Menorah lighting at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn in 2016; Credit: Chabad of Park Slope / Chabad.org
The Jewish Festival of Lights starts early this year, running from sunset on Sunday, November 28 through Monday, December 6. To mark Hanukkah, several organizations in New York City are hosting menorah lighting ceremonies and events throughout the eight-night holiday. Ahead, find a celebration near you, from the rival “world’s largest” menorahs near Central Park and Prospect Park to a menorah made of ice at the Seaport.
Menorah lighting near Central Park; Photo credit: Chaim Perl/ Chabad.org
Central Park & Prospect Park
In 1973, Rabbi Shmuel Butman erected a 32-foot-tall menorah at the southeastern corner of Central Park and Fifth Avenue. About a decade later, Rabbi Shimon Hecht built a menorah of the same height at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, resulting in a decades-long competition between the rival menorahs, both of which claim to be the “world’s largest.” In 2006, the Guinness Book of World Records named the Fifth Avenue menorah as the “World’s Largest Menorah.” A settlement was officially reached in 2016 when a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinical court weighed in on the matter and gave the title to Butman’s menorah.
Both menorahs will be lit to mark the first night of Hanukkah on Sunday.
Sunday, November 28: 5:30 p.m.
Monday, November 29: 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, November 30: 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 1: 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 2: 5:30 p.m.
Friday, December 3: 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 4: 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 5: 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 28: The kickoff event begins at 4 p.m.
Monday, November 29: 6 p.m.
Tuesday, November 30: 6 p.m.
Wednesday, December 1: 6 p.m.
Thursday, December 2: 6 p.m.
Friday, December 3: 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 4: 7:15 p.m.
Sunday, December 5: 5 p.m.
The Seaport’s Hanukkah celebration; Photo: Jane Kratochvil
On the first night of Hanukkah, the Seaport is hosting a celebration for the whole family. On November 28, there will be artists crafting a menorah out of giant blocks of ice, kid-friendly winter-themed and Hanukkah activities and crafts, and a menorah lighting come sundown.
Chanukah on Ice at Central Park’s Wollman Rink
After a pandemic-related hiatus, Chanukah on Ice returns to Central Park’s Wollman Rink on Monday, November 29. In addition to ice skating under the stars, there will be live music and kosher food like doughnuts and latkes. A massive menorah hand-carved of ice will be lit by “a Jewish celebrity,” according to the event website. General admission plus skate rental costs $30.
Abingdon Square Park
Organized by the Chabad of the West Village, the Abingdon Square Park menorah lighting returns this year. The lighting takes place on December 5, the last night of Hanukkah, and involves a community celebration featuring live music from jazz band Sammy Miller and the Congregation, a parachute gelt drop, entertainment for kids, and tasty treats like donuts and latkes. RSVP for the free event here.
Chanukah on 5th Avenue
The Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District and the Chabad of Park Slope are hosting a menorah lighting ceremony on Sunday, December 5 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Taking place at the J.J. Byrne Playground at the corner of 4th Street and 5th Avenue, the event includes music, giant games, donut decorating, and snacks.
Gantry Plaza State Park
On Wednesday, December 1, the JCC-Chabad of Long Island City and Astoria welcome the community to a Chanukah celebration on the Queens waterfront. The festivities take place at Gantry Plaza State Park and include an ice menorah carving, a performance from Chabad Hebrew School, live music, and donuts, chocolate gelt, and other treats.
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