Thanksgiving, Chanukah events in Southern Jewish communities

Thanksgiving Interfaith Services

The Birmingham Southside Faith Communities Thanksgiving service will be Nov. 26 at noon, at Temple Emanu-El. Ministers and rabbis from area congregations will lead the service, and Temple Beth-El’s new rabbi, Randall Konigsburg, will be the speaker. Bridge Ministries will host a light soup lunch afterward.

In Dothan, the Interfaith Thanksgiving service will be on Nov. 26 at 6:30 p.m.

Huntsville’s Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will be at Faith Presbyterian Church, Nov. 24 at 5:30 p.m.

Through a friendship between Rabbi Scott Kramer and Pastor Susan Diamond in Interfaith Montgomery, Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem and First Christian Church will hold a joint Thanksgiving service. The service will have readings for Thanksgiving and Chanukah. Kramer hopes this will be the first step toward mutual programs and community service projects with the church. The service will be Nov. 26 at 6:30 p.m., at the shul.

Temple Beth Or in Montgomery has been holding interfaith Thanksgiving events for over a century. This year’s service is with two neighboring churches. It will be Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. at Church of the Ascension, and will also include First United Methodist Church. A reception will follow.

Pensacola’s historic downtown congregations will gather on Nov. 26 at 6 p.m., at B’nai Israel for a community Thanksgiving service. The service will feature music, poetry, scriptural readings, and a Thanksgiving themed homily.

In New Orleans, Temple Sinai will take part in the annual Uptown Interfaith Thanksgiving service, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m., at St. Charles Presbyterian Church.

Gates of Prayer in Metairie will celebrate “50 years of building respect between Catholics and Jews” and 39 years of friendship with St. Clement of Rome. The shared Thanksgiving service will be at the church, Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Alabama Chanukah Events

Beth Shalom in Auburn will host a community Chanukah party, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m.

The Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham will have a “Festival of Lights Southern Fried Chanukah Celebration” on Dec. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. Jewish agencies from around Birmingham will be cooking latkes in an attempt to win the prized title of “Latke Champion.” There will also be a World Series of Dreidel competition. Rules and entry forms are here. The dinner will include Gloria’s Southern fried chicken, latkes, cole slaw, mashed potatoes, and a special dessert. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for children and $32 for a family. Reservations can be made at the LJCC website.

The N.E. Miles Jewish Day School in Birmingham will have a Chanukah storytime, “The Case of the Missing Menorah,” for ages three and four at Barnes and Noble, The Summit, on Nov. 24 at 10:30 a.m. 

Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El will have the annual Sisterhood Latke Lunch on Nov. 24. There will also be a religious school Chanukah program at 11 a.m. and a Men’s Club blood drive starting at 9 a.m. The lunch is $10 for adults, $5 for children.

Birmingham’s Knesseth Israel will have a Chanukah bake sale with doughnuts made by the KI Kids, on Nov. 26 and 27 from 3 to 5 p.m. The Chanukah Latke Bar and Bingo Night will be Dec. 4 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., with at least five different varieties of latkes.

Chabad of Alabama in Birmingham will have its annual Ice Menorah lighting on Dec. 1 at 5 p.m., followed by a “social media Chanukah bash.” Cost is $10 for adults, $6 per child.

Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El will have its Chanukah Family Fun Day on Nov. 24 from 9:30 a.m. to noon, during which grades 4 to 6 will debut Chanukah-inspired films. Amy Saab will lead a crafts workshop for Thanksgivukkah tables. The event is followed by the annual Brotherhood Chanukah lunch and raffle at noon. Cost is $10 for adults, $4 for children under 12.

Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El will hold its annual Chanukah potluck on Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. Latkes, drinks and sufganiot will be provided. Reservations are due by Nov. 29.

In Florence, B’nai Israel will have its Chanukah service on Dec. 3 at 6 p.m., along with the annual dreidel spin-off. Latkes and other Chanukah treats will be served.

The “World Famous” Latke Party at Etz Chayim in Huntsville will be on Nov. 24, with bingo starting at 11:30 a.m. and lunch at noon.

Chabad of North Alabama will hold Latkes on Roller Skates, Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. at Skate Odyssey in Huntsville. The program includes an olive press demonstration, latkes, doughnuts, dreidels and gelt. Cost is $8 per person. Reservations should be emailed here.

State Rep. Phil Williams will be the special guest for this year’s Chabad public menorah lighting in Huntsville, Dec. 1 at 4:30 p.m. at Bridge Street Town Centre, next to the Apple Store.

Temple B’nai Sholom’s Huntsville Community Chanukah Menorah Lighting will be at Big Spring Park on Dec. 4 starting at 6:30 p.m. The choir, led by Marcia Bouska, will be singing Chanukah songs and the Menorah will be lit by Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar. Local dignitaries will also be in attendance.

In Mobile, the Springhill Avenue Temple’s Family Men’s Club dinner will follow the 6 p.m. service on Dec. 6. There will be a group menorah lighting, songs and the “famous Men’s Club latkes.” Reservations are $10 for adults, $5 for children, by Nov. 29.

The Eastern Shore Chavurah in Baldwin County will have its Chanukah party on Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m., at R&R Seafood on Battleship Parkway.

Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem Sisterhood in Montgomery holds its annual Hanukkah Hoopla fundraiser and Latke-Hot Dog Lunch, Nov. 17 at 11 a.m.

Temple Beth Or, Montgomery, will have a Chanukah celebration on Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m. The evening will start with a Chanukah service, and congregants are encouraged to bring their menorahs. The Sisterhood Latke Dinner follows, cost is $10 for adults; $6 for children ages 10 through 5; and children 4 and under are free. Dinner reservations are required by Nov. 29.

Every year, Temple Emanu-El in Tuscaloosa holds a Chanukah celebration on the first night of Chanukah. Because families have Thanksgiving plans, they will have a Seventh Night of Chanukah party. The family potluck will be Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. Congregants should bring a menorah and eight candles, an entrée, salad or dessert. Latkes and applesauce will be provided.

Florida Panhandle Chanukah Events

Beth Shalom, Fort Walton Beach
will have Family Chanukah Night on Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. Chuck London will tell the story of Chanukah, Robin Matheson will lead singing and there will be a “colossal” Menorah illumination. Congregants are encouraged to bring their own menorahs and candles for the third night.

Temple Beth-El, Pensacola
, will have its Chanukah celebration on Nov. 29 with a service at 6 p.m. Families should bring a Chanukiah to light in the sanctuary. A potluck dinner will follow, with congregants bringing a salad, side or dessert to share. The Men’s Club will provide latkes and the Sisterhood will provide chicken.

PJ Library and the Pensacola Jewish Federation will hold a Chanukah Celebration at the Pensacola Public Library, Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m.

Louisiana Chanukah Events

On Nov. 29, Gemiluth Chassodim in Alexandria will have Chanukah Shabbat and dinner at 5:30 p.m. The newly-formed Alexandria Federation of Temple Youth will participate in the service along with the congregation’s new rabbi, Harley Karz-Wagman. Religious school students will perform traditional Chanukah songs and new music about the Menurkey, and an original parody about “The Mensch Who Saved Chanukah From the Grinch.” Brisket and latkes will be provided, congregants are asked to bring salads and desserts.

Baton Rouge Hadassah
will have a Vodka and Latkes Installation and Chanukah party, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m., at Beth Shalom. Regional president Lee Kansas will lead the installation.

Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge
will have a community candle lighting and Chanukah potluck dinner, hosted by the religious school. Dinner will be at 5 p.m., services begin at 6 p.m.

The Chanukah celebration at B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will be on Nov. 30, starting with Havdalah at 5:30 p.m. The Latke Dinner and Party will start at 6 p.m. with a community menorah lighting, dreidel games and gelt. There will be a white elephant gift exchange, one per person with the value not to exceed $20. The gift must be wrapped. Cost is $8 for adults, $4 for children, with reservations due by Nov. 25.

Temple Shalom in Lafayette will hold its Chanukah service featuring the religious school students on Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. There will be a “once in a lifetime” Thanksgivukkah party at David Abraham’s office on Nov. 27 at 5:30 p.m., it is open to the congregation. The menu will include turkey and latkes, along with sufganiyot, pumpkin pie, and pecan and pumpkin tarts.

The Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville will have a Chanukah Family Fair on Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon. There will be Chanukah-themed arts and crafts, latkes and sufganiyot. Tickets for all activities will be available at the door.

Temple B’nai Israel Sisterhood in Monroe
will have a Chanukah luncheon at The Lotus Club on Dec. 3 at 11:30 a.m. Special guest will be Susie Waxman, Women of Reform Judaism Southwest District Area Director. Reservations are requested by Nov. 27.

On Nov. 24, the New Orleans Jewish Community Center’s annual community Chanukah celebration will feature the Maccabeats, which formed in 2007 as Yeshiva University’s student a capella group. They became an Internet sensation and have performed all over the world. Their YouTube videos, which have over 10 million views, include “Candlelight,” “Purim Song,” “Brave,” “Shine,” and most recently, “Cups (D’ror Yikra).” The 2 p.m. event is at the Uptown JCC and is open to the community.

Chabad of Louisiana will hold numerous Chanukah events. On Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m., they will have a Chanukah party for Hebrew speakers, at the Chabad Center in Metairie. On Nov. 30 at 7:15 p.m. there will be a Family Build-Your-Own event, where one can build a menorah. There will be a pasta bar, salad bar, ice cream, kid’s party and a mock coffee shop for adults. Cost is $15 for adults, $8 for children and $50 per family by Nov. 24, after which it is $20 for adults and $12 for children.

The annual Car Menorah Parade starts at Chabad Uptown on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., going through St. Charles, the Quarter and the Marigny, concluding with a party back at Chabad Uptown. The largest menorah in the state will be lit on Dec. 3 during Chanukah at Lakeside, at 5:30 p.m. There will be music and entertainment at Lakeside Mall in Metairie.

Chabad’s events conclude on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. with the Celebrity Latke Cookoff at Chabad Uptown. Chefs Alon Shaya of Domenica and Daniel Esses of the Three Muses will compete, along with an amateur chef.

Shir Chadash in Metairie holds its Chanukah potluck game night on Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Marseille Room on Lake Marina Drive. Dairy or vegetarian dishes are requested. Cost is $5, new members are free.

Beth Israel in Metairie will have a Chanukah celebration on Dec. 1. The adult dinner and mystery gift auction is $18 per person. Participants should bring an inexpensive wrapped gift, labeled with a clever or humorous clue, for auction.

Gates of Prayer in Metairie will celebrate Shabbat Chanukah on Nov. 29 at 8 p.m.

Touro Synagogue in New Orleans
considered that a double holiday is a natural tie-in for its annual celebration and fundraiser. But Touro President Scott Silbert explained that because Chanukah and Thanksgiving are both times for being with family, they decided that this year’s fundraiser should be a “non-event.”

The fundraising non-event will run through Dec. 5, and commitments can be made online.

Touro will still have a Chanukah celebration — following the regular 6 p.m. service on Nov. 29, there will be a Southern-style Chanukah dinner and magic show featuring Ray Brown. Reservations are $18 for adults, $10 for children and $54 per family by Nov. 22. After that, the cost rises by $5 and the family rate is no longer available.

The Women of Touro are also having a “Glow in the Dark” Chanukah party for tots and pre-Kindergarten, Nov. 24 at 10:30 a.m. The program will feature award-winning science teacher and author Jennifer Williams.

Temple Sinai in New Orleans is sending Chanukah off in style, with its “Great Finale” on Dec. 4. Chanukah on the Avenue will feature a traditional latke dinner and the Tulane University Marching Band. The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m.

Community Day School in Metairie will have its student Chanukah program at Shir Chadash at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4.

Krewe du Jieux will have Simone and Will’s Famous Latke Fry-Off on Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. Team AVODAH has issued a challenge to the Krewe for latke domination. A $5 contribution to AVODAH is suggested.

On Dec. 4 at 6 p.m., Krewe du Jieux holds its annual Chanukah Second Line parade, which will start at Molly’s At The Market and wind through the Quarter to the sounds of the Jewbirth Jazz Band. The parade will conclude at Cafe du Monde around 7:30 p.m. with a menorah lighting and kosher beignets.

The Krewe du Mishigas will have its annual Chanukah party on Dec. 6 at the home of Susan Brower.

The Shreveport Jewish community will celebrate the last night of Chanukah with a pot-luck dinner at Agudath Achim, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. Latkes and drinks will be provided, dairy or pareve dishes are requested. A mitzvah project for the evening will be announced shortly.

Mississippi Chanukah Events

Beth Israel, Gulfport, will hold its annual joint Chanukah party with B’nai B’rith on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. There will be a dairy potluck dinner. Members are encouraged to bring their menorahs and enough candles for the fifth night, and there will be a special performance by the Sunday School. A raffle will also be held.

B’nai Israel in Hattiesburg
will have its Chanukah party on Dec. 1 at 5 p.m.

The Chanukah dinner at Beth Israel in Jackson will be Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. Advance tickets are $12 by Nov. 27, $15 at the door. It will be the first opportunity to view the AIDS quilt, which Beth Israel is hosting that week. The Sisterhood Chanukah lunch will be Dec. 4 at 11:45 a.m. Beth Israel Temple Youth will have a Chanukah lock-in Dec. 7 at 6 p.m.

Beth Israel in Meridian
will have a Schmooze ‘n Booze on 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, followed by a 6 p.m. Shabbat service with Rabbi David Goldstein.

At Mississippi State University, baseball coach John Cohen invited the Jewish students to his home for the Hillel Chanukah party, to be held Dec. 4.