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Celebrate Hanukkah in Westchester at These Joyous Events


The festival of lights kicks off with Hanukkah happenings in Westchester, including menorah lightings, family fun, and plenty of latkes.

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 Monday, November 29. To celebrate, Westchester gears up for a week-plus of fun ways to mark the festival of lights.

Monday, November 29

Cross County Center will host its annual first-night Grand Menorah Lighting on Monday at 6 p.m., featuring live music from The What’s Up Band, gelt, hot latkes, donuts, spinning dreidels, and more.

For a more adult-focused evening, swing by Temple Israel of New Rochelle for Latkes & Vodkas. The returning favorite — now with a second date on December 1 — is sort of like getting together with all your favorite relatives to make holiday dinner the night before a big feast. Fry up a massive amount of latkes for the temple’s Chanukah Celebration on December 3, nibble a few here and there, and all the while sip plenty of everyone’s favorite potato-based distilled spirit. Attendance is open to all vaccinated adults from the temple, Chavaya, Kehillah, and Camp Pinebrook.

Wednesday, December 1

Chabad of Yonkers will also present the annual menorah lighting at the Boyce Thompson Center on North Broadway on December 1, also with donuts and gelt.

Want to avoid the crowd? No problem! Join the Menorah Car Parade at 6 p.m. Tuesday to bring light and jubilation to the streets of Yonkers. Leaving from City Hall, the procession will follow a police escort through the city streets all the way to Nahmias et Fils Distillery. (And yes, they’ll stick a menorah on your car for free!)

Thursday, December 2

In Croton-on-Hudson, Temple Israel of Northern Westchester will host the village’s annual Hanukkah Celebration starting at 5 p.m. The temple will light its massive menorah as the village lights its Christmas tree (or “Hanukkah Bush,” as my father was fond of saying). Cantor Lauren Fogelman and the temple choir will perform for guests, who can also enjoy gelt, hot chocolate, and popcorn.

Friday, December 3

Head to Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford for a Night of Light celebration. The evening will include gourmet latkes, craft beer and sparkling beverages, a hot cocoa and donut truck, bonfire hot dogs and s’mores roast, Hanukkah arts and crafts, telescopes for viewing the lights above, and family photos at the “Wall of Light.” Services start at 6 p.m., followed by the free festival, which is open to the public.

Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester, in Rye, will host its Shabbat Service Menorah Lighting on Friday, both in person and via Zoom. The event is “B.Y.O.M.” or “Bring Your Own Menorah,” where guests can light their treasured family menorahs on the bima surrounded by congregants, joyful music, and also much light and merriment.

Remember all those latkes you made on Monday? Temple Israel of New Rochelle’s official Chanukah Celebration kicks off at 5:30 p.m., meaning now’s your chance to eat them. The party starts with a sing-along, followed by hot chocolate and apple cider with traditional jelly donuts and a community menorah lighting at 6 p.m. After shabbat service, pick up a preordered “grab & go” dinner and a Hanukkah activity bag.

Sunday, December 5

On the theme of community service during the holiday, Temple Israel will also cohost a blood drive from 9 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at Beth El Synagogue Center.

Congregation Emanu-El will hold a kid-friendly Young Family Celebration at 10:45 a.m., filled with songs, crafts, stories, and community fun fit for children up through Grade 2.

From noon until 1 p.m. back in Croton, Temple Israel will hand out sweet treats in a Hanukkah Donut Drive-By. You can preregister online.

Close out your Hanukkah celebrations at Untermyer Park’s Annual Menorah Lighting at 4:15 p.m. Donuts and gelt will be provided, along with a spectacular view of the menorah backed by the majestic Hudson River.

Read More: Where to See Santa in Westchester County This Holiday Season