New York City is a capital of Jewish culture, and there's no better place to celebrate Hanukkah. Pour yourself a glass of Manischewitz, eat some latkes (or, while you're at it, bagels or pickles) and head out to these festive events.
Major League Dreidel Spin the Dreidel Tournament at the Knitting Factory
It might be surprising to see the words “Major League” before a seemingly noncompetitive staple of Jewish childhood, but that's far from the only incongruous aspect of this Brooklyn shindig. The celebration also features Gods of Fire, an outfit that shreds Hanukkah-themed metal songs, and Category Sixx, the self-proclaimed “World's Greatest Air Band.” Plus, the version of dreidel that “major leaguers” play doesn't have much to do with the traditional game; instead of Hebrew letters determining who wins gelt (gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins), players compete to see who can keep their dreidel spinning the longest. The action takes place in a so-called Spinagogue (a miniature stadium for spinning). For more info, watch this commercial from the event's creators, which features brash, anthropomorphized dreidels.
Third Annual Latke Festival at BAM: Brooklyn Academy of Music
Ever wonder if your favorite NYC chef grates their latke potatoes by hand or machine? Well, wonder no longer. On December 19th at 6:30 some of New York's well-known chefs share their renditions of this timeless Hanukkah favorite. Help the panel of judges crown this year's reigning Latke Master. Participating chefs include: Noah Bernamoff, Mile End; Thad Davis, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola; Robb Garceau, Great Performances; Jack Kiggins, The Plaza and Victoria Saladana, El Café at El Museo del Barrio. For tickets and complete information, visit greatperformances.com.
Matisyahu at Music Hall of Williamsburg and Webster Hall
This reggae artist is best known for the hit “King Without a Crown.” Celebrate Hanukkah at his “Festival of Light.” For more info, visit musichallofwilliamsburg.com.
Lighting of the World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah at Grand Army Plaza
Celebrate Hanukkah with the lighting of the world's largest menorah, at Grand Army Plaza (at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, across the street from The Plaza Hotel). This 32-foot-high, gold-colored, 4,000-pound steel holiday icon is a sight to behold. Every evening during the holiday, a candle will be lit. For the Sabbath, the lighting will be at 3:30pm on Friday and 8:30pm on Saturday (on all other days, a candle will be lit at 5:30pm).