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Family Hannukah Celebrations in New York City

Family Hannukah Celebrations in New York City

New York City is buzzing during the holiday time, and the celebration of Hannukah is no exception.  Whether it be a massive candle lighting with hundreds of other New Yorkers or Family Day at the Jewish Museum with art and music, you and your children will have many opportunities to celebrate and learn and celebrate the holiday.  Here are some of the offerings this year, some you may have of heard of, some new additions to the holiday schedule.  Some are in Brooklyn, most are in Manhattan.   They are all fabulous ways to celebrate the holiday with your family.

Family Hanukkah Celebration
Sunday, December 4th, 2:30 pm

The family-friendly Macaroons perform some of their greatest hits, including “Hurry Up and Light the Candles” and “Dreidel Bird” to get kids pumped up for the Festival of Lights. Stay later for a Hanukkah-themed craft session.
For more info, go here.

Family Art Fair at Hannah Senesh Community Day School
Sunday, December 11th 1pm-4pm

This Sunday enjoy 15 or more activities for toddlers, pre-schoolers, elementary school age, kids and adults, organized by age appropriateness. Activities will include:  Hanukkah multimedia mobiles with Aura Shahaf, Workshop with Folk Art Museum, Construction with ConstructionKids, Create Origami Hearts with Michael Mut, Card Making Workshop, Wire Sculpture Making, Paper Doll Making with Dumbelle, Clay with Hand-building with Amani Ansari, Knitting with La Casita, The crafts fair will showcase jewelry, candles, soaps, knits and other gifts from various community artists. Items can be purchased in time for the holidays! Details: Hannah Senesh Community Day School  342 Smith Street btw 1st and 2nd place. 718-858-8663

Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Saturday, Dec 17th, 2:30pm

Explore the culture and traditions of Hanukkah. Discover how people around the world celebrate this holiday and create a Hanukkah-inspired craft to take home. Details: FREE with museum admission, ages 6-12 145 Brooklyn Avenue  (718) 735-4400

Chanukah Celebration at Hannah Senesh Community Day School
Sunday, December 18th 9:45 am
On Sunday, there will be a Yellow Sneaker Sing- a 45 minutes of an interactive singalong with puppets, combining original songs, oldies, and traditional children’s music. Sing, clap, dance, and shake your sillies out! All ages. Details: $10 per family. Hannah Senesh Community Day School  342 Smith Street btw 1st and 2nd place. 718-858-8663

Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum
Sunday, December 18th, 12-4pm

Museum admission is $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, $7.50 for students, free for children under 12 and Jewish Museum members.
The Jewish Museum will present Hanukkah Family Day, a fun-filled day of activities, on Sunday, December 18th from 12-4pm.  The day’s line-up includes a performance by musician Ben Rudnick, drop-in art workshops with a children’s book illustrator and inspiration by the works of Ezra Keats and family guides to the special exhibition, An Artist Remembers: Hanukkah Lamps Selected by Maurice Sendak and to Hanukkah lamps on view in the museum’s permanent exhibition, Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey. Details: 1109 Fifth Avenue  at 92nd Street, New York, NY 10128 (212) 423-3200

Poppy Seed Players: Latkes & Applesauce  at Merkin Concert Hall
Sunday, December 18th, 11 am,  For ages 4 and up.

Merkin Concert Hall’s annual family Hanukkah revue celebrates Hanukkah in the city. This family-friendly musical play includes songs and scenes by some of New York’s funniest writers, including a Hanukkah version of A Christmas Carol, a mother and daughter making latkes together, a parody of “American Idol,” the story of “Thomas, the Shammus” and the rousing Klezmer-inspired title tune.  Details: Single tickets: $20 Call for tickets at 212-501-3330 or buy them online. 129 West 67th Street  (212) 501-3300

History Illuminated Family Program at the Museum at Eldridge Street
December 18 & 25, 1pm

Hunt for history in the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue. Find the oldest object, sit on the most expensive seat in the house ($1,100 back in 1887!), and investigate Eldridge Street’s Victorian lighting and stunning stained glass. Create a gift to share with others during the holiday season.  Details: $15 per family.  For children ages 5 and up.Go online for more info or call 212-219-0302.  12 Eldridge Street (212) 219-0302

Cultural Celebration of Chanukah at Kings Bay Y
Sunday, December 18th from 10 am-12 pm
This celebration will feature fun family activities including: a glow-in-the-dark dance party with live DJ, a drum circle, storytelling, sing-a-long, arts and crafts, raffles and other activities for families! Free giveaways include: dreidels, glow sticks, latkes, and toys for the kids.  The children from their After School Program ask that you please bring a non-perishable food item for them to donate to charity. Details: Free. Sunday, December 18th from 10 am-12 pm at Kings Bay Y at Windsor Terrace. 1224 Prospect Ave (on the corner of Vanderbilt)  Contact: 718-407-6377 or

My Yiddishe Chanukah: A Musical Feast for New York by the National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene
Sunday, December 18th at 12pm
The world-renowned National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene celebrates the Festival of Lights with a free Chanukah concert featuring the fresh and distinctly New York sounds of Yiddish music. Set beneath the Winter Garden’s 100,000 holiday lights, the show will combine traditional holiday melodies, hot klezmer tunes, and more.
The show is part of the World Financial Center’s month-long holiday festival of dance, music, theater, and storytelling, which includes free performances by the New York Theatre Ballet, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and more.
Details: World Financial Center Winter Garden, 220 Vesey Street, New York City: 212.945.0505

EMJC Hanukkah Celebration
Sunday, Dec. 18th from 11 am – 2 pm

There’s going to be the annual latke-making challenge.  The competing latkes will be served at 12:00. There’ll also be music, singing, and art activities.  Families are also invited to participate in a dreidel-making exhibit and competition.  Help your child, grandchild, or other young person create a home-made dreidel that’s bursting with creativity.  The dreidel does not have to spin, but it must contain the four correct letters placed in the right order.  All entries must be brought to EMJC by
12:30.  Judges will announce the winners at 1:30.  Top prize is $100, with other prizes as well.  Contact for more details. Details: EMJC is located at 1625 Ocean Ave. (betw. K & L).

Hanukkah on Ice in New York City at Trump Wollman Rink
Tuesday, December 20th, 6-9pm

The Yeshiva Maccabeats will be singing on ice under the stars in Central Park at Trump Wollman Rink in Central Park.  Kosher food will be served and a giant ice-carved ice menorah will be lit.  Details: $25 at the door (adult), $20 (child); $22 online (adult), $18 (child) tickets online. 830 5th Avenue,   (212) 439-6900

Latkes + Vodkas
Tuesday, December 20th, 7pm

Join other Generation R-ers for our annual Hannukah celebration.  This year, watch a specially selected, award-winning film as part of the Russian-Jewish Cinema film festival, shining a light on Russian-Jewish artists. Details: $15 member, $20 non-member JCC, 334 Amsterdam Avenue  at 76th Street  (646) 505-4444

World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting
Tuesday, December 20th – Wednesday, December 28th Friday at 3:30pm, Saturday at 8:30pm and 5:30pm on
all other days
The miracle of Hanukkah takes on even greater significance for kids as they look upon the 32-foot, 4,000-pound, golden candelabra that grandly takes the spotlight near Central Park on the corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street.  At the beginning of the holiday, a celebration will include live music, singing and folk dancing, “Chanukah Gelt” for the children and hot latkes for everyone. FREE Details: Grand Army Plaza, Fifth Avenue at 59th Street

Grand Army Plaza Menorah Lighting
Tuesday, December 20th -Wednesday, December 28th
Christmas trees don’t get to have all the fun. After all, Hanukkah is the festival of lights. This massive 32-foot tall, two-ton menorah will be lit every night of the holiday. Details: Intersection of Vanderbilt and Flatbush Avenues. Free

Borough Hall Court House Menorah Lighting
Tuesday, December 20th at 5 pm
A special night in front of the Borough Hall Court House as  Marty Markowitz lights the Giant Menorah. There will be free Gifts for all children, Hot Latkes & Donuts, followed by a concert in the court house with ” UNCLE MOISHY”- children’s performer & entertainer. For more information please contact 718-595-4840 X 25. A project of Chabad of Brooklyn Heights, Kiddie Korner Preschool & Congregation B’nai Avraham
Details: The Borough Court House is at the corner of Monroe and Pierrepont in Brooklyn Heights. Directions and subway locations here.

92nd Street Y Hannukah Fun
Tuesday-Tuesday, Dec 20th-27th, 4:30 pm (There will be no lighting for the Hanukkah Menorah on Dec 24th and Dec 25th)

Bring your dancing shoes and singing voices and end the celebration with Hanukkah chocolate gelt candies.
Lexington Avenue and 92nd Street 1395 Lexington Avenue  (212) 415-5500

The Fifth Night Brooklyn – A Hanukkah Party and Charitable Gift Giving Celebration
Wednesday, December 21st, 6:30-7:30pm
The Fifth Night is a fun, simple, age-appropriate way for young children to participate in Tzedakah, the Jewish tradition of charity, by giving one night of their Hanukkah gifts away to another child in need. This year we’re thrilled to be partnering with Little Essentials, a community based non-profit (started by a local, Fort Greene-area mom!) that provides free baby and toddler (to age 4) clothing, furniture and other essential items to Brooklyn, NY families living in poverty. After gift collecting, a communal candle lighting, some songs and a shared treat (dinner will not be served), a representative from Little Essentials will speak briefly to the children, thank them for their gifts, and describe how their donations will impact the recipients and their families. With the little ones in mind, we will be sure to keep the presentations short, and easy to understand. Details: Bija Kids Clinton Hill, 900 Fulton Street. Space is limited, so reserve your spot now:

Klez for Kids Family Concert at the Museum at Eldridge Street
Sunday, December 25th, 1pm
If you’re Jewish and wondering what to do with your kids on Christmas Day, head to the beautiful Eldridge Street Synagogue where you can all sing and dance to Yiddish music at the Museum’s annual family concert.  Clarinetist Greg Wall and his band Klezmerfest will lead the audience on a musical tour of Eastern European Jewish culture ending with a festive audience-enacted shtetl wedding. Details: 12 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10022 (212) 219-0888 $12 adults; $8 students and seniors; $6 children under 12

Family Concert: The Macaroons
Sunday, December 25 at 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm

Enjoy the big harmonies, irresistible melodies and a guitar-based sound that recalls everything from the Kinks, to Queens, to the Shins. Tickets required. Details: The Jewish Museum. Full details here including ticket prices.


Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Holly Rosen Fink has spent the last 15 years in NYC working in all facets of media, from MTV to the world of traditional and online publishing.  Now working as a consultant  in Westchester, she blogs about travel, theater, film, art, books, advocacy and more at The Culture Mom .  She has two children, ages 5 and 7, who share her culture addiction.