Happy Hanukkah to all our fellow latke lovers here in Westchester! Festivities come early this year, with the first night of Hanukkah arriving at sundown this Sunday, December 22. To celebrate, Westchester is gearing up for a week-plus of fun ways to mark the festival of lights!
If you love kickin’ it to rockin’ rabbinical verse, Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford is bringing in the big guns: The Maccabeats will be performing live at 4 p.m. ahead of the temple’s Night of Light celebration at 5. Yeshiva University’s renowned a cappella group blends traditional holiday songs with hot new beats and a few more modern parodies that — dare we pun it — are absolute fire at Hanukkah. Tickets for the concert are available for $18 per person or $54 per family.
If you prefer a little more instrumentation, Rabbi Stacy and her house band will be busting out hits Rock Hanukkah in Armonk. Enjoy hits from Queen, Tina Turner, Steview Wonder, and more, all expertly selected to help tell the story of Hanukkah through 8 themes. Tickets are $25 (kids under 10 free), with 10% of prceeds going to benefit the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry.
Temple Israel of New Rochelle has a terrific Thursday planned with their Community Chanukah Celebration. The party actually kicks off for adults on the 15th and 17th with Latkes and Vodkas, where you can eat and drink some tasty treats while prepping potato pancakes for the congregations’s annual holiday party!
On Thursday, however, bring the family out for the annual Chanukah Song Fest at 5:30 p.m., featuring some of the temple’s youngest, followed by the official party at 6 p.m., with crafts and your choice of BYO dinner or ordered pizza.
In Rye, Congregation Emanu-El will host its Hanukkah celebration from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The latke dinner will be followed by Shabbat services featuring songs led by students of the congregation’s religion school and a BYOM (“Bring Your Own Menorah”) lighting so families can all join in on the ceremony. After, wind up for “Spinagogue,” the temple’s yearly dreidel spinning competition! Services are free; dinner will be $15 for children and $20 for adults ($60 family maximum). You can RSVP right on their site.
In Mount Vernon, Sinai Free Synagogue will also be holding their tenth annual Fred Selsky Fundraising Chanukah Dinner & Festival. The evening starts out with a light snack at 6 p.m., followed by candle lighting, choir, and participation from the temple’s religious school. A catered dinner of classic brisket, roasted chicken, salmon, and tons of homemade latkes will follow at 7:45 p.m. (Don’t worry, veggie options are also available!) Tickets range from $10 to $36 (kids under 5 eat for free), and donations are encouraged, as all funds raised will go to the school’s scholarship fund.
Kick off the holiday with one of the county’s biggest holiday traditions, the annual Chanukah City (née Chanukah Village — that’s urban sprawl for you), which is moving from Irvington to Ridge Hill this year. The event is a project between the shopping center and various Chabad groups across Westchester.
Try out the world’s first virtual reality Chanukah experience and enjoy some more of what this limited-time holiday setup has to offer, like a gelt drop, train ride with Judah Macabee, and menorah lighting at the end of the celebration. Festivities will take place between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and are free.
Cross County Shopping Center is partnering with Chabad of Yonkers for their annual Menorah Lighting starting at 6 p.m near NY&Company and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. Music, dancing, and delicious snacks will be available, and since you’ll already be there, you might as well get in some last minute shopping for the remaining six nights of Hanukkah (and your goyim friends, of course).
The White Plains Performing Arts Center has a special treat for families with young children, with a double performance of The Magic Dreidels, adapted for stage from the Eric A. Kimmel children’s book by Jenna Zark.
Following young Jakob, a goblin peddling enchanted dreidels, and the town busybody, the story is a fun and fantastical take on discovering the true meaning of the holiday. Tickets are $22 for adults and $17 for kids 12 and under.
Located in Croton-on-Hudson, Temple Israel of Northern Westchester has put together a whole slew of activities to have to celebrating Hanukkah in style, not matter which days you’re free. Join the temple for the first ever Village of Croton Hanukkah Celebration and Tree Lighting at Vasallo Park on December 5, spotlighting the TINR choir. Enjoy some latkes and make your own applesauce on December 11. The youngest celebrants (age 5 and under, or so) can look forward to a morning of fun, food, and candle lighting on Sunday, December 15, while older kids (grades 8-12) will have their own party night on Wednesday the 18th.
Head back to the park on the 22nd for the official Village Menorah Lighting with some holiday treats. All week long, from December 22-29, the temple will also be sheltering and providing meals for the homeless, forwhich volunteers and contributions are always needed and welcome.