Where to celebrate Hanukkah in Philly

Matishayu is bringing his holiday tour to the Blockley.  Credit: Dave Smith
Matishayu is bringing his holiday tour to the Blockley.
Credit: Dave Smith

This year is a historic one for Hanukkah. For the first time in more than 100 years — and the last time for thousands of years, according to some calculations — Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlap. With all the fuss about turkeys and shopping, and the introduction of the term Thanksgivukkah, some might fret that Hanukkah will get lost in the mix. But we found just as many events, dinners and driedel games as ever. So dust off that menorah, grab a handful of chocolate gelt and get ready to celebrate.

For everyone
Rodeph Shalom, the synagogue across from Route 6 and Alla Spina, on North Broad, is hosting a Hanukkah concert Dec. 4. Hadag Nahash, an Israeli band with funk and hip-hop influences, will perform. Tickets range from $15 to $75.

It just wouldn’t be Hanukkah without the Gershman Y’s (www.gershmany.org) Latkepalooza. Head to Vie at 600 N. Broad St. (small world: It’s across from Rodeph Shalom) for the 11th annual latke cook-off, with 12 chefs competing for the potato pancake crown. On Dec. 2, from 7-9:30 p.m., $35 gets you tastes of all the declious takes on this holiday favorite. Or bring the whole family to the earlier ‘palooza at 4:30 p.m., where kids nosh for $8 and adults pay $12.

For the kids
Get outside before winter settles in completely. Head to the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown (www.elmwoodparkzoo.org) on Dec. 1 for the official lighting of the giant menorah at 11 a.m. Stick around for games, story readings, food and crafts.

For the grown-ups
The Collaborative (www.tribe12.org/thecollaborative), a group geared toward Jews in their 20s and 30s, is luring that crowd by throwing alcohol into the mix. Hanukkah Happy Hour will happen Dec. 5 at Waterfront Winterfest at Penn’s Landing, the holiday pop-up at Blue Cross RiverRink with shopping, a light show and a restaurant/bar. There’s talk of spiked hot chocolate, which makes it well worth the trip.

Also on Dec. 5 is a “latke and vodka” Hanukkah party at Rodeph Shalom. The event, which includes a buffet dinner, is in tandem with an opening reception at the synagogue’s Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art.

For the music lovers
University City music venue the Blockley (www.theblockley.com) is teaming up with the University of Pennsylvania’s Hillel to host musician Matisyahu and his Festival of Light on Dec. 4. The Philly-area native — and Grammy nominee — mixes Jewish spirituality with reggae, rock, hip-hop, Afro Caribbean sounds and alt rock. The show is for the 18-and-up crowd, and tickets are $35 to $40.



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