9 Joyous Events to Celebrate Chanukah in Westchester
Ring in the holiday season with these concerts, menorah lightings, celebrations, and more!
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Happy Chanukah to all our fellow latke lovers here in Westchester! Festivities come early this year, with the first night of Chanukah arriving at sundown this Sunday, December 2. To celebrate, Westchester is gearing up for a week-plus of fun ways to mark the festival of lights!
Kick off the holiday with one of the county’s biggest holiday traditions, Irvington’s annual Chanukah Village, presented by Chabad of the Rivertowns! Main Street will be transformed into a magical village complete with rides, stories, music and entertainment, crafts, seasonal refreshments, and even a “gelt drop.” The Chanukah Village is free and open to all ages from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., culminating with a menorah lighting at the end of the day.
If music is more your thing, Chabad of Bedford is bringing in the big guns: the Maccabeats will be performing at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center. 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 Chanukah. Tickets are available for $18 per child and $36 per adult. ($72 for front section VIP seats.)
Cross County Shopping Center is partnering with Chabad of Yonkers for their annual Menorah Lighting starting at 6 p.m. 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 Chanukah (and your goyim friends, of course).
Head to Pelham on Wednesday for Chanukah on Fifth. Chabad Pelham has lined up and evening of festivities for the whole family, including building a giant LEGO menorah and other crafts, music, latkes and other refreshments, booths, and a fire truck gelt drop that’s not to be missed! Chanukah on Fifth is free to the community and begins at 5 p.m., with the musical act, menorah lighting, and gelt drop beginning an hour later.
Yonkers’ own Stew Leonard’s will host its own annual Menorah Lighting Celebration beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Youth of Scarsdale Synagogue will lead traditional singing, after which Stew’s will light up their huge 21-foot menorah. Guests will then be invited inside for latkes, jelly donuts, and hot cocoa and juice!
Later in the evening in Mamaroneck, world-renowned klezmer band The Klezmatics will be performing a truly remarkable show at the Emelin Theatre: Grandfather of the American folk scene Woody Guthrie, after marrying the daughter of famed Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt, wrote an entire collection of Chanukah songs that sat essentially forgotten for 30 years after his death. Pulled from the archives by his daughter Nora, she tasked the Klezmatics to write music to accompany her father’s lyrics, thus creating a unique piece of modern and historical American music. “Happy Joyous Hanukkah, Lyrics by Woody Guthrie” will be performed at 7:30 p.m., with tickets starting at $32.
Temple Israel of New Rochelle has a terrific Friday planned with their Community Chanukah Celebration. The night kicks off with Chanukah Song Fest at 5:30 p.m., featuring some of the temple’s youngest, followed by Shabbat Services at 6 p.m., including music and singing and of course the lighting of the menorah. Dinner will wrap up the night with latkes, jelly donuts, more music, and children’s activities like crafts, dancing, and “Maccabee dodgeball” which honestly makes us angry we’re not sitting at the kids’ table ourselves. Dinner starts at 7 p.m. and you can RSVP here. (Also be sure to check out the temple’s whole line-up of Chanukah celebrations, including hiking, play groups, charity and blood drives, and even “Latkes & Vodkas” for the 21-and-over crowd!)
In Mount Vernon, Sinai Free Synagogue will also be holding their ninth annual Fred Selsky Fundraising Chanukah Dinner & Festival. The evening starts out with a light snack at 6 p.m., followed by candle lighting, the choir, and participation from the temple’s religious school. A catered dinner of classic brisket, roasted chicken, salmon, and tons of latkes will follow at 7:45 p.m. (Don’t worry, veggie options are 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.
In Rye, Congregation Emanu-El will host Shabbat Family Dinner and Service beginning at 6:30 p.m. The latke dinner will be followed 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.
Bonus: A Little Something All Week Long
Located in Croton-on-Hudson, Temple Israel of Northern Westchester has put together a whole slew of activities to have to celebrating Chanukah in style, not matter which days you’re free. The youngest celebrants (age 5 and under, or so) can look forward to a morning of fun, food, and candle lighting on Sunday, December 2. Wednesday see’s a special event and dinner just for the temples middle-grades students, while Thursday marks the temple’s participation in The Fifth Night of Hanukkah Project, a movement encouraging acts of giving and charity during the holiday.
Sunday, December 7 sees the most events, beginning with a consecration in the morning honoring the Center for Jewish Learning’s newest students followed by a performance by Torah improve group The Bible Players out of Brooklyn, continues with the kick-off for the All Temple Food Drive (which runs through December 16), and closes out with a family potluck dinner at 5:45 p.m., candle lighting, and 7 p.m. Shabbat services.