Celebrate Hanukkah with a soiree, the stage and other events

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By Lianna Matt

As the sun set on Dec. 11, Hanukkah began. If you’re spending your eight days of menorah lighting and gift-giving in Minneapolis and St. Paul, consider getting to know our Jewish community a little better with some of these events. We have theater for the whole family, parties that go all night and even the chance to meet some of the area’s local politicians. Schedule packed to the brim already? Stop by for some latkes at places like Cecil’s Deli and Mort’s Deli and refuel for your next adventure this Twin Cities holiday season.

Celebrate the Festival of Lights

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Dec. 7-19): Perfect for families, this play follows the adventures of Hershel as he confronts goblins to bring back Hanukkah to a town that has gone without it for years. The last time the Minnesota Jewish Community Theatre put on this show, Chris Griffith won one of the Twin Cities theater Ivey Awards for his puppet design, and this year he has brought a whole new cast of brightly colored puppets.

Family Chanukah Celebration at Byerly’s (Dec. 12): Help build an eight-foot LEGO menorah at Byerly’s in St. Louis Park to celebrate the start of Hanukkah and enjoy some activities, prizes and treats along the way. If LEGO lovers are feeling extra creative before they come, they can also enter in their own LEGO menorahs in a LEGO competition. Can’t make on the 12th? Make sure to stop by the store to see the giant, lit menorah for all of Hanukkah and vote on your LEGO favorites in the competition.

Wilde Tales: Presented by the JCC Youth Performance Program (Dec. 14-17): While not strictly related to Hanukkah, these three Oscar Wilde fairy tales are a mix of magic and selflessness fighting against an indifferent world. Come for the story or simply come to see the next generation of Jewish theater and community blossom before your eyes.

“Latkes and Politics” Hannukah Party (Dec. 14): Put on by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), this Hanukkah Party is one of the best ways to meet local elected officials and community leaders across all parties, such as Minneapolis mayor-elect and JCRC board member Jacob Frey.

Celebrate Shabbat and Hanukkah with Eliana Light (Dec. 15): In this community concert, award-winning Eliana Light celebrates some of Judaism’s most important traditions with music that unites people of all ages.

Drinks & Dreidels (Dec. 16): Get mingling and dancing at Northeast Minneapolis’ Honey for the annual Hanukkah celebration for young Jewish professionals. A menorah lighting, doughnuts, latkes and an open bar mix together for a Festival of Lights soiree you won’t want to miss.

Wine & Latkes – Hanukah Party (Dec. 17): Hosted by the St. Paul Shlicha, Tal Dror, the night will be a full on celebration of Hanukkah, Israeli style. For those who don’t know, a shlicha is an Israeli representative who stays for a couple of years with, in this case, the St. Paul Jewish Federation and local congregations to strengthen ties between Israel and Minnesota and help grow and develop programming.

Jewbilee 2017 (Dec. 24): So this may be a bit after Hanukkah, but if the holiday season is still going, it's still going. With a lineup that’s half song and half stand up—with a musical local rabbi thrown in the mix—Jewbille is back at First Avenue’s 7th St Entry in downtown Minneapolis. Among the lineup, Challo brings the five-piece funk and Andy Cook brings “guitar-driven Americana,” while comedians like locals Sidney Oxborough and Dan Mogol will crack you up.

Congregation-Hosted Events

Light Up the Night (Dec. 16): Makom, the Adath Jeshurun’s 20s and 30s group, is hosting havdalah, the farewell to Shabbat, and a menorah lighting right across from Loring Park. Latkes, dessert, drinks and candles will be in surplus, but feel free to bring your own hanukkiah and candles if you would like.

Or Emet Hanukkah Party (Dec. 16): Bring a dish to share for the evening’s first event, a potluck—which of course includes potato latkes—and enjoy the Hanukkah blessing and candle lighting, dreidels and gelt, music, and a performance by the Or Emet’s Jewish Cultural School students. RSVP by Dec.13.

Beth Jacob Congregation (Dec. 16 & 17): Besides its nightly lighting of the menorah, Beth Jacob has a host of events for its temple goers and families. There is Hanukkah Comics & Game Day as well as 20s & 30s Latkes and Vodkas, and on Sunday, a STEM Educator form The Works Museum is coming in to teach children K-6 the science behind light with a kaleidoscope craft thrown in.

Chanukah Party (Dec. 17): As the Mayim Rabim congregation puts it, “Candles will be lit, stories told, songs sung and dreidels spun.” Latkes and Asian takeout will make for a fun food pairing for the evening, and besides the requested donation for the food, if you feel so moved, any additional donations will be given to a local food shelf.

For nearby synagogues and temples, please see the directories of Jewish Federation Minneapolis and Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul. Other organizations include Minnesota Hillel at the University of Minnesota and the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest.


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