The giant menorah in Union Square in San Francisco on the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 10, 2020. (Photo/Gabriel Greschler)
The giant menorah in Union Square in San Francisco on the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 10, 2020. (Photo/Gabriel Greschler)

Need a flicker of community? Here’s our list of public menorah lightings.

Oh Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the … you know the rest. If you want to come light the menorah in a communal setting, dance the hora with others (at a safe distance, of course) and possibly even gather ’round the (outdoor) table for jelly doughnuts or a quick nosh, these Bay Area events will fit the bill. The Festival of Lights begins at sundown on Sunday, Nov. 28 and will conclude with eight candles and the shamash burning low in the hanukkiah on the night of Sunday, Dec. 5. All events listed below are free and outdoors except where noted. 🎵 Dreidels to play with and latkes to eat? 🎶  You bet!


San Francisco

Sunday, November 28

“Bill Graham Menorah Day” — 46th annual menorah lighting in Union Square San Francisco, in-person and livestreamed. Virtual lighting each night of Hanukkah through Dec. 5. Presented by Bill Graham Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. 5 p.m., earlier on Shabbat Dec. 3.

Monday, November 29

JCCSF daily gathering — The community is invited to gather in the atrium for a menorah lighting and sing-along with music by Jonathan Bayer. Through Dec. 2. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 4-4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 30

Golden Gate Park — Congregation Emanu-El invites the community to an outdoor event with singing, dancing, latkes, treats and a menorah lighting. Proof of vaccination and masks required. At Golden Gate Park bandshell, JFK Drive at Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, S.F. 5:30-7 p.m.

Sunday, December 5

“Glowing Hanukkah Party at Ghirardelli Square” — JCCSF family-friendly outdoor pop-up includes menorah lighting, live music, crafts, games and treats, some from Harvey’s Donuts. Wear light-up, glittery, glow-in-the-dark items and clothing. At Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point St., S.F. 3-6 p.m.

“Noe Valley Hanukkah Wonderland” — Includes glow-in-the-dark menorah, arts and crafts, latkes, hot chocolate, gelt, fire show, music and dreidels. At Chabad of Noe Valley, 3771 Cesar Chavez, S.F. 3-5:30 p.m.


East Bay

Sunday, November 28

“Hanukkah Farm Festival” — Includes workshops on making apple cider and beeswax candles, baking tutorials, music, menorah lighting and more. For kids 6-12 and their families. Presented by Urban Adamah and Eden Village West. At Urban Adamah, 1151 Sixth St., Berkeley. 1:30-5:30 p.m. Sliding scale.

Chabad of Alameda celebration — A public lighting with a 9-foot Lego menorah, latkes, fresh doughnuts, chocolate gelt, inflatable gym and slides, crafts, music, dancing and a fire-juggling show. At Rittler Park, 1400 Otis Drive, Alameda. 4:30-6 p.m. Free, registration required.

Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek — Chabad of Contra Costa kicks off the holiday by lighting the tallest menorah in the county. Includes bubble show, S.F. acrobatics troupe, crafts, latkes, doughnuts and hot chocolate. At Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek. 4 p.m.

Bay Street in Emeryville — Chabad of Emeryville presents a giant menorah lighting at 4:45 p.m. preceded by arts and crafts, face painting, balloon art, live music, latkes, doughnuts and a magic show. Near the Apple store. At Bay Street Mall, 5636 Bay St., Emeryville. 3 p.m.

Tuesday, November 30

“Stoneridge Hanukkah Wonderland” — Chabad of the Tri-Valley invites everyone to gather for games, crafts, activities, music and the lighting of a 9-foot menorah. 17th annual. At Stoneridge Shopping Center, 1 Stoneridge Mall Road, Pleasanton. 5:30-7 p.m.

Wednesday, December 1

Chabad of Castro Valley celebration — Concert by the band 8th Day, arts and crafts for kids, individually packaged latkes/doughnuts and giant menorah lighting. At Creekside Middle School, 19722 Center St., Castro Valley. 5:30 p.m. Free, with registration.

“Afikomen Hanukkah Celebration” — Includes community menorah lighting with Rabbi Chaim, music with SingJam featuring Ben Kramarz, sufganiyot, prizes, special deals and more. At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. 4-5 p.m.

Saturday, December 4

Beth Chaim Congregation celebration — Includes a menorah lighting, music by Nathaniel Markman, dancing with Bruce Bierman, food, crafts for kids, complimentary drinks and more. At Blackhawk Plaza rotunda, 3380 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville. 5:30-7:30 p.m.

“Hanukkah Under the Stars” — Chabad of the Tri-Valley hosts a menorah lighting with local dignitaries, live music, latkes, doughnuts, raffle and a gelt-drop by the local fire department. At plaza in front of Bankhead Theater, 2400 1st St., Livermore. 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 5

Lake Merritt in Oakland — 16th annual menorah lighting with a fire show, matzo soup, latkes, sufganiyot, gelt, candles, dreidels, a slime factory and more. Presented by Chabad of Oakland. At Lake Merritt Amphitheater, between 12th St. and 1st Ave., Lake Merritt Blvd., Oakland. 4:30 p.m.

Main Street Plaza in Martinez — Congregation B’nai Shalom of Walnut Creek presents public menorah lighting with music and sufganiyot. At 700 Main St., Martinez. 5-6 p.m.

“Hanukkah Homecoming Grand Hurrah”—Temple Beth Torah presents a gathering in its breezeway for all eight nights of Hanukkah. Bring menorah and candles. Proof of vaccination, masks required. RSVP by Dec. 4. At Temple Beth Torah, 42000 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont. 5-6 p.m.

“JCC East Bay Hanukkahfest”—Includes PJ Library Story Walk, crafts, scavenger hunt, sing-along and doughnuts. Proof of vaccination required for 12 and up; masks required for 2 and up. Registration required. At JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free, donation suggested.


North Bay

Sunday, November 28

“Light Up The Night” — Annual festival includes live music, latkes, lighting of a large ice menorah, prizes and more. Presented by Joseph Weingarten Chabad Jewish Center of Sonoma County. At Village Court in Montgomery Village Shopping Mall, Santa Rosa. 4-6 p.m.

Petaluma Fairgrounds — Chabad of Petaluma event includes a grand menorah lighting, jelly doughnuts, latkes, live DJ, crafts, activities, prizes, dreidel carving, fire-juggling show and drone gelt drop. At Petaluma Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive. 4:30-6 p.m.

Monday, November 29

Healdsburg Plaza — Chabad Jewish Center of Sonoma County presents an event with latkes, driedels, prizes, large menorah lighting and more. At Oakville Grocery, 124 W. Matheson St., Healdsburg. 5 p.m.

Wednesday, December 1

Chabad of Novato community party — Decorate your own Hanukkah cookie, listen to live Jewish music, play games and enjoy dinner, latkes and doughnuts. At Chabad of Novato, 695 De Long Ave. 6-8 p.m.

Sunday, December 5

“Hanukkah Inside Out” — Osher Marin JCC invites kids and others to an event in its parking lot with crafts, music, sufganiyot, dancing, storytelling and more. At Osher Marin JCC, 200 N.  San Pedro Road, San Rafael. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Novato City Hall — Eighth-night outdoor event includes a drone menorah, gelt drop, fire and LED show, latkes, doughnuts and music. Presented by Chabad of Novato, city of Novato and Nugget Market. At City Hall, 901 Sherman Ave., Novato. 4 p.m.


Peninsula and South Bay

Sunday, November 28

“Rock of Ages Kicks Off Hanukkah” — Performance by the Rock Shabbat Band of Temple Beth El of Aptos, giant menorah lighting, crafts for kids and “a special treat at the end.” Also, an eighth-night menorah lighting 5 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Aptos Town Clock. At Temple Beth El, 3055 Porter Gulch Road, Aptos. 3:30 p.m.

Monday, November 29

“Drive-in Hanukkah” — Chabad of North Peninsula menorah lighting includes a glow-in-the-dark experience by L.A. Rainbow Events, live music by Jonathan Bayer, a dreidel mascot, children’s entertainment and doughnuts. At San Mateo location provided with RSVP. 5:30-6:30 p.m. $18 per car.

Tuesday, November 30

“Hanukkah Stroll Art and Gift Fair” — Congregation Kol Emeth event includes local artisans, restaurant vendors, snow-zone play area, Hanukkah characters to meet and greet, photo booth, music and menorah lighting, plus hot chocolate sip ’n’ stroll (extra charge). At Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Ave., Palo Alto. 4-9 p.m. $5 per person, $18 for family of four.

Wednesday, December 1

Leo J. Ryan Park in Foster City — Peninsula JCC and other nearby Jewish entities invite the community to a candlelighting, with Krispy Kreme doughnuts, latkes, gelt, dreidels, music and trivia. Masks encouraged. At Leo J. Ryan Park, amphitheater area, 650 Shell Blvd., Foster City. 7-8 p.m. Free, registration encouraged.

Thursday, December 2

“Celebration at Stanford Shopping Center” — For families with children, weather permitting. With music by Octopretzel, puppet show, arts and crafts, dreidel games and menorah lighting. Presented by Oshman Family JCC. At Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto. 5-6:30 p.m.

“Candlelighting at the Pruneyard” — Includes a short Lior Ben-Hur concert and a reading of “Larry’s Latkes,” a new book by local PJ Library author Jenna Waldman. Presented by Addison-Penzak JCC, nearby synagogues, day schools and others. At Pruneyard Shopping Center, main stage, 1875 S. Bascom Ave., Campbell. 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 5

“Hanukkah-Palooza” — PJCC, PJ Library and San Mateo Parents Club present an event on PJCC’s Koret turf field. With crafts, games, Jeremy the Juggler, magician David Martinez, waffles and french fries food truck, canned-food drive and menorah lighting. Proof of vaccination, masks required. At Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. 3-5 p.m. Free, advance registration encouraged.

Chabad of Palo Alto celebration — Enjoy the last night of Hanukkah outside City Hall with family activities, dancing, a giant menorah lighting, doughnuts, latkes and a chocolate gelt drop. At Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto. 4:30 p.m.