From loukoumades and latkes to the lighting of the menorah, a number of traditions are associated with the festive holiday of Hanukkah. Families, synagogues and Jewish organizations hold dinners, play dreidel and keep to the ancient gelt-giving custom. In addition to these celebrations, there are plenty of other popular Hanukkah events throughout the Philadelphia area. These are the top activities in the region for the holiday known as the Festival of Lights.
National Museum of American Jewish History
101 S. Independence Mall E
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 923-3811

Price: free with museum admission
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Enjoy six floors of fun on Dec. 25 when the National Museum of American Jewish History holds its annual Being Jewish at Christmas event. Families may play board games in the classrooms, listen to stories about the history of Hanukkah and enjoy all types of music. The Museum Store will offer a 10-percent discount, and Pomegranates Café will feature child-friendly specials. New for this year is a family dance party by Baby Loves Disco. All ages, from 6 months to 96 years, can enjoy music spun by a DJ, dance lessons, contests, interactive games and snacks.

Related: Jewish Museum Remembers Arlen Specter

Chabad Lubavitch

1925 Kresson Road
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
(856) 874-1500 ext. 302

Price: $18, $36 and $54 sponsorships

The lighting of the menorah is a centuries-old tradition dating back to the miraculous eight-day burning at the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. To celebrate this sacred event, Chabad Lubavitch Center will hold South Jersey’s Annual Car Menorah Parade on Dec. 9. Menorahs will be placed on car rooftops free of charge, and the convoy of cars will then depart from the Chabad Center and end at Barclays Shopping Center for a menorah lighting. To reserve a spot, call or fill out the online form.

Related: Stolen Menorah Recovered In Haddonfield, NJ

Chabad of Medford

22 Wisina Court
Medford, NJ 08055
609) 953-3150

Price: free
Hours: 6 p.m.

The message of the miracle of the menorah is that light dispels darkness. With that in mind, Chabad of Medford will light up the corner of Main and Allen Streets during the Medford Menorah Lighting on Dec. 10. The outdoor event will feature a giant lighting with guest speakers and reenactments. Traditional hot and cold baked and fried foods, along with soft drinks, will be served. Dress for cold weather.

Ocean Harbor Restaurant

1023 Race St. 7
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215) 574-1398

Price: $69 in advance/$80 at the door
Hours: Dec. 24 – 6 p.m.

This is the fifth year that the popular Moo Shu Jew Show returns to Philadelphia, but this time, it’s at a new location. Ocean Harbor Restaurant will host the show this year on Christmas Eve. As its name implies, the event includes a Chinese dinner along with some of the country’s funniest Jewish stand-up comics. While the food is not kosher, vegetarian options will be on the menu.

Gershman Y

Levitt Auditorium
401 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 545-4400

Price: $16 in advance/$5 children younger than 10/$18 at the door/$7 children younger than 10
Hours: 2 p.m.

Set your calendars for Sunday, Dec. 9 for an unparalleled Hanukkah feast. Philadelphia’s annual Latkepalooza and Jewish Bakeoff is one of the city’s hottest foodie celebrations. Top Philadelphia restaurants will serve up their own lip-smacking twists on the traditional latke. Last year, more than 400 foodies attended to experience crispy-fried delectables made with everything from shallots and apples to smoked salmon and cranberries.

Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at