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35 Kid-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Hanukkah in New Jersey

Hanukkah

Hanukkah may be just eight days, but we are partying all month long! We’ve put together a list of family-friendly ways to celebrate the holiday all over Essex, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Union counties. You can party in your PJ’s, check out a giant menorah lighting, eat latkes and doughnuts, take in a laser light show and more. Looking for something Jewish to do on Christmas Day or vacation camps for the kids? We’ve got those too.

If you’re anything like us, you’ve already got visions of latkes, doughnuts, and Hanukkah gelt dancing through your dreams.  We’ve got all the recipes you need to make those dreams come true.


Hanukkah 2017 begins at sundown on Tuesday, December 12th, and concludes at sundown on Wednesday, December 20th.


T.G.I.S. Spreading the Light
Celebrate Shabbat and Hanukkah with a musical service followed by dinner. Service is free and open to the public, RSVP required for dinner. $7/person (children 2 and under are free)
Morristown Jewish Center Beit Yisrael, 177 Speedwell Ave, Morristown
Friday, December 1, 5:30 p.m.

Congregation Ohr Torah Hanukkah Carnival
Carnival games, bouncy house, face painting, crafts, prizes, and more. Pay online or at the door. $10 online/$12 at the door.
Congregation Ohr Torah, 270 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange
Sunday, December 3, 10 a.m. – Noon

Mitzvah Madness @ GOA
A morning of community service projects including making Hanukkah decorations for local seniors, keychains for lone soldiers in Israel, and blankets for Project Linus. Best for ages 3 – 7 accompanied by an adult. RSVP requested but not required. Free
Golda Och Academy, Wilf Lower School Campus, 122 Gregory Ave, West Orange
Sunday, December 3, 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Havdalah Hanukkah Pajama Party
Welcome the new week with Havdalah followed by a Hanukkah-themed magic show, crafts, and holiday treats. Participants are encouraged to bring new children’s pajamas, socks, slippers, or hats to donate. $5/child, $15 max/family
B’nai Shalom, 300 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange
Saturday, December 9, 6 – 8 p.m.

Havdalah Hanukkah Pajama Party with PJ Library
Celebrate Hanukkah with a short and festive Havdalah service followed by Hanukkah crafts and songs, gym time, and a light dairy dinner. Best for ages 8 and under. Limited space available, RSVP recommended. $15/family
Kidville of Summit, 30 Maple St, Summit
Saturday, December 9, 6:15 – 7:45 p.m.

Paint n’ Sip Messy Hanukkah at Gottesman Academy  
Hanukkah crafts followed by a treasure hunt and holiday treats. Best for ages 2 – 6 years, advance registration requested but not required. Free
Gottesman RTW Academy, 146 Dover Chester Rd, Randolph
Sunday, December 10, 12:30 – 2 p.m.

JKHA Hanukkah Chesed Family Fun Day & Open House
Family fun with Hanukkah-themed crafts and STEM activities, and a range of family-friendly tzedakah projects. Families can also tour the school, meet faculty members, and learn about the curriculum. Advance registration requested. Free
Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/ Rae Kushner Yeshiva, 110 South Orange Ave, Livingston
Sunday, December 10, 10 a.m. – Noon

Torah Tots in Warren
Learn about Hanukkah through songs, stories, and crafts. For children ages 3 – 5 years accompanied by a parent. Free
Temple Har Shalom, 104 Mount Horeb Rd, Warren
Sunday, December 10, 10 – 11 a.m.

Hanukkah Brunch
Enjoy a community latke brunch followed by holiday crafts and games for kids ages 3 – 8. Free
Temple Sha’arey Shalom, 78 South Springfield Ave, Springfield
Sunday, December 10, 10:15 a.m. – Noon

Hanukkah Carnival
Get in a holiday mood with games, crafts, bounce house, vendors, and a doughnut and latke bar. $20/family
Temple Har Shalom 104 Mount Horeb Rd, Warren
Sunday, December 10, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Hanukkah Celebration at the Union Y
Holiday fun at the Y with crafts projects for kids, live entertainment, holiday treats available for purchase, and screenings of the film Menashe at 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. Free
YM-YWHA of Union County, 501 Green Lane, Union
Sunday, December 10, 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Hanukkah Cooking
Make latkes, chocolate gelt, and edible dreidels, and complete in a menorah-making contest. For 2nd and 3rd graders. RSVP requested. $15/child
Temple Har Shalom 104 Mount Horeb Rd, Warren
Sunday, December 10, 1 – 2:30 p.m.

Hanukkah Laser Light Show
A dazzling combination of lasers, lights, Hanukkah, and science followed by menorah lighting. Come in your PJ’s and BYO-blanket. Limited space available, advance registration required. Members/Free, Non-Members/ $18 pp
JCC of Central NJ, 1391 Martine Ave, Scotch Plains
Sunday, December 10, 5:30 – 6:45 p.m.

Drop-In Baby Book Club
Hanukkah stories, songs, and playtime followed by open play in an indoor playspace along with schmoozing for the grown-ups. For babies ages 0-24 months. Free
Gottesman RTW Academy, 146 Dover Chester Rd, Randolph
Tuesdays, December 12 & 19, 9:30 – 10 a.m.

First Night Hanukkah Party with Dinner and Crazy Games
Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with dinner, Hanukkah treats, and candle lighting followed by games, face painting, and balloon art with the Party Maniacs. RSVP required. $8/child, $10/adult, $40/max per family
B’nai Shalom, 300 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange
Tuesday, December 12, 6 – 8 p.m.

Scotch Plains Town Menorah Lighting & Hanukkah Gelt Drop
Catch Hanukkah gelt dropped from the top of a fire truck, watch the lighting of a giant menorah and nosh on latkes and doughnuts. Free
Alan Augustine Village Green, 430 Park Ave, Scotch Plains
Tuesday, December 12, 6 – 7 p.m.

Hanukkah Arts & Crafts @ the J
Drop by the J for fun Hanukkah activities throughout the holiday. Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with a special arts & crafts activity. Free
JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Ave, West Orange
Tuesday, December 12, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Hanukkah Wonderland in Scotch Plains
Family Hanukkah event featuring hot latkes, doughnut decorating, moon bounce, holiday crafts, toddler play area, and candle lighting. $10/person, $45/max per family
JCC of Central NJ, 1391 Martine Ave, Scotch Plains
Wednesday, December 13, 4 – 6 p.m.

Living Legacy Olive Press
Drop by the J for fun Hanukkah activities throughout the holiday. Make your own olive oil to light the Hanukkah menorah, from pitting and squeezing the olives to spinning the extract in a centrifuge. Finish up by making a wick to use with the oil when lighting the menorah. Free
JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Ave, West Orange
Wednesday, December 13, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Hanukkah Celebration
Hanukkah candle lighting followed by pizza, latkes, DJ, dreidels, and dancing. Best for ages 6 and under, older siblings welcome. RSVP requested. Open to all. $18/adult $10/child $45 max/family
Pine Brook Jewish Center, 174 Changebridge Rd, Montville
Thursday, December 14, 5 – 7:30 p.m.

Oh Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel
Make your own edible dreidel to spin and eat. Free
JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Ave, West Orange
Thursday, December 14, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Fanwood Menorah Lighting
Latkes, doughnuts, holiday giveaways, and the lighting of a giant menorah. Free and open to all.
Fanwood Train Station, North Ave, Fanwood
Thursday, December 14, 6 – 7 p.m.

Lego Hanukkah Celebration
Have fun with Legos, play dreidel, light candles, sing holiday songs, and eat Hanukkah treats. RSVP requested, limited space available. Free and open to all.
Temple Sholom, 1925 Lake Ave, Scotch Plains
Thursday, December 14, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Light up Millburn Short Hills
Light the menorah, take a selfie with Judah the Dreidel and enjoy Hanukkah music, latkes, and gelt with the Chai Center. Free
Short Hills Green (in front of the Short Hills Train Station), Short Hills
Thursday, December 14, 6:30 – 7:15 p.m.

Family Hanukkah Shabbat Service
Hanukkah candle lighting followed by a musical, family-friendly Shabbat service and holiday treats. Free
Temple Sholom of West Essex, 760 Pompton Ave, Cedar Grove
Friday, December 15, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Hanukkah Tot Shabbat & Dinner
Celebrate Hanukkah with candle lighting, songs, stories, and a pizza dinner. Free and open to all.
Temple B’nai Abraham, 300 East Northfield Rd, Livingston
Friday, December 15, 5:45 – 7 p.m.

Family Hanukkah Celebration
Havdalah, Hanukkah candle lighting, make-your-own-menorah, cookie decorating, dreidel spinning contest, and more followed by a pizza and pasta dinner. Family celebration is free. RSVP required for dinner – $5/person.
Morristown Jewish Center Beit Yisrael, 177 Speedwell Ave, Morristown
Saturday,  December 16  5:15 – 8 p.m.

SOMA Family Latke Festival
Celebrate Hanukkah with candle lighting, songs, dreidel, kids’ activity stations, games, and holiday treats. RSVP requested. Free
Oheb Shalom Congregation, 170 Scotland Rd, South Orange
Saturday, December 16, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Havdalah Hanukkah Pajama Party with PJ Library
Celebrate Hanukkah with a short and festive Havdalah service followed by Hanukkah crafts and songs, gym time, and a light dairy dinner. Best for ages 8 and under. Limited space available, RSVP recommended. $15/family
Kidville of Denville, 3130 Route 10, Denville
Saturday, December 16, 6 – 7 p.m.

Kahal Chaverim Hanukkah Party
Hanukkah candle lighting, crafts, and snacks including latkes, doughnuts, and bagels. Sponsored by Kahal Chaverim, a Humanistic congregation. Free and open to all.
Randolph Community Center, 30 Calais Rd, Randolph
Sunday, December 17, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Shomrei Family Hanukkah Party
Celebrate Hanukkah with latkes, games, crafts, and live music. $5/person
Congregation Shomrei Emunah, 67 Park St, Montclair
Sunday, December 17, 5 – 7 p.m.

Hanukkah Candle Lighting on the Morristown Green
Sing holiday songs, light the menorah, and nosh on doughnuts with Morristown Jewish Center. Free
Morristown Green, 10 N Park Pl, Morristown
Monday, December 18, 7 – 7:30 p.m.

Israeli Competitive Games
Learn about the holiday while playing games.  Free
JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Ave, West Orange
Monday, December 18, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Family Hanukkah Celebration
Family fun with a DJ, entertainment, and holiday treats. Free
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, 60 Temple Drive, Springfield
Tuesday, December 19, 5:45 – 7 p.m.

Concert in the Café @JCC MetroWest
Sing and dance in the JCC cafe with Miss Nina and her pink guitar. Free
JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Ave, West Orange
Tuesday, December 19, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Keep Calm & Put Your Jammies On @ JCC MetroWest
Come in your PJ’s for a cozy morning of fun including a screening of Moana in the movie theater,  tie-dying t-shirts, and noshing on bagels. Free for JCC members & JCC camp families with advance registration. $18/pp at the door.
JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Ave, West Orange
Monday, December 25, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Chinese Food & Movies @ JCC of Central NJ
Chinese food lunch buffet followed by screenings of The Emoji Movie for kids and Keeping the Faith for adults. Advance registration requested. Free for JCC members, $10/person.
JCC of Central NJ, 1391 Martine Ave, Scotch Plains
Monday, December 25, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Winter Break Vacation Program @ JCC MetroWest
Fun, all-day programming for kids in grades K – 6 with daily field trips and swim time. Before and after care available. Advance registration required.
JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Ave, West Orange
Tuesday, December 26 – Friday, December 29, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Winter Break Vacation Day Program at JCC of Central NJ
Winter break Maccabi Games/Color War at the JCC including a GaGa tournament, Pictionary, tower building contest, and indoor swim. Before and after care available. Advance registration required.
JCC of Central NJ, 1391 Martine Ave, Scotch Plains
Tuesday, December 26 – Friday, December 29, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Kvelling in Essex, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, or Union County, NJ? Check out Kveller Greater MetroWest.


 

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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