Rabbi Yosef Langer of Chabad of S.F. lights the Bill Graham menorah in Union Square in 2014. (Photo/Natalie Schrik)
Rabbi Yosef Langer of Chabad of S.F. lights the Bill Graham menorah in Union Square in 2014. (Photo/Natalie Schrik)

Kindle the lights and pass the latkes — menorah lightings around the Bay

Spreading the light from San Francisco’s Union Square, where the city’s giant American menorah debuted in 1975, to venues throughout the Bay Area, Jewish communities are marking Hanukkah (Dec. 12-20) with public celebrations. Everyone’s invited. Whether the festivities are in a public square, on the ice, along a river or at the Jelly Belly factory, this winter festival offers merriment, music and munchies. And if you’d rather not bear the cold, synagogues and JCCs host indoor bring-your-own menorah parties with latkes, sufganiyot and live entertainment. Enjoy!


San Francisco

“Light It Up.” Beth Sholom celebration features play, live music and traditional treats plus a burrito bar. Thursday, Dec. 14. At Congregation Beth Sholom, 301 14th Ave., S.F. 5:30-8 p.m., with lighting and play at 6:30. $8-$26; 5 and under free.

Emanu-El young adult party. With music by SHAMATi. Friday, Dec. 15 at Brick & Mortar, 1710 Mission St, S.F. 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Also Dec. 15, family party, service, dinner (RSVP required) and magic show at Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., S.F., 5-8 p.m. Other lightings at 
emanuelsf.org/chanukah.

“Share the Light.” Lighting, story time and activities at 4 p.m. daily, with free family “Fryday” party Dec. 15, also at 4 p.m. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F.

Lighting of the giant Bill Graham Menorah at Union Square. Dec. 12-14, 17-19 at 5 p.m., Dec. 15 at 3 p.m., Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. “Bill Graham Menorah Day,” with kids’ activities and music by Jerry’s Kosher Deli, starts 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17 and ends with lighting.


East Bay

“Chanukah on Ice.” Giant menorah lighting Thursday, Dec. 14 at Civic Park Ice Rink, 1375 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. 7 p.m. $18+.

“Spin Till You Win.” Dreidel tournament with cash prizes Saturday, Dec. 16 at Chabad of Contra Costa, 1671 Newell Ave., Walnut Creek. 7:30 p.m. $50+.

“Life Size Dreidel Experience” and kids’ activities. Tuesday, Dec. 19 at Pacific Commons (near Dick’s Sporting Goods), 43440 Boscell Road, Fremont. 5:30-7 p.m. Free.

Under One Tent Grand Menorah Lightings. East Bay celebrations with latkes and doughnuts Wednesday, Dec. 13 at Alamo Plaza, Alamo, 5-6 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 16 at Blackhawk Plaza, Danville, 6 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 17 at Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, with music by Saul Kaye, 4 p.m. Free.

Lighting of Oakland’s largest menorah. Tuesday, Dec. 12 at Lake Merritt Amphitheater, between 12th St. and 1st Ave., Lake Merritt Blvd. 5:30 p.m. Free.

Claremont Hotel. Chabad Berkeley lights menorah in hotel lobby, followed by food and singalong. Dec. 12-19. 6 p.m. Giant menorah lighting party in the Tower Suite 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 13. Claremont Hotel, 41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley. All events free. For more Chabad Berkeley Hanukkah events, call 510-540-5824 or e-mail office@chabadberkeley.org

Temple Beth Sholom hosts candle lightings nightly followed by fun family events, including hanukkah gamut (adult education session), interfaith sing-a-long, oil tasting, and build-a-menorah workshop.

Giant menorah lighting in Danville. With music by Sam Glaser, Lego menorah workshop, face painting and glitter art. Sunday, Dec. 17. At Blackhawk Plaza, 3380 Blackhawk Plaza Circle. 
4-6 p.m. Free.

“Hanooka Festival of Lights and Latkes.” Includes klezmer shadow puppets and a silent auction for a menorah. Sponsored by Urban Shtetl Youth & Family Program. Saturday, Dec. 16 at Chochmat HaLev, 2215 Prince St., Berkeley. 4-7 p.m. $5-$20.


North Bay

Veteran’s Park lighting. Honoring Napa police and fire chiefs. Live klezmer, traditional treats. Thursday, Dec. 14 at park on Main Street, Napa. 5 p.m. Free.

“Light Up the Night.” Grand menorah lighting with raffle, latkes, doughnuts and participation of civic leaders. Tuesday, Dec. 12 at Whole Foods Market, 790 De Long Ave., Novato. 5 p.m. Free.

“Chanukah at the River.” With 9-foot menorah, fire juggling, live magic show and treats. Tuesday, Dec. 12. At Water Street Promenade, 100 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 4:30-6 p.m. Free with RSVP.

“Chanukah Extravaganza.” With live music by Good Shabbos klezmer band and pescatarian kosher potluck (by assignment). Light your own menorah Saturday, Dec. 16. At Congregation Ner Shalom, 85 La Plaza, Cotati. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Free with RSVP.

“Chanukah Wonderland.” Tuesday, Dec. 19 party at Jelly Belly factory, with lighting of giant jelly bean-filled menorah, at 1 Jelly Belly Lane, Fairfield. 4-7 p.m. Free.

Hanukkah festival at the mall. With live music and kosher food, including latkes. Sunday, Dec. 17 at Montgomery Village, 911 Village Court., Santa Rosa. 4-6 p.m. Other events in Healdsburg, Cotati and Santa Rosa.


South Bay

Hanukkah at Stanford Mall. Arts and crafts, candlelighting, dreidel games, children’s musician Isaac Zones. Thursday, Dec. 14 at Macy’s Plaza, Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto. 5:30 p.m. Free.

“Flames and Friends Flametacular.” Bring your own menorah to light with other congregants. Friday, Dec. 15 at Congregation Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St., Palo Alto. 7:30 p.m. Free.

Burlingame giant coin menorah lighting. With live music by Saul Kaye. Fundraiser for North Bay fire victims. Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 240 Park Road, Burlingame. 6-7 p.m. Free with RSVP.

“Latkepalooza Unplugged.” Arts and crafts, dancing, latkes, candlelighting, music. WIne and vodka tasting for adults. Saturday, Dec. 16 at Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. 4 p.m. Free.

“Chanukah on Ice.” Saturday, Dec. 16 at Central Park, 50 East Fifth Ave., San Mateo. 7 p.m. $10-$13 per person to skate.

Russian speakers celebration. Candlelighting, traditional foods and conversation. Monday, Dec. 18 at Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 6 p.m. RSVP by Dec. 15.