Where a Menorah?
New Orleans lights up for the holidays. Of course, we're talking about Celebration in the Oaks, Luna Fête, and the Roosevelt Hotel's Christmas tree lobby lights, but that means menorah lights for the Festival of Lights as well.
This year, Hanukkah occurs from Thursday, December 7 to Friday, December 15. You've probably heard about the miracle of the oil—how there was only enough to light a temple for a few hours and it magically lasted eight full days and that's why we light the menorah. But did you know that eating fried foods is another (delicious) way to celebrate the oil? Have you ever spun a dreidel? Have you eaten gelt or gold coins made of chocolate? Did you know that a small group of Jews really fought a massive Syrian-Greek army in order to defend their temple and their faith? Have you heard that Hanukkah is linked to the winter solstice because it is also about finding light in dark times?
Hanukkah is a holiday of reflection, of joy, of dedication, of generosity, and, of course, of food. Here are ways to celebrate around New Orleans this December.
Sunday, December 3
For a pre-season celebration and a donation to a good cause, mark your calendars for the Jewish Children's Regional Service's 9th Annual "Latkes with a Twist." Dinner will be served by James Beard award winning chef and philanthropist Stephen Stryjewski, who will be joined in the kitchen by NOCCA culinary program students. There will be live music and an open bar serving wine, beer, a vodka latke punch, and a Buffalo Trace old fashioned Hanukkah highball. General admission tickets are $54 per person in advance, $75 at the door. If you are under 35, advance tickets are offered at a discount of $36.
Press Street Station: 5 Homer Plessy Way
Tickets can be purchased at jcrs.org.
Monday, December 4
A more intimate craft event, Btesh Family Chabad Lubavitch of Louisiana's Jewish Women's Circle is having a "DIY Resin Menorah Workshop," taught by local multi-media artist, who originated in Belgium, Nathalie Dubois. For $25, you can hand-pour your own flower-filled resin menorah.
Chabad Lubavitch of Louisiana: 7037 Freret St.
Reserve your seat at chabadneworleans.com.
Tuesday, December 5
For another crafty event, head to the Metairie Jewish Community Center from 4:30 to
7 p.m. to be a part of LEGO Marathon: The World's Tallest Menorah out of LEGOs. Founder of Building Blocks Workshops, Architect Stephen W. Schwartz is not playing around, even though it's with LEGOs. He created the program to encourage large group activities around model building, encouraging everyone to think like an architect.
Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus Gym: 3747 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie
For more information, visit: jewishnola.com/calendar.
Thursday, December 7
For an impressively large non-LEGO menorah, head to the Spanish Plaza at Riverwalk Outlets between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m, for the Chabad-Chanukah Menorah Lighting. Bring your friends and family to admire the 11-foot-tall menorah that will be lit this year for the 34th time. There will be activities for everyone, games for the kids, kosher food, klezmer music, sweets, and treats. This event is free and open to the public.
Riverwalk Spanish Plaza: 3 Poydras St.
Be sure to visit jewishnola.com/calendar.
Saturday, December 9
The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans' Challah Day Party is Jewish Next Gen's biggest event of the year. Happening from 7 to 10 p.m. at Margaret Place, this is a rooftop space with a massive hot tub, so if you were wondering when you could wear your bathing-suit-under-cocktail-attire-outfit, this is that occasion. Enjoy the open bar and Chanukah noshes, dance to the DJ, and mingle.
Margaret Place: 1133 Margaret Pl.
Tickets range from $18-36 at jewishnola.com/challahday.
Sunday, December 10
Grammy-nominated artist Matisyahu is performing at the Uptown Jewish Community Center for the fourth night of Hanukkah, and everyone's invited. The JCC's annual Community Chanukah Celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. is fun, family-friendly, free, and is open to the public. Expect fried delectables, singing, dancing, and menorah lighting to go with the jams.
New Orleans JCC: 5342 St. Charles Ave.
Learn more about it at nojcc.org/events.
Monday, December 11
Celebrate Hanukkah with the Pelicans. From 7 to 9 p.m., you can watch the Pels play against the Minnesota Timberwolves and join Chabad in lighting the menorah at halftime. There will be Jewish musicians, breaking of bread on the court, kosher food options at the stadium, and Morris Bart, 'cause you might need an injury attorney when you try those Zion Williamson moves at home.
Smoothie King Center: 1501 Dave Dixon Dr.
Get tickets at smoothiekingcenter.com.
Wednesday, December 13
Join conservative congregation Shir Chadash from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. for their Ugly Sweater Hanukkah Trivia Party. They'll have a latke bar, sufganiyot, hot chocolate, and adult beverages. There will be prizes for the trivia winners and ugliest holiday sweater wearer.
Congregation Shir Chadash: 3737 W. Esplanade Ave. N., Metairie
See it marked on the calendar at shirchadash.org/calendar.
Friday, December 15
Last but, by far, the funkiest, Melvin Funkenstein's Hannukah Funkstravaganza will be blowing the roof off the Maple Leaf Bar starting at 10 p.m. Major heavy hitters will be there: Andriu Yanovski (Boogie T.rio, David Shaw, GRiZ), Ari Teitel (PJ Morton, Iggy Pop), Tony Hall (Dumpstaphunk, Harry Connick Jr.), Alvin Ford, Jr. (Dumstaphunk, Trombone Shorty, Ghost Note), Aurelien Barnes (Preservation Hall, The Rumble), and Brad Walker (Sturgill Simpson, Stanton Moore, Honey Island Swamp Band). This is going to be the funkiest night of the season.
Maple Leaf Bar: 8316 Oak St.