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Where to Celebrate Hanukkah 2016 with Kids in New Jersey

Image of jewish holiday Hanukkah with wooden dreidels

Start stocking up on gelt and wrapping paper, because Hanukkah is almost here. To help get you in a holiday mood, we’ve rounded up all of the coolest Hanukkah events for families in Essex, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Union counties in New Jersey. And there’s no need to wait—the celebrations start before the holiday even begins. You can choose from laser light shows, outdoor menorah lightings, ice skating, crafts, and other celebrations along with lots and lots of opportunities to eat latkes, donuts, and gelt. Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah begins on Saturday night, Dec. 24, 2016 and concludes on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017

SOMA Family Shabbat—Hanukkah Celebration
A relaxed Shabbat service followed by menorah-making and Hanukkah cookie decorating. RSVP requested.
Oheb Shalom Congregation, 170 Scotland Rd, South Orange
Friday, Dec. 9, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Hanukkah Torah Tots
Learn about Hanukkah through songs, stories, and crafts, best for ages 3 – 5 years and their favorite grown-ups.
Temple Har Shalom 104 Mount Horeb Rd, Warren
Sunday, Dec. 11, 10 – 11 a.m.

Hanukkah Family Fun Day & Laser Light Show
A fun-filled day of crafts, stories, and food, capped off by a Hanukkah-themed laser light show. Free and open to the community.
Temple B’nai Abraham, 300 East Northfield Rd, Livingston
Sunday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Lego Menorah Build
Help build a giant 14-foot menorah from LEGOs and light it, best for elementary and middle schoolers but all are welcome. RSVP requested.
Congregation Beth El, 222 Irvington Ave, South Orange
Sunday, Dec. 11, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

The IDF Musical Ensemble in Concert
A family-friendly performance of popular and traditional Israeli songs. Kosher dinner will be available for purchase prior to the show.
Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva, 110 South Orange Ave, Livingston
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 

Lego Night at Temple Sholom
Build the craziest LEGO creation you can, play Hanukkah games, and eat holiday treats. All participants will be entered in a drawing to win a LEGO menorah. RSVP requested, limited space available.
Temple Sholom/Scotch Plains, 1925 Lake Ave, Scotch Plains
Thursday, Dec. 15, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Pre-Hanukkah Extravaganza
Tot Shabbat followed by a Hanukkah dinner with latkes and Hanukkah songs. RSVP requested.
Temple Har Shalom, 104 Mount Horeb Rd, Warren
Friday, Dec. 16, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. 

Havdalah on Ice! PJ-Library-icon CMS-PNG
Take a spin around the ice rink and enjoy activities run by local overnight camps. The event is free but advance registration is required, skates are available in toddler size 8 and up.
Clary Anderson Arena, 41 Chestnut St, Montclair
Saturday, Dec. 17, 7 – 8:45 p.m. 

Hanukkah Happenings with Gan Ktan PJ-Library-icon CMS-PNG
Get in the Hanukkah spirit with holiday music, crafts, stories, snacks, and more. Best for ages 1 – 4 years and their parents, free and open to all. RSVP requested but not required.
Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, 110 South Orange Ave, Livingston
Sunday, Dec. 18, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Messy Mexican Hanukkah  PJ-Library-icon CMS-PNG
Celebrate Hanukkah with a Mexican fiesta and holiday craft. Best for ages 2 – 6 years, RSVP requested but not required.
Gottesman RTW Academy, 146 Dover Chester Rd, Randolph
Sunday, Dec. 18, 10 a.m. – Noon

Hanukkah Party @ Temple Beth Am
Party your way into a holiday mood with a DJ, photo booth, face painting, crafts, latke tasting, donut bar, chocolate gelt making, and more.
Temple Beth Am, 879 S. Beverwick Rd, Parsippany
Sunday, Dec. 18, 10:30 a.m. – Noon

Light Up the World
Help kids ages 5 and under give back during the holiday season with an age-appropriate social action program followed by lunch.
RSVP requested.
Temple Sholom, 1925 Lake Ave, Scotch Plains
Sunday, Dec. 18, 12:15 – 1:45 p.m. 

Hanukkah Party @ Agudath Israel
Hanukkah candle lighting and sing-along, balloon art, holiday-themed crafts, pizza dinner, and dessert. RSVP requested.
Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex, 20 Academy Rd, Caldwell
Monday, Dec. 19, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

Family Hanukkah Celebration @ Union Y
Listen to Israeli music, play games, watch the short Israeli children’s film “Lights, The Miracle of Hanukkah,” and eat latkes and other Hanukkah treats. For families with children ages 12 and under, RSVP requested.
YM-YWHA of Union County, 501 Green Ln, Union
Thursday, Dec. 22, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Pre-Hanukkah Shabbat Service
A family-friendly Shabbat service including a Hanukkah performance by Hebrew school students followed by Shabbat dinner. RSVP required for dinner.
Temple Sholom, 1925 Lake Ave, Scotch Plains
Friday, Dec. 23, 6 – 7:45 p.m.

Outdoor Hanukkah Candle Lighting
Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with an outdoor candle lighting, singing, snacks, and holiday fun.
Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex, 20 Academy Rd, Caldwell
Saturday, Dec. 24, 5:25 – 6 p.m.

Christmas Day @ the J—Hanukkah Celebration
Wear your coziest PJs and enjoy a screening of “Finding Dory,” with latkes, jelly donuts, and a few rounds of dreidel followed by open swim and gym time.
JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Ave, West Orange
Sunday, Dec. 25, 10 a.m. – Noon

Christmas Day Chinese Food & Movie @ the JCC
Enjoy a free Chinese food lunch buffet followed by your choice of “The Color Purple” or “The Secret Life of Pets,” RSVP requested.
JCC of Central NJ, 1391 Martine Ave, Scotch Plains
Sunday, December 25, 11:30 a.m.

Hanukkah Concert & Dinner
Celebrate the first day of Hanukkah with a performance by the New Jersey Cantors Concert Ensemble, followed by candle lighting, Chinese food, and latkes.
Morristown Jewish Center Beit Israel, 177 Speedwell Ave, Morristown
Sunday, Dec. 25, 4 – 9 p.m.

Festival of Lights Laser Light Show
Take in a Hanukkah laser light show by Wondergy, followed by light refreshments.
B’nai Shalom, 300 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange
Sunday, Dec. 25, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Mad Science Hanukkah
Mad Science Fire and Ice Show, Hanukkah crafts, hot latkes, and buffet dinner, followed by the lighting of the giant outdoor menorah, RSVP requested but not required.
Chabad of Union County, 193 South Ave, Fanwood
Monday, Dec. 26,, 4 p.m.

Outdoor Community Menorah LightingMaplewood
Celebrate the fourth night of Hanukkah with the lighting of a giant menorah at Ricalton Square Park, and nosh on hot latkes and Hanukkah gelt.
Ricalton Square Park, Maplewood Ave, Maplewood
Tuesday, Dec. 27, 6:15 – 6:50 p.m.

Hanukkah on the Green—Community Menorah Lighting
Watch the Mayor of Morristown take part in the lighting of a giant menorah along with juggling, a fire show, live music, free dreidels, donuts, and gelt.
Morristown Green, North Park Pl & West Park PL, Morristown
Wednesday, Dec. 28, 5 – 5:30 p.m.

For even more Hanukkah events, check out the JFamily Calendar.

 Editor’s Note: These listings were prepared using the most current information available, but before you pack up and schlep the kids out of the house, we recommend checking with each individual event organizer/organization to make sure that all of the information listed is correct.

Check out Kveller Greater MetroWest for the scoop on everything Jewish and parenting-related in Essex, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Union counties in New Jersey.


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