With Covid cases surging nationally, Chanukah plans are up in the air, but some plans have been announced. Check sjlmag.com for ongoing updates, as some events may not be able to take place if additional restrictions on gatherings are announced.
All events will require masks and social distancing.
The Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest, which includes Louisiana, is partnering with Fox26 to host “A Hanukkah of Hope,” a series of menorah candle-lighting videos, featuring key leaders throughout the Southwest. Each night will include a different group of leaders, such as elected officials, community leaders, innovators and change makers, all coming together to share in the spirit of the holiday. Louisiana leaders include Governor John Bel Edwards, President Reynold Verret of Xavier University of Louisiana, and Chairman David Sickey of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana.
Also featured will be Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, General Wesley K. Clark, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Consul General of Mexico Alicia Kerber Palma, Senator James Lankford, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Mayor Steve Adler, President Michael K. Young of Texas A&M University, President Jay Hartzell of the University of Texas at Austin.
The Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica will have a Celebrate Chanukah concert with Dan Nichols, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live.
The Jewish Children’s Regional Service annual Chanukah celebration, Latkes with a Twist, has been cancelled for this year in New Orleans and Austin. A virtual Jewish Roots gala is being planned for April.
Rabbi Judy Ginsburgh of Alexandria will have a video event each night of Chanukah, lighting the menorah, sharing a song and a prayer, on her Facebook page. The short program will be at 5 p.m. each night, from Dec. 10 to 17.
On Dec. 17, Rabbi Judy Ginsburgh will present a Zoom lecture, “Chanukah, Women and Religious Freedom: Interesting Chanukah Art, and Who Was Judith Anyway?” The 5:30 p.m. presentation will be on Zoom, and the link is available from the B’nai Israel, Monroe, office.
Julie Silver, a leading figure in contemporary Jewish music, will be in concert on the first night of Chanukah as part of the cultural programming at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. The 7 p.m. event on Dec. 10 starts with everyone lighting their menorahs together on Zoom, followed by a concert.
By the age of 18, the Massachusetts native was a song leader at events throughout the Reform movement, and also played the coffeehouses in Boston. She is now one of the most sought-after songleaders in the country.
Currently, communities that have signed on for the event include Temple Beth-El in Birmingham, the Jewish Federation of Central Alabama, Beth Shalom and B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge, B’nai Zion in Shreveport and Beth Israel in Jackson.
Chabad of Baton Rouge and several other small-community Chabads nationwide will host a Chanukah concert with African-American Chassidic rapper Nissim Baruch Black, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. The free concert will include his story about going from being a gangster in Seattle to a Chassid in Israel.
“Oy to the World,” a made-in-Alabama film that debuted earlier this year, will be available on YouTube during Chanukah.
Directed by Yvette Hochberg, the film is the second in a Rabbi Trilogy that began with “Riding with the Rabbi.” The third film, “The Sukkah,” has not been released yet. Produced with local talent, the films were made in association with the Jewish Federation of Central Alabama and Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem in Montgomery.
“Oy to the World,” which was completed in April, is the story of 10-year-old Sally, who wants a memorable Chanukah despite the efforts of her grandmother, Jessica, who wants to help her fit in. The film explores Jewish identity in the heart of the Bible Belt.
The link for the film is here, and it will be available from Dec. 10 to 18.
Birmingham’s Knesseth Israel will have its annual Chanukah Bingo night dinner and raffle, with a party from home or in the KI parking lot, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. Dinners by David Aaron are pre-ordered by Dec. 7 and are $20. For those doing Zoom from home, dinner and Bingo cards can be picked up from noon to 3 p.m. on Dec. 11. For those attending in the parking lot, enjoy in your car or bring a chair, and dinner will be delivered. Jeff Eliasoph from WVTM-TV will be the guest Bingo caller. One card is included with each dinner, additional cards are $5 and are also available by mail. There will be eight games of Bingo and a raffle for fine gemstones, with tickets at $18 each, five for $80 or 10 for $150.
Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El will have a Chanukah celebration on Dec. 12. The original program from 5 to 7 p.m. at Homewood Patriot Park has been cancelled due to the rise in Covid cases, and a new online program is being organized.
Emanu-El will also have a “Circle of Light” event with “Sister Synagogue” Bavat Ayin in Rosh Ha’Ayin. The Zoom Chanukah event will be at noon on Dec. 13. Bavat Ayin is the only Reform congregation among hundreds of Orthodox congregations in Rosh Ha’Ayin, which is Birmingham’s sister city in Israel and New Orleans’ Partnership2Gether community. Bavat Ayin has struggled to achieve official recognition from the city, having to file suit against the city. In February 2006, Emanu-El presented a Torah to Bavat Ayin.
The Emanu-El Brotherhood is coordinating a Chanukah version of Temple’s Got Talent, with three-minute video entries being accepted through Dec. 8. First through third place will be named based on dollars raised through voting that takes place Dec. 10 to 16. The winners will be inscribed on a plaque at Emanu-El and be able to decide where the funds will be donated.
The annual Grand Menorah Lighting at Birmingham’s Summit will be a drive-in event this year, Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. in the REI parking lot. The event is coordinated by Chabad of Alabama, the Levite Jewish Community Center, Birmingham Jewish Federation and the Karl and Gladys Friedman LJCC Fund of the Birmingham Jewish Foundation. Free tickets will be required this year, and have already sold out. A planned overflow area will not be available due to the Covid increase, so anyone without a ticket should view it online. The event will have socially distanced Chanukah festivities, including music, balloons, tall bikes, jugglers, latkes, doughnuts and more. The festivities will begin at 5:15 p.m.
Chabad of Alabama will also have its first-ever Car Menorah Parade, Dec. 17 at 5:15 p.m. Each car will have a magnetic car menorah or Chanukah flag, and the parade will take Chanukah to the streets of Birmingham.
Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville will have a public Menorah lighting at Big Spring Park East in Huntsville, Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the base of the steps coming down from Court Square.
Chabad of Huntsville will have Light Up The Night on Dec. 13 at 4 p.m., at Bridge Street Town Centre, outside the Belk Courtyard. There will be a grand menorah lighting, latkes, doughnuts, music and a street performer. A car menorah parade will cruise downtown on Dec. 15, starting at 5 p.m.
Etz Chayim Sisterhood in Huntsville will have a Latke Drive-Thru, Dec. 13 at 1 p.m.
Chabad of Mobile will have Glow in the Dark Chanukah Celebration and Menorah Lighting on Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mobile Convention Center, and Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fairhope Municipal Pier. At the Mobile event, there will be remarks from City Council members, and it will be livestreamed for those unable to attend. Both events will feature pre-packaged Chanukah treats, glow in the dark dreidels and Chanukah facemasks. Additionally, menorahs will be displayed at Eastern Shore Center and at 501 Bel Air Boulevard, across from Target.
In many communities, Chabad holds a Mobile Menorah Parade. In Mobile, though, it will be a Chanukah Car Parade. The parade, on Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m., will go from Mobile to Baldwin County, finishing at the Eastern Shore Center for a lighting of the 9-foot menorah. Car decorations are available from Chabad, and to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ahavas Chesed in Mobile will have a Zoom candlelighting on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m.
Temple Emanu-El in Tuscaloosa is planning an online Chanukah celebration on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. with congregants lighting their menorahs together. “Unfortunately, this year, we will not provide virtual latkes.”
Chabad Emerald Coast in Destin will have a Grand Menorah Lighting on Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the Harborwalk Village stage. There will be individually-packaged Chanukah treats, live music and Chanukah souvenirs. The event is free.
Beth Shalom in Fort Walton Beach will have a Chanukah on the Beach celebration, Dec. 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. at John Beasley Park.
B’nai Israel in Panama City will have a Covid-compliant outdoor Chanukah event on Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. in the back lot, with the lighting of a four-foot menorah, latkes, deli sandwiches, doughnuts and a fire pit.
Chabad of Panama City Beach will have its Grand Chanukah Menorah Lighting at Pier Park, in front of the Grand Theatre, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m., with live music from Piamendi of New York. There will also be latkes and doughnuts, and chocolate gelt. There will be a children’s Chanukah art event at Chabad on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m., and a family Chanukah celebration on Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at Dave and Buster’s.
Chabad of Pensacola is collecting canned goods for the needy in the community. The cans will be transformed into a giant menorah that will be lit at City Hall, Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. A Light Up Pensacola Chanukah car parade will start at the Chabad center at 4 p.m. and be escorted around town, finishing at the 5 p.m. event at City Hall. A community Chanukah party will be held at the Chabad House the evening of Dec. 17.
Temple Beth-El in Pensacola will have eight nights of Chanukah events. The virtual events are Cooking with Janet and Sydney — Latkes and Applesauce, Dec. 10 at 5 p.m.; Shabbat Chanukah on Dec. 11 at 6 p.m.; Antique Menorah Road Show on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.; “Many Candles, One World” with the World Union for Progressive Judaism, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.; Cooking with Janet and Sydney — Sufganiyot on Dec. 14 at 5 p.m.; Story Time with Rabbi Joel, Dec. 15 at 5 p.m.; Chanukah Comedy with Renee Eilen, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.; and Menorah Lighting with Traditional Songs, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.
Chabad of Baton Rouge will hold its annual Chanukah at the State Capitol, Dec. 13 at 4:30 p.m. on the front steps. The Gratitude Menorah will honor “Pillars of Light during Covid-19.” There will be latkes, doughnuts, the chocolate gelt drop and more.
Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge will have a Havdallukah Movie and Pajama Party, Dec. 12 at 5 p.m., with a screening of Disney’s “Full Court Miracle.”
Monroe’s B’nai Israel is planning to hold its annual Chanukah party, subject to any restrictions issued by the governor’s office.
Chanukah at Riverwalk in New Orleans will be a virtual event, “honoring our healthcare heroes,” on Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. The annual Chabad Menorah parade will be on Dec. 12 as usual.
Anshe Sfard in New Orleans is planning to hold its community Chanukah celebration in the yard of Rabbi Yochanan Rivkin, the evening of Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Moishe House and Temple Sinai in New Orleans are partnering for a Chanukah Zoom, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. Moishe House will also have a Fried Food Fun Fest before the Saints game Dec. 13 from 1 to 3 p.m. in their backyard, with the fried treats to be announced. Reservations will be required.
Temple Sinai will have its Chanukah on the Avenue outdoor lighting on Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m., followed by Chanukah Shabbat services at 6 p.m.
Hadassah New Orleans will have its Chanukah party, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. On Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. Rabbi Deborah Silver will lead a Zoom program, “Cherishing Your Inner Light.”
On Dec. 12 after the 6 p.m. Havdalah, there will be a Zoom “Eight Cocktails of Chanukah,” Rabbi Avi Feingold, founder of Jewish Learning Lab, will lead the mixing, with kits that can be picked up in advance. The program is presented by Shir Chadash, Beth Israel and the Leventhal Center for Interfaith Families.
Shir Chadash in Metairie starts Chanukah with a first night lighting in the sukkah, and a Chanukah Chot Chocolate and card-making mitzvah opportunity for grades 6 to 8, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. On Dec. 13 there will be a Chanukah musical program for young children at 4 p.m. with Meryl Zimmerman. There will be a Chanukah home tour of Ben Gurion’s desert home, Dec. 14 at 9 a.m. Happy Hour from Home will have a Vodka and Latkes event on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. on Zoom, with ugly sweaters encouraged. On Dec. 16 at 7 p.m., Rabbi Deborah Silver will lead Cherishing Your Inner Light,” a discussion of the inner meaning of Chanukah. On Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m., the congregation is participating in a national candle lighting and Neshama Carlebach concert.
Beth Israel in Metairie will have a Chanukah Reunion Relay and Beignet Bash on Zoom on Dec. 17 at 5 p.m., with Beth Israel families nationwide.
Marla Jean Clinesmith and Hebrew Word Pics will be doing a Chanukah event at Le Boulevard in Metairie, 3815 Veterans, Dec. 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. They will have their art, jewelry and literature based on the ancient Hebrew alphabet.
The New Orleans Jewish Community Center will have a Dreidels and Doughnuts Drive-Thru Chanukah Celebration on Dec. 13 from 1 to 2:30 p.m., in partnership with the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana. The drive-thru pop-up Chanukah experience at the Uptown JCC, open to all, will feature festive decorations, live music by Panorama Jazz Band, a dozen doughnuts for each car, and a Chanukah goodie bag to continue celebrations at home.
Dreidels & Doughnuts will allow the community to safely celebrate the Chanukah season, which is typically kicked off with a large celebration at the JCC. Participants must remain inside their vehicles and are encouraged to mask up when receiving Chanukah treats from JCC team members.
Families are encouraged to maximize holiday cheer by wearing festive attire and including their entire household in the experience. While waiting in line, lower the windows to enjoy live music and wave to JCC staff and a human dreidel. The JCC’s giant inflatable Chanukah bear, an annual favorite of New Orleans JCC Nursery School children, will also be there.
Register by noon on Dec. 11 for the doughnuts and Chanukah treats.
Gates of Prayer Sisterhood in Metairie will hold a mini Chanukah bazaar on Dec. 6 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Weather permitting, it will be held in the parking lot, with some items in the gift shop. There will also be $1 items for J-FLExers.
JNOLA and NOLA Tribe will have a Virtual Chanukah Gelt-Together, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Guest pastry chef Lindsay Morrison will do a cookie demo, with packages of dry ingredients provided for those who register in advance. There will also be a Best Dressed Menorah contest, and then there will be a game of Truth or Dreidel.
The North Louisiana Jewish Federation’s annual Chanukah party will be on Dec. 13 at 5:30 p.m. but because of Covid has been moved from the Agudath Achim Biblical Garden to an online event.. The event is free, there is a suggested donation of $18 for dinner. A first-ever kids dreidel tournament is planned, and the boxed meal that can be picked up in advance will feature New York bagels, kosher deli or veggies, and homemade sufganiyot. Donations are being taken to support hurricane relief for Jewish communities in the state.
Beth Israel in Gulfport will have a pre-Chanukah Women’s Circle event to make sufganiyot and package Chanukah candles for the community, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. The Dec. 13 Latkes and Light party will not take place in person because of rising Covid concerns, but virtual celebration will be held at 5:30 p.m.
Beth Israel in Jackson will have a Virtual Chanukah Happening, with all events on Zoom. There will be a first night menorah lighting on Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m., Chanukah Shabbat on Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. and a religious school celebration on Dec. 13.
The Oxford Jewish community will hold a Chanukah Zoom party on Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m.