hanukkah Celebration

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce are for amateurs. Instead, try chickpea latkes with peanut butter and frankincense, or yucca with sour cherry and anise. Freelance craft brewer Dan Moss, formerly of Brooklyn Brewery, and 92YTribeca head chef Russell Moss (nope, they’re not related) will team up to pair carbs for the fifth year. Tickets include at least five beer-and-food pairings; there’s also some traditional candle-lighting and dreidel-spinning, plus the Y’s rabbi-in-residence Dan Ain will lead a round of Hanukkah trivia. $25, advance $22.

  1. 92YTribeca 200 Hudson St, at Canal St, 10013
  2. Thu Dec 18
More info

Major League Dreidel Target Tops Tournament

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Stop taking your relatives’ money and find a worthy opponent at this annual showdown where the stakes are big and the prizes—a crystal dreidel trophy, apple-and-honey vodka and a year’s supply of chocolate gelt—are even bigger. This year is the first doubles tournament, so find a friend, pick a team name and register your pairing at info@majorleaguedreidel.com by Wednesday, December 12, 2012 (entries will be capped at 16 teams). Proceeds benefit Playworks, a nonprofit that works to end playground bullying while also encouraging kids to be more physically active. If you’re already plotting a 2013 victory, you can buy the at-home board-game version, Spinagogue ($29.99, moderntribe.com) and practice year-round. Pay-what-you-wish.

  1. Full Circle Bar 318 Grand St, between Havemeyer St and Marcy Ave
  2. Until Mon Nov 25
More info

Matisyahu: Festival of Light

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The former Hasidic reggae superstar has shed his beard and side curls, but he hasn’t dropped his annual Hanukkah concert series. His Festival of Light tour hits New York on the final night of the holiday. Expect to hear some of his biggest hits and traditional Hanukkah tunes, as well as tracks from his 2012 album, Spark Seeker. $35.

  1. Terminal 5 610 W 56th St, at Eleventh Ave
  2. Sun Dec 8
Buy tickets

The Jewish Museum

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The Jewish Museum, housed in the 1908 Warburg Mansion, contains a fascinating collection of more than 28,000 works of art, artifacts and media installations. The two-floor permanent exhibition, “Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey,” examines how Judaism has survived and explores various Jewish identities throughout history. There is also a permanent exhibit specifically for children: The Café Weissman serves contemporary kosher fare.

  1. 1109 Fifth Ave, (at 92nd St)
More info


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