This is a joyous season, to be sure. Christmas lights, Christmas cookies, stocking stuffers, and Christmas carols.
You can imagine, though, as a Jewish girl growing up in the suburbs, I always had a tinge of jealousy not being able to celebrate in quite the same way. Sure, we had a Hannukah bush and Hannukah Harry, but somehow it just wasn’t quite the same. The 5th grade chorus medley put in the token dreidel song, but it just didn’t have the same jive as a good roaring rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock.”
And I’m not ashamed to admit I drive through my neighborhood on Christmas Eve admiring the decorated houses and even trying to peer in to the see the joy and revelry of the season with loved ones.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to have a new respect and excitement for the Festival of Lights — Hanukkah — and all the special treats and traditions that come with it. I mean, sure, we may not have an Elf on the Shelf, but we have a pretty rockin’ Mensch on a Bench. Plus, we get culinary delights like latkes (fried potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts!), and I can play a mean game of dreidel like the best of them.
We are fortunate to live in an area where this holiday is celebrated widely. To join in on the festivities, check out this list of the best local events featuring the traditions, foods, and songs of Hanukkah. Let me know if I missed any! Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus for the rest of us. No matter what you celebrate (or don’t celebrate), I truly hope the season is filled with joy, health, and happiness for all.
A Light Through the Ages :: Sunday, December 10
The annual Hanukkah cantata “A Light Through the Ages” is a unique opportunity for the community to experience the inspiration and broader significance of Hanukkah. The program concludes with a dramatic candle-lighting ceremony.
Chanukah in the City :: Saturday, December 11
Join other young families to celebrate with food, crafts, giveaways, and live music. The award-winning children’s musical group Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys will perform.
The Boston Menorah in Copley Square :: Tuesday, December 12
Celebrate Chanukah in Copley Square with Governor Charlie Baker, City Councilor Josh Zakim, and State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg. This celebration of light, unity, and liberty kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on the first night of Hanukkah and will include a live Berklee music ensemble, menorah kits, dreidels, chocolate gelt, and donuts!
The Festival of Lights at the MFA :: Wednesday, December 13
At this evening celebrating Hanukkah, enjoy an array of musical performances, engaging tours, and family-friendly activities. Explore works of Judaica, view a one-of-a-kind menorah, and join a community candle lighting. All events are free.
Hanukkah Celebration :: Wednesday, December 13
Temple Emunah Lexington will host a community Hanukkah dinner and celebration, complete with latkes and sufganiyot (donuts), and songs, games, crafts, and fun!
“The MeshugaNutcracker” :: Tuesday, December 19
“The MeshugaNutcracker!” is a full-length musical comedy that features the wonderfully silly sensibilities of the folklore of Chelm (a fictional town of fools) underscored by an invigorating Klezmer-ized orchestration of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” including original lyrics that celebrate Hanukkah.