The eight-day Jewish festival known as Hanukkah or Chanukah, this year runs from the evening of Dec. 22 to the evening of Dec. 30.
The celebration, also known as the “festival of lights,” commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem in second century B.C., where according to legend, Jews had risen up against their Syrian Greek oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.
As the story goes, once the Greeks were run out of the city, Maccabees took possession of the temple, and worked to purify it from the invasion. A menorah was required to burn throughout the night every night, but there was only a day’s supply of olive oil available — and it would take a week to produce more. Yet, the oil somehow lasted eight days, creating a “miracle” that has been celebrated ever since.
Hanukkah is celebrated toward the end of the Jewish month Kislev, which usually falls in November or December of the common calendar.
Jews today acknowledge the holiday by lighting a menorah (a candelabrum, also called a Hanukkiah) for eight nights, adding a candle each day until all eight, plus a head candle, are lit together.
The holiday is celebrated with traditional foods, such as pontshkes and latkes (jam-filled doughnuts and potato pancakes), along with gift exchanges, songs and melodies, prayers, and a recounting of the miracle. The holiday is also a time for kids to play games with a dreidel, a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side.
Where: Congregation Kol Ami, 3919 Moran Road, Tampa
What: Annual Congregational Hanukkah Party, including food, games, music and dancing, and outdoor lighting of the Hanukkiah.
When: Dec. 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Event is free and all are welcome
Info: Call (813) 962-6338, or email .
Where: Congregation Mekor Shalom, 14005A N. Dale Mabry Highway
What: Seventh annual Light Up the 1st Night Hanukkah Party. The celebration will include a communal lighting (bring your own Hanukkiah), latke bar, sweets, dreidel spin-off and sing-a-long, and storytime and crafts (for children under 8 years old). Event also will include a white elephant gift exchange for Mekor Shalom youth in grades seven through 10.
When: Dec. 22 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Info: Call (813) 963-1818, or visit MekorShalom.org.
Where: Trinity Community Park, 11530 Trinity Blvd., adjacent to the Pasco Sheriff’s District Office/Pasco Fire Rescue Station
What: Chabad of West Pasco presents its Grand Chanukah Celebration. The event will feature Blaise Ryndes’ Bubble Show, seen on America’s Got Talent; also, Chanukah crafts for kids, latkes and doughnuts, face painting, music, balloon sculpting and appearances from local dignitaries.
When: Dec. 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: Event is free and open to the community.
Info: Call (727) 376-3366, or email .
Where: Congregation Beth Am, 2030 W. Fletcher Ave., Tampa
What: Chanukah Potluck Supper and Menorah Building Contest. Attendees are encouraged to bring a Chanukiah and a dairy or vegetarian dish, as Men’s Club potato latkes will be provided. Attendees also are encouraged to participate in Beth Am’s annual menorah-building contest. The candles should all be at the same level to be considered kosher. The contest is limited to one entry per family or person, and there will be prizes. Event also will feature singing with the Cantor and an opportunity to participate in Shabbat.
When: Dec. 27 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Info: Call (813) 968-8511, or email .
Where: The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, in front of Dillard’s
What: Chabad at Wiregrass will host its annual Chanukah Street Fair, a family friendly event that will feature an obstacle course, live DJ rock climbing, 3D Chanukah video game, criss-cross race, face painting, balloon twisting, latkes and doughnuts, a stilt walker, Chanukah crafts, raffle and more. Reko, from the American Ninja Warrior television series, also will make an appearance and provide live entertainment.
When: Dec. 29 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: Event is free and open to the public.
Info: Call (813) 642-3244, email , or visit ChabadatWiregrass.com.
Where: AdventHealth Center Ice, 3173 Cypress Ridge Blvd., Wesley Chapel
What: Young Israel of Tampa’s 15th annual Hanukkah on Ice. The event will feature the lighting of a large ice sculpted menorah, ice skating, Jewish music, kosher food stand, arts and crafts, latkes and a raffle.
When: Dec. 29 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: Admission is $5 and includes ice skate rental.
Info and RSVP: Call (813) 832-3018.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Veranda C tailgate
What: Celebrate Chanukah with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, featuring a pre-game concert from the Big Picture Band and a menorah lighting with team owner Bryan Glazer. Kosher lunch, latkes, doughnuts and dessert also will be served.
When: Dec. 29 at 11 a.m.
Cost: Game ticket and pre-game tailgate packages start at $60. Pre-game tailgate for season pass members is $10.
Info: Visit Buccaneers/com/JHD.
Published December 18, 2019