Chanukah Events in the Deep South

Chanukah 2018 at the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion

Here is a selection of Chanukah events happening in the Deep South. Check with the individual organization or congregation regarding whether reservations are needed.


Temple Beth El in Anniston will have its Chanukah service and dinner on Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. The community is invited. Latkes will be provided, everyone should bring a main dish, vegetable or dessert to share.

Temple Emanu-El’s annual Feeling Gelty is working with Birmingham’s Urban Ministry this year, and Temple Beth-El is also participating. Gift items are being accepted at Emanu-El through Dec. 6, along with monetary donations and shipments from the Amazon and Target gift registries. On Dec. 13, everything is being delivered to the Urban Ministry’s Christmas Store, serving the West End community. The store will be open on Dec. 14 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and volunteers will work the store that day.

The Bais Ariel Chabad Center in Birmingham will have a pre-Chanukah Ladies’ Night Out, as Claire Rottembourg will lead the creation of Chanukah dot art menorahs on black canvases, inspired by aboriginal art. The event is Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., and reservations are $10. Acrylic paints will be used, so smocks are recommended.

Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center will have a Chanukah sing-a-long and story time, Dec. 18 at 10 a.m. Geared especially toward ages 1 to 5, the event will feature Miss Tina reading a Chanukah story and Sarah Metzger leading Chanukah songs. Snacks will be provided for kids and adults.

The annual Grand Menorah Lighting at the Summit will be on Dec. 22 at the Saks Plaza. Festivities begin at 4:30 p.m., with latkes, a doughnut wall, stilt walker, balloon artist, bubble show, graffiti mural and Lego dreidels. The lighting will be at 5:15 p.m., with Sen. Doug Jones lighting the Shamash.

The Temple Emanu-El, Birmingham, Brotherhood Chanukah Luncheon will be Dec. 15 at 11:30 a.m.

The annual Sisterhood Chanukah Lunch at Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El is on Dec. 15 at noon. In addition to the usual bake and blintz sales, there is a smoked salmon sale, made in-house using the congregation’s new smoker. The luncheon is $12 for adults, $6 for ages 6 to 13, free for 5 and under. Smoked salmon can be reserved for $18 per pound. Preceding the luncheon, Beth-El will dedicate its Kidzone indoor play space in the downstairs social hall, at 11 a.m.

Birmingham’s Knesseth Israel will have its Chanukah Celebration on Dec. 24, starting at 6:30 p.m. There will be Bingo, a raffle, latkes and more. Reservations are $18 for adults, $10 for children.

The Chanukah House will once again be featured on the Wacky Tacky Light Tour, a bus tour of the wildest and tackiest holiday displays in the Birmingham area. This year, buses will depart every 10 minutes from Golden Age Wine in Mountain Brook from 6 to 8 p.m., from Dec. 9 to 12. Tickets and information are available here.

Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El will have its Chanukah Potluck Celebration on Dec. 27, with a 6 p.m. dinner followed by a 7 p.m. service.

Florence’s B’nai Israel will have its Chanukah party on Dec. 22 at 5 p.m.

Etz Chayim in Huntsville will have its annual Latke Party on Dec. 15, with Bingo at 11 a.m. and a latke and salad lunch at noon. Admission is $7 for adults, children are free.

On Dec. 22, Huntsville’s B’nai Sholom will have a congregational meeting to vote on constitutional changes, followed by a community menorah lighting at 5:15 p.m. and the latke bar at 5:30 p.m.

The new Huntsville Jewish community choir, Nefesh Yehudi, will perform an Eight Nights of Chanukah concert at the downtown library, Dec. 22 at 3:30 p.m.

There will be a pre-Chanukah concert featuring Israeli violinist Boris Savchuk, Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. at Chabad of Huntsville. Chabad will also host a Chanukah Story Hour at Barnes and Noble in Bridge Street Town Centre, Dec. 16 at 4:30 p.m., and a Car Menorah Parade starting at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 23.

The annual Menorah Lighting at Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville will be on Dec. 26 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Chabad of Mobile will have a pre-Chanukah Ladies Night Out, Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Lights and Lattes will be an artisan candle creating workshop. Reservations are required; there is no charge but donations are welcome.

Chabad of Mobile will have its “Chocolate Chanukah” public celebrations on Dec. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Fairhope Pier and Dec. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at Mobile’s Bienville Square. In Fairhope, there will be a six-foot chocolate menorah that participants can eat from after the lighting. The Mobile event features Chabad’s nine-foot menorah and a chocolate “gelt drop.” Both events will have music, latkes and doughnuts. During the holiday, there will also be a nine-foot menorah displayed at the Eastern Shore Centre in Spanish Fort.

Ahavas Chesed in Mobile will have its Chanukah celebration on Dec. 22 at 5:30 p.m., with a menorah lighting followed by dinner. Reservations are $6.13 for ages 10 and up.

Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile will have its Family Chanukah Service and Dinner on Dec. 22 at 5:30 p.m. There will be a group lighting ceremony, and indicate beef, chicken or veggies when making a reservation. Reservations are $12 for adults, $5 for ages 10 and under, free for students in the religious school. Ugly Chanukah sweaters are welcome.

At Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem in Montgomery, the Sisterhood Steve Miller Chanukah Hoopla will include a hot dog and latke lunch, Dec. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Temple Beth Or in Montgomery will have its Chanukah dinner and celebration on Dec. 20 at 6 p.m.
The L’Chaim League in Montgomery will have its annual Chanukah lunch at Sinclair’s East, Dec. 23 at noon.

At Tuscaloosa‘s Temple Emanu-El, the Sisterhood Chanukah Store opens for the season on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon, and again on Dec. 15 and 22. On Dec. 22, they will have their family Chanukah potluck dinner and group menorah lighting at 5:30 p.m.

Florida Panhandle

Chabad Emerald Coast will have a Chanukah Story Time at the Barnes and Noble in Destin, Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. The Grand Menorah Lighting at Harborwalk Village will be Dec. 22 at 5 p.m., with children’s activities, a chocolate gelt drop, latkes and doughnuts.

B’nai Israel in Panama City will have a Chanukah candle lighting party and non-dairy potluck dinner on Dec. 22 at 5 p.m.

Chabad of Panama City Beach will hold its first Grand Chanukah Menorah Lighting, Dec. 23 at 6 p.m. at Pier Park. There will be a chocolate gelt drop, dreidels, doughnuts and latkes, and the lighting of a 12-foot menorah. Chabad will also hold a menorah-making workshop, Dec. 22 at 10 a.m. at Home Depot in Panama City Beach, space is limited and reservations are needed.

The Pensacola Chabad will hold its Grand Menorah Lighting on Dec. 22 at 5:30 p.m., at Pensacola City Hall. There will be a fire show, music and Chanukah cuisine.

Students from the School for Jewish Living at Pensacola’s Temple Beth El will bring Chanukah joy to Wesley Haven, sharing songs and lighting the menorah for residents, Dec. 15 at 11:30 a.m.

PJ Library and the Pensacola Jewish Federation will have a Chanukah Story Time on Dec. 22 at noon, at Bodacious Bookstore. The event is for ages 6 and under, and will include hot chocolate, snacks and an art project. The Federation will also have a Chanukah Light Tour, including a sufganiyot cooking class at B’nai Israel on Dec. 23 at 10:30 a.m., “Light It Up” at Azalea Trace on Dec. 24 at 10 a.m., a Chanukah Toast at Gary’s Brewery on Dec. 26 at 5 p.m., Chanukah at the Naval Air Station on Dec. 27 at 11 a.m., Lights and Shabbat Brunch with Shani at Shani’s place on Dec. 28 at 11:30 a.m., and Be The Light at Uru by the Airport on Dec. 29 at 8 p.m., preceded by hot/aerial yoga at 6:30 p.m.

Temple Beth El’s Brotherhood will have a Latke Making Party, Dec. 22 from 7:30 to 11 a.m., preparing several hundred latkes for use at Beth El’s Chanukah celebrations.

Beth El’s Chanukah celebration will be on Dec. 27 at 6 p.m., with a group menorah lighting and Shabbat Chanukah service with participation by students from the School for Jewish Living. A Chanukah-themed potluck follows, with latkes and sufganiyot. The Sisterhood is providing a chicken entrée, and those attending are requested to bring a salad, side, or dessert to share.

Young Jewish Pensacola will have a Chanukah party on Dec. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fleekop home in Gulf Breeze.

B’nai Israel in Pensacola will have its Chanukah Latke Party on Dec. 29 at 1 p.m.


Alexandria’s Gemiluth Chassodim will have a Chanukah party on Dec. 22 at 6 p.m., with the November and December birthday and anniversary blessings. There will be a community candle lighting, religious school play, Chanukah dinner, songs and games. Reservations are requested. There will also be a Shabbat Chanukah service on Dec. 27 at 6 p.m.

Chabad of Baton Rouge is starting the Chanukah season with Chanukah in the Chocolate Factory, Dec. 8 at 3:30 p.m. There will be chocolate Chankah activities, including the creation of a giant chocolate menorah. During the event, Kosher Cajun in Metairie will have a pop-up shop. On Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m., Chabad’s Jewish Women’s Circle will have a Menorahs and Martinis event, creating granite menorahs while enjoying a dessert buffet. There will also be a free kosher Chinese dinner on Dec. 25 at 5 p.m., with movies and a menorah lighting.

The fifth annual Chanukah at the State Capitol will be on Dec. 22 at 4 p.m., on the front steps of the Capitol. There will be a trackless Chanukah Express train, latkes, doughnuts, children’s activities and a chocolate gelt drop. Holocaust survivor Manny Klepper will be honored.

The joint Chanukah celebration for B’nai Israel and Beth Shalom will be on Dec. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m., at Beth Shalom. There will be a community candlelighting, games and crafts. There will be a latke bar, kosher matzah ball soup, sufganiyot and a dairy potluck. A silent auction will support the BaRFTY youth group. There is no cost to attend.

Beth Shalom is also hosting a Chanukah pop-up sale on Dec. 8 at 3 p.m., and the Sisterhood is holding an interfaith movie night with “Hitched for the Holidays,” Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. at the home of Sara Silverman.

Temple Sinai in Lake Charles will have its Chanukah service on Dec. 20 at 6 p.m.

B’nai Israel Sisterhood in Monroe held its Chanukah lunch on Dec. 3 at 11:30 a.m. at Bayou DeSiard Country Club.

The Chanukah party at Monroe’s B’nai Israel will be Dec. 27 at 6 p.m., with a community dinner. The congregation is providing meat and latkes, those attending are asked to bring a side or dessert for 20 or more people.

The North Louisiana Jewish Federation community Chanukah event will be on Dec. 22 at Agudath Achim in Shreveport, with a buffet dinner and latkes social starting at 5 p.m. At 6 p.m. there will be a community candlelighting ceremony, followed by a performance by the Bible Players at 6:30 p.m. The Bible Players use improv and comedy to teach Jewish values to all ages, and their visit is coordinated through the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. Dinner reservations are requested, but there is no charge for the evening.

The Federation is also sponsoring Chanukah parties at senior facilities with Jewish residents. Rabbis Jana De Benedetti, Sydni Rubinstein and Feivel Rubinstein will lead the parties with singing, story telling, candle lighting, jelly donuts, dreidels and more. The community is invited to the Dec. 26 parties, 10 a.m. at Montclair Park, 3 p.m. at the Waterview and 6 p.m. at Tower of the Oaks.
Agudath Achim in Shreveport will have a Chanukah covered dish dinner on Dec. 27 at 6 p.m., with services following.

B’nai Zion in Shreveport will have a Chanukah service and group candlelighting on Dec. 27 at 6 p.m.

Red River Radio has several Chanukah-themed programs. “Hanukkah: A Great Miracle Happened There” will be Dec. 19 at 7 p.m., “Candles Burning Brightly for Chanukah” is Dec. 20 at 2 p.m., “A Chanukah Celebration Across the Globe” will air at 1 p.m. on Dec. 23, followed by “Chanukah — Itzhak Perlman’s Chanukah Radio Party” at 2 p.m. “A Chanukah Celebration with Chicago a cappella” will be on Dec. 24 at 9 p.m., “Chanukah in Song and Story” is on Dec. 26 at 1 p.m., “Eternal Echoes for Hanukkah” will be at 8 p.m. on Dec. 26, “Hanukkah Lights” airs at 2 p.m. on Dec, 27, and on Dec. 29 at 6 p.m. the series concludes with “Chanukah — The Kabbalah of Chanukah.”

New Orleans Area

Frank Brigtsen, chef and owner of Brigtsen’s, will be the featured Latke master at this year’s Latkes with a Twist celebration. Produced by the New Orleans-based Jewish Children’s Regional Service, the annual fundraiser has been named one of the top 10 Chanukah parties in the country by the Washington Post. This year’s event will be on Dec. 12 at Press Street Station in the historic Faubourg Marigny.

The evening will also feature live music by the Rubin-Wilson Folk/Blues Explosion, an open bar featuring a Vodka Latke Punch, a Buffalo Trace Old Fashioned Hanukkah Hi-Ball, courtesy of Sazerac Brands, wine and beer. There will also be a silent auction.

Brigtsen will be assisted by NOCCA culinary program students. Brigtsen said “my mother, of Scandinavian-German descent, made delicious potato pancakes with a special sauce I plan to recreate. I’m excited about this event.” 

Tickets to the 7 p.m. event are $36 per person in advance, $42 at the door, and are available at (504) 828-6334 or online here

This year, JCRS is expanding Latkes with a Twist, with a first-ever Austin party, at Agudas Achim on the Jewish Community Campus, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.

The annual New Orleans community Chanukah celebration will be a Southern Fried Chanukah, Dec. 22 at 4 p.m. at the Uptown Jewish Community Center. The free event celebrating the first night of Chanukah starts with a menorah lighting, followed by fried chicken and latkes, and a live concert by The LeeVees. Bob Boilen of NPR’s “All Things Considered” says their “Hanukkah Rocks” is the best holiday/Chanukah album of the last 20 years.

Formed in 2005 by Adam Gardner (Guster) and Dave Schneider (Zambonis), The LeeVees write modern rockin’ classic Jewish songs about Chanukah, fun, food, family and more. The band has been featured in many television appearances and has played numerous JCCs across America. The free concert is part of the Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Arts Series.

Chanukah at Riverwalk will be on Dec. 22 at 4:30 p.m., followed by the Krewe du Jieux Chanukah Parade. Our story about the event’s 30th anniversary is here.

Chabad of Louisiana will also have Chanukah at the VA on Dec. 23 at 10:30 a.m., and at Lambeth at 4 p.m. The Israeli Chanukah party will be on Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. at Chabad in Metairie. On Dec. 25 at 6:30 p.m., there will be Dreidels and Drinks for Young Professionals at the home of Rabbi Mendel and Malkie Rivkin. On Dec. 26, Chanukah at Hainkel Home will be at 3:30 p.m. There will be a Shabbat Chanukah service and dinner at Chabad Uptown and Metairie, Dec. 27 at 5 p.m. The Mobile Menorah Parade will be on Dec. 28 at 7:30 p.m. from Chabad Uptown to the French Quarter, and there will be a children’s party bus.

Torah Academy in Metairie will have a STEAM Chanukah party, featuring Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. Among the activities will be making a canorah out of donated canned food, which those attending are asked to bring for Second Harvest, and playing dreidel-bot. Latkes and doughnuts will be served, and RSVPs are appreciated.

Metairie’s Beth Israel will have a pre-Chanukah Family Shabbat Dinner, Dec. 20 following the 5:15 p.m. service. Reservations for the kid-friendly dinner are $25 per family for members, $36 per family for non-members.

The Chabad Center in Metairie is holding a Chanukah Crafts and Cooking event at Whole Foods on Veterans, Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. There will be latke making, along with edible menorahs and Chanukah magnets. The event is free but reservations are requested.

The Chanukah Celebration at Beth Israel will be on Dec. 25 at 5 p.m., with menorah lightings, Chinese food and a movie. Those attending may bring a wrapped gift valued at $5 to $10 with a creative clue about the contents, for the gift auction.

Shir Chadash in Metairie will have a Dungeons and Dragons Chanukah adventure, Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All levels are welcome to play in the special campaign, and space is limited.

Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have its Chanukah Shabbat celebration on Dec. 27 at 8 p.m. There will be prizes for the best Ugly Chanukah Sweater.

Touro Synagogue in New Orleans is having a Chanukah pre-party, with a 6 p.m. service on Dec. 20 followed by a “fried food fest of deliciousness,” featuring fried chicken, latkes, a sufganiyot bar, Chanukah games and songs. Dinner reservations are $15 for adults, $10 for children.

Temple Sinai in New Orleans will have a pre-Chanukah Shabbat, Dec. 20 at 6:15 p.m., with a Chanukah oneg following, featuring latkes and Chanukah treats. On Dec. 27, the 6:15 p.m. Shabbat Chanukah service includes the lighting of the St. Charles Avenue menorah.

The “Little Mensches” kids of PJ Library and PJ Our Way and their families are invited to a Chanukah party for Lambeth House in New Orleans, on Dec. 25 from noon to 1:30 p.m. There are about 25 Jewish residents at the Uptown continuous care senior community. The family event will include Chanukah songs, stories, games and latkes, geared for ages 3 to 10. They will create a giant paper-chain Chanukah Menorah to decorate the activity room. Online reservations are required and space is limited.

Hadassah New Orleans will have a Chanukah party on Dec. 15 at 3:30 p.m., at the home of co-president Betty Moore. There will be latkes, homemade applesauce, sour cream, donuts, brownies, crudités, gelt and goodie bags for the children. Upon special request, Kosher offerings will be available. Hadassah member Charlene Gubitz will play guitar and sing Hanukkah songs. Reservations are requested.

Jewish Community Day School in Metairie will have its Chanukah Extravaganza on Dec. 20 at 8:30 a.m.

The Nursery School at the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans will have its Chanukah Celebration on Dec. 20 at 11 a.m.

Chabad at Tulane will have its Chanukah party on Dec. 23, time to be announced.

With many bars and restaurants doing Christmas popups, Saba in New Orleans decided to have a L’Chaim Lounge Chanukah popup on Dec. 22, and Dec. 26 to 29, from 5 p.m. “until.” There will be latkes, sufganiyot and Chanukah-themed cocktails. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Anti-Defamation League. The pop-up will not be taking reservations, walk-ins only.


The 100 Men Hall in Bay St. Louis will host the Panorama Jazz Band for a Chanukah Menorah Lighting and Latke brunch, Dec. 22 from 10 a.m. to noon. Cost is $15 in advance, $20 at the door, with brunch available for purchase by Chef Chris Hayes of the Smoking Oyster.

Chabad of Southern Mississippi will have Chanukah on the Coast, the sixth annual Chanukah celebration on Dec. 29 at 4:45 p.m. at Edgewater Mall in Biloxi. The free event includes the lighting of Mississippi’s largest menorah, kid’s crafts, latkes and sufganiyot. Chabad’s Hebrew School is also building a Canorah, with canned goods that will be donated to the Salvation Army. There is also a Light Up the Night Chanukah event on Dec. 23 at 6:30 p.m., at Quakes Ice Creamery in Ocean Springs.

Adath Israel in Cleveland will have a Chanukah celebration at its 6:30 p.m. service with Rabbi Harry Danziger on Dec. 6. A potluck dinner will follow.

Greenville’s Hebrew Union Congregation will have its Chanukah luncheon on Dec. 22 at 11 a.m., with a performance by the students.

Gulfport’s Beth Israel will hold its Family Chanukah party at Magnolia Hall inside Florence Gardens, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. There will be a latke bar with a variety of different latkes and toppings, a pasta station, fruit and cheese station with dips and crackers, and dessert. There will also be a cash bar, raffle and children’s goodie bags. Reservations are $10 for members, $20 non-members through Dec. 7.

B’nai Israel in Hattiesburg will have a Chanukah party on Dec. 14 at 5 p.m.

Beth Israel in Jackson will have its Chanukah celebration and dinner, Dec. 22 at 5:30 p.m., starting with a menorah lighting. At 5:50 p.m. there will be a dreidel contest with prizes per age group. At 6 p.m., dinner begins, followed by Jewish Jeopardy at 6:40 p.m. Reservations are $15 for adults, $5 for children under 10.

The lighting of the menorah at the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson will be on Dec. 23 at 4 p.m.

The Jewish Federation of Oxford is hosting the third annual Bubbe’s Table Chanukah celebration, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., featuring food by Mile End Deli, a selection of wines from Woodbridge Winery as well as specialty cocktails sponsored by Cathead Vodka and made by Best-of-Oxford bartender Joe Stinchcomb. The event will be at The Farmstead on Woodson Ridge, with live music by the Cakewalkers. The event is sold out.

On Dec. 8 at 4 p.m., the Oxford Federation is hosting a family Chanukah party, with dreidels, doughnuts, latkes and more, at the Stone Center.

B’nai Israel in Tupelo will have a Chanukah potluck dinner on Dec. 22 at 5 p.m.