You may not have been aware, even (especially?) if you’re Jewish, but Hanukkah starts this weekend, on December 8. Hanukkah, for those who come from less Hebraic areas of the country, is a Jewish holiday celebrating their glorious victory over Roman forces occupying Israel and the miracle of a single jug of oil lasting eight days. What can we say, people were more easily amused back then. Because of its proximity to Christmas, Hanukkah has ended up involving gift giving and lights and ethnic food, although latkes and jelly doughnuts beat ham or whatever it is the goyim have any day of the week. If you’re far from home for the holiday and want to make your mother kvell, check out these Hanukkah events around the borough.
Grand Army Plaza Menorah lighting
Grand Army Plaza
December 8, 7pm. December 9-13, 6pm. December 14, 3:30pm. December 15, 7pm
A menorah is basically a religious candelabra. Because ancient Israelites were able to light the one at the temple in Jerusalem for eight days using only one jug of oil, Jews celebrate Hannukah for 8 days and light a candle on the menorah every night until we hit 8. So don’t worry if you can’t come out for the first night, or the third night of this public menorah lighting, you have six other days to catch it. The Park Slope Chabad is sponsoring, and will be providing doughnuts, latkes and dreidels to people who show.
Jewish Children’s Museum (792 Eastern Parkway, Crown Heights)
Programs run each day from December 9 to 16
Obviously, from the venue, these events are going to be geared more towards kids. But hey, you’ve gotta take your fire spinning, doughnut customization and interactive olive oil making workshops where you can get them.
Kings Bay Y at Windsor Terrace (1224 Prospect Avenue, Windsor Terrace)
Sunday, December 9, 10am – 12pm, FREE
Yes, there’s a glow-in-the-dark dance party. No, you should not bring any ecstasy, this is another kid-centric celebration. Still, you could do worse for the kinder than this party, which also has a drum circle, arts and crafts and raffle.
Hannukah with Golem
Cameo Gallery (93 North 6th Street, Williamsburg)
Saturday, December 8, 8pm, $10
Get a taste of the old country with folk-punk band Golem, who play the kinds of songs your grandparents danced to in Poland, if they somehow had mohawks in 1913. Even better, some of the songs are in Yiddish.
Matzah Mania 2012
Taous Club (1814 Coney Island Avenue, Midwood)
Sunday December 9, 9pm, $25
Here’s the thing to keep in mind: despite the fact that the dominant cultural archetypes for Jews are people like Woody Allen or Gary Shteyngart, we like to party as much as anyone else. People are going to be into bottle service no matter which religion they follow. Except for the ones that specifically rule out drinking we guess. Anyway, ignoring the fact that the party is named after a Passover food, this party will feature a set from stand up comic Yohay Sponder, fire dancing, Israeli Top 40 hits, LASERS and jelly doughnuts, all of which are keys to any good Hanukkah celebration.