NEW YORK CITY — As final preparations are made before Hanukkah begins at sundown Saturday, DNAinfo.com New York has rounded up the best events in the city to kick off the eight-day festival of lights — from the world's largest menorah to reggae renditions of favorite holiday songs.
UPPER EAST SIDE
Hanukkah Family Day
Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street
Sunday, Dec. 9, Noon - 4 p.m., ages 3 and up
Construct your own menorah from found objects, create a colorful dreidel or get your groove on with the help of the children's band Yosi and the Superdads. For a more contemplative experience, explore the museum’s world-famous collection of Hanukkah lamps.
Free with museum admission, Adults: $12, Seniors/65 and over: $10, Students: $ 7.50, Children under 12: Free
"Hanukkah Fever" with the Mama Doni Band
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m.
Get your jam on with Mama Doni Band, a musical ensemble, which will appeal to the whole family and whose range includes reggae, pop and disco. Guests will receive a gift of Streit's matzo and gelt while they dance to songs like "Hanukkah Fever" and "La Vida Dreidel."
World's Largest Menorah Lighting
Grand Army Plaza, Fifth Avenue and 59th Street
Saturday, Dec. 8 at 8:30 p.m.
Witness the lighting of the world's largest menorah.
The event is free and open to the public.
UPPER WEST SIDE
Poppy Seed Players: Judy and the Maccabees
Merkin Concert Hall, 129 W. 67th St.
Sunday, Dec. 9 at 11 a.m.
This family-friendly play re-imagines the well-known holiday story. In this version, Judy is a "feisty young girl" who leaves her family to help the Maccabees in their fight to defend the Jewish faith. The show includes a final scene with the miracle at the Temple Menorah.
West End Synagogue's Hanukkah Celebration
190 Amsterdam Ave. at 69th Street
Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.
West End Synagogue, a Reconstructionist congregation on the Upper West Side, is hosting an afternoon of crafts, candle lighting and food. Israeli musical theater star Stav Meishar will headline the event with an interactive show.
Suggested donation:$5 per person, $18 per family
Hanukkah Lobby Celebration at the JCC
334 Amsterdam Ave. at 76th Street
Wednesday, Dec.12 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Perfect for families with young children, this event features crafts, stories and sing-a-longs. Drop in anytime and get in the Hanukkah spirit while taking a load off between errands.
This event is free and open to the public.
Hanukkah on Ice
Trump Wollman Rink in Central Park
Monday, Dec. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Ice skate to Jewish music, enjoy complimentary kosher food and join in the lighting of a giant handcrafted ice menorah.
Tickets: $22 for adults, $18 for children 3 to 13. Children under 3 years old are free.
RSVP here. Bring a printout of your receipt to enter faster. For rates for groups of 25 or more, email email@example.com.
"Kosher Gospel" Star Joshua Nelson and Hanukkah Family Activities
Metropolitan Synagogue, 40 E. 35th St.
Sunday, Dec. 9, family activities beginning at 5:45 p.m., concert at 7 p.m.
Take in a family-friendly Hanukkah puppet show before heading to a community menorah lighting and then to a groundbreaking concert by Joshua Nelson, who has invented a style of music he's calling "kosher gospel" — a marriage of Jewish religious lyrics and American gospel sound.
Tickets: $10 or $20 for seating in the first 10 rows. Call the box office at 212-679-8580 or purchase tickets online.
"Khanukah in the Kheights"
Beth Am, The People's Temple, 110 Cabrini Boulevard
Performances by internationally known klezmer artists Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi.
Tickets: $18 for adults, $10 for kids and students
Brooklyn's Largest Menorah Lighting
Grand Army Plaza (entrance to Prospect Park)
Saturday, Dec. 8 at sundown
Witness the lighting of this 32-foot-tall menorah and indulge in free latkes.
Free and open to the public.
Fourth Annual Latke Festival
Monday, Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m.
A host of favorite New York restaurants will participate in the fourth annual latke competition, including A Voce, Blue Ribbon Brooklyn, Fatty 'Cue and Norma's. There will be kombucha on tap as well as beer, wine and vodka. Winners will be chosen by famous Brooklynites and foodies.
Note that tickets will not be sold on site. The advance $55 ticket covers latkes and drinks including wine, beer and vodka.
Hanukkah deLIGHT at the Jewish Children's Museum
792 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
Sunday, Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Jewish Children's Museum offers out-of-the-ordinary Hanukkah experiences for families. The day starts with fire spinning by Dancing Djinn, followed by an interactive oil pressing workshop, and then it's time to customize your own doughnut. The day also features what will likely be the most popular event, a deep-fried cookie demonstration. Workshops continue throughout the week.
Tickets: General admission is $13, seniors are $10 and children under 2 years old can visit for free.
Astoria Center of Israel, 27-35 Crescent St.
Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m.
Join the Astoria Center of Israel for their annual Hanukkah festival, which features a communal candle lighting (attendees are encouraged to bring their own menorahs), dreidel games and latkes and apple sauce.
Tickets: Members: $10, Non-members: $12. Children ages 6 to 12: $5, children under 5 years old are free.
Hanukkah Dance Lessons and Party
Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard
Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m.
Try Middle Eastern dance lessons at the concert and then stay for a unique concert featuring nontraditional Eastern European Jewish music.
Tickets: $12 for members and $10 for member children, $12 for non-members and $12 for non-member children. There is a $2 discount for Holiday House Tour ticket holders.
Hanukkah Sunday Funday
1466 Manor Rd.
Sunday, Dec. 9 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
The JCC will provide shuttle transportation for children and families to local shelters to participate in Hanukkah activities with victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Reservations are requested and may be made by contacting Stephanie Feldman at 718-475-5200, ext. 1888, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open to all children of JCC members.