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 email 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:
Thursday, December 7, 6:00 pm, Virtual
Amy Spitalnick, CEO, Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Friday, December 8, 6:00 pm, In Person & Virtual
Shabbat Services in our Main Sanctuary with Clergy
Sunday, December 10, 6:00 pm, Virtual
Bishop Matt Heyd, Bishop Coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of New York
Monday, December 11, 6:00 pm, Virtual
Israel Civil Advocacy Center
Tuesday, December 12, 6:00 pm, Virtual
Alexandra Corwin, Executive Director, Ammud: The Jews of Color Torah Academy
Wednesday, December 13, 6:00 pm, Virtual
Edun Sela, CEO, Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM)
Thursday, December 14, 6:00 pm, Virtual
The Coming Home Leadership Team: Led by Dr. Dawn Ravella and Sequan Prude
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
Downtown Havdalah & Chanukah Celebration
Open to All
Saturday, December 9, 4:00–8:00 pm
Families with children ages 0–6 are invited to enjoy Chanukah stories, songs, and snacks from 4:00–4:45 pm before joining our all-ages Havdalah and candle lighting from 4:45–5:15 pm. Kids ages 7–11 can be dropped off by their parents and kick off their Chanukah celebration with our 4:45 pm Havdalah and candle lighting, followed by cookie decorating, dinner, and a movie. Questions? Contact Aaron Blasband at [email protected].
Spread Your Light: 8 Days, 8 Acts of Kindness (ages 5–12)
For Central Members Only
Sunday, December 10, 1:00–3:00 pm
Children ages 5–12 and their families are invited to spread their light by participating in eight community service projects to support Israel and local New York City nonprofits, including CUCS and the UJA. A menorah lighting and tasty treats will follow. Central members should check their inbox for the registration link.
Jacob's Ladder: A Chanukah Concert
Open to All
Wednesday, December 13, 7:00–8:30 pm, Main Sanctuary & Livestream
We are proud to host Jacob's Ladder, a group of talented musicians who push the boundaries of contemporary Jewish music and traditional American Roots music, exploring what it means to be an American Jew. They will join in harmony with Cantors Dan Mutlu, Jenna Pearsall, and Cantorial Intern Beth Reinstein. Be uplifted this Chanukah through the gift of music.
Sweet Treat: A Chanukah Chocolate Tasting
Open to All
Monday, December 11, 7:30– 8:45 pm
Have you ever tasted chocolate so delicious it felt like a religious experience...well, almost? The connection between chocolate and Judaism may be stronger than you think. Join Rabbi Deborah Prinz (author, expert on religion and chocolate, and Central’s first woman rabbi) for a brief tour of our irresistible new exhibition, Sweet Treat: Chocolate & the Making of American Jews, followed by a unique tasting session with a skilled chocolatier.
Chanukah Gift Drive
Open to All
Brighten the holidays for formerly homeless children (ages 0–16) currently living in supportive housing through CUCS with our Chanukah gift drive. You can either purchase a gift from our wish list or bring donations in the care of "Ben Korman, 7th Floor" to the Community House security desk. All toy donations should be new, not used.
Coat Drive to Support the Breakfast Program Community and Hotel 46
Open to All
Donate new or gently used coats to people who need them most this winter. We will be collecting jackets in Lese Lobby of the Community House through TBD or purchase through our Amazon Wishlist. All sizes for children and adults are needed. If purchasing through Amazon, please select "Coat Drive's Gift Registry Address" as the shipping address. Questions? Contact us.
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.