Join with your community this holiday as we spread the light of Chanukah and rejoice in the miracles around us, large and small.
Community Menorah Lighting
As we light the Chanukah candles each winter, we are reminded of Jewish communities throughout history who never gave up courage and hope, even in the face of discrimination and hatred. This year, against the backdrop of an increasingly fractured and chaotic world, we aim to honor this proud legacy by kindling—and spreading—our own light in the darkness. Join us each night of Chanukah to light candles, celebrate as a community, and brighten your holiday with visions of hope from luminaries, activists, communal leaders, and educators.
Central members should check their inbox for the Zoom registration link to the community menorah lighting. The public may stream the programs each night via Facebook Live. We look forward to spreading our light together this Chanukah—and carrying the resilient spirit of the holiday year-round.
Here's our stellar lineup:
Sunday, December 18 (6:00–6:20 pm)
Evan Wolfson (Director of Freedom to Marry Global)
Monday, December 19 (6:30–7:30 pm)
In Person & Virtual
Dan Zauderer (Co-founder and CEO of Grassroots Grocery) and Sandra Perez (President of Holmes Tower Tenant Association)
Tuesday, December 20 (6:00–6:20 pm)
Eric Ward (Executive Vice President of Race Forward)
Wednesday, December 21 (6:00–6:20 pm)
Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson (President of Auburn Seminary)
Thursday, December 22 (6:00–6:20 pm)
Pastor Kevin VanHook (Director of Episcopal Charities) and Liz Kleinrock (Anti-racist and bias speaker)
Friday, December 23 (6:00–7:30 pm)
Shabbat Community Lighting in our Sanctuary
Saturday, December 24 (6:00–6:20 pm)
Rabbi Hara Person (Chief Executive of Central Conference of American Rabbis)
Sunday, December 25 (6:00–6:20 pm)
Scott Richman (Director for ADL’s largest regional office covering New York and New Jersey)
Share Your Miracles Using #JoyIsCentral
Help us light up our Instagram page this holiday! As you find joy and inspiration happening in your lives this Chanukah, snap a picture, post on social media, and use the hashtag #JoyIsCentral and tag us at @CentralSynagogue to be featured in our stories. We want to see how you celebrate with loved ones, the kindling of your candles, the final touches on your sufganiyot and other oily treats, how you are caring for yourself, others, and the world, and more. Whatever you find meaningful and brings you joy, share it with us.
Events and Opportunities
Spread Your Light: 8 Days, 8 Acts of Kindness
For Central Members Only
Sunday, December 11, 2:00–4:00 pm
Children ages 5–12 and their families are invited to participate in eight different community service projects with local nonprofits to lend a helping hand, nosh on delicious donuts and hot chocolate, and enjoy a festive concert. Central members should check their inbox for the registration link.
Shine a Light on Antisemitism Menorah Lighting
Open to All
Monday, December 19, 5:00–6:30 pm
Times Square, New York City (Broadway and 47th Street)
In the face of rising antisemitism, come together to light the menorah in a national demonstration of Jewish pride. Hear powerful messages from city and state leaders and foster Jewish joy with lively performances by Jewish musicians. Presented in partnership with JCRC-NY and UJA-Federation of New York.
Food Justice Chanukah Candle Lighting
For Central Members Only
Monday, December 19, 6:30–8:30 pm
Join Rabbi Hilly Haber, Grassroots Grocery Founder Dan Zauderer, and Holmes Towers Resident Association President Sandra Perez, for a Chanukah celebration at Central! We will be highlighting incredible food justice work taking place at Central and in our greater New York City community. Latkes, sufganiyot, and other delicious treats will be provided! We kindly ask that all attendees bring a donation for the Holmes Towers Community Fridge. Click here for donation guidelines. Central members should check their inbox for the registration link.
Chanukah Gift Drive
Open to All
Donate toys for formerly homeless children (ages 0–16) currently living in supportive housing through CUCS. Purchase a gift from our wish list or bring donations in care of "Amy Martin, 7th Floor" to the Community House security desk. All toy donations should be new, not used.
Coat Drive to Support the Breakfast Program Community
Open to All
Donate gently worn coats to people who need them most this winter. We will be collecting jackets in Lese Lobby of the Community House between Monday, November 28—Monday, December 12. All jacket donations should be adult sizes and male coats are especially needed.
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Chanukah.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Chanukah lights.
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, she-asah nisim laavoteinu v’imoteinu bayamim hahaeim baz’man hazeh.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in days of old at this season.
Blessing 3 (first night only):
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.