Rabbi Dovid Bush lights the menorah in Petaluma in 2021.
Rabbi Dovid Bush lights the menorah in Petaluma in 2021.

Public menorah lightings and Hanukkah events around the Bay Area

The tradition of lighting the menorah candles recalls a pivotal moment in Jewish history — when a little flame could light up a dark world. Maybe that’s just what we need these days.

Hanukkah this year begins at sundown on Sunday, Dec. 18, and the eighth night will be on Sunday, Dec. 25, which we think might coincide with some other jolly holiday (we’ll have to check on that and get back to you). Perhaps a hanukkiah gloriously glowing with eight candles (and the shamash, of course) will help ease the December Dilemma this year.

We’ve included an array of Hanukkah events, but community gatherings to light oversize menorahs — events that never fail to generate warmth and good feelings of togetherness — are still the backbone of these listings. If you don’t see one in your area, check with your local Chabad center, as there’s a good chance they will be hosting at least one lighting just around the corner from you.


Sunday, December 11

“Menorah Workshop at Home Depot” — Kids ages 4-12 accompanied by an adult can make their own menorah. Free apron plus latkes. Presented by Chabad of Novato. At Home Depot, 111 Shoreline Parkway, San Rafael. 10-11:30 a.m. Free.

”Hanukkah Concert & Cafe” — Performance by CBS children’s choir, community sing-along and Hanukkah story. Followed by a cafe with breakfast bites and holiday treats. RSVP by Dec. 8. At Congregation Beth Shalom, 1455 Elm St., Napa. 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Free.

Sunday, December 18

Novato menorah lighting — Outdoor event includes a gelt drop with Novato Firefighter Ryan Hamilton, latkes, doughnuts, crafts and entertainment for kids. Presented by Chabad of Novato. At City Hall, 901 Sherman Ave., Novato. 4 p.m. Free.

Corte Madera menorah lighting — Chabad of Larkspur-Corte Madera presents a grand gumball menorah, gelt drop, inflatable gym and slide, latkes, soup, crafts for kids and a dreidel contest. At Menke Park, Redwood Ave., Corte Madera. 4-6 p.m. Free.

Hanukkah at Silverado Country Club — Menorah lighting and sing-along, plus baked goods, latkes, coffee, tea and juice. Presented by Congregation Beth Shalom of Napa Valley. At Silverado, 1600 Atlas Peak Road, Napa. 4-6 p.m. Free.

Congregation Shir Shalom lighting — First night celebration with giant menorah lighting, hot cocoa, snacks and music. At Shir Shalom, 252 W. Spain St., Sonoma. 4-5 p.m. Free.

“Light Up the Night” — Chabad Jewish Center of Sonoma County presents live music, latkes, gelt, menorah lighting and more. At Village Court in Montgomery Village shopping center, Santa Rosa. 4 p.m. Free.

Monday, December 19

Healdsburg Plaza — Chabad Jewish Center of Sonoma County presents latkes, dreidels, gelt, menorah lighting and more. At Oakville Grocery, 124 W. Matheson St., Healdsburg. 5 p.m. Free.

Thursday, December 22

Corte Madera celebration — Chabad of Larkspur-Corte Madera presents a menorah lighting, latkes, gelt, a giant light up dreidel and Hanukkah music. At 100 Corte Madera Town Center, elephant fountain, Corte Madera. 5-6 p.m. Free.

Napa menorah lighting — Chabad of Napa Valley presents a menorah lighting with local dignitaries, live music, gelt,  latkes, doughnuts, dreidels and crafts. Sponsored by Touro University CA. At Veteran’s Memorial Park, Main St., Napa. 5 p.m. Free.

Saturday, December 24

Hanukkah sushi party — Adults-only Havdalah/Hanukkah with open bar, menorah lighting and music. At Chabad Jewish Center of Sonoma County, 2461 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa. 8 p.m. $50, registration required.


Saturday, December 10

“Shine Your Light” — Hanukkah event with dinner, latkes, performance by Beth El’s chorus, concert and puppet show by the Banana Slug Band, Havdalah, teens-only programming and more. At Congregation Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley. 4-7 p.m. $8 adults, $5 kids, registration required.

Sunday, December 11

”A Tie-Dye Chanukah” — Workshop for kids 5-12 to make tie-dye winter beanies, put glaze on doughnuts and compete in a rainbow menorah-making challenge using Froot Loops. At Chabad Center for Jewish Life, 3014 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $10, registration required.

Sunday, December 18

Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek — Chabad of Contra Costa kicks celebrates the first night with a menorah lighting, live music, doughnuts, latkes, hot chocolate, juggling, balloon-twisting and face-painting. At 1275 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek. 4-5:30 p.m. Free.

“Hanukkah Under the Stars” — Chabad of the Tri-Valley hosts a menorah lighting with local dignitaries, live music, latkes, doughnuts and glow-in-the-dark fun. At Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore. 7:30-8:30 p.m. Free.

“TBT Hanukkahpalooza” — Temple Beth Torah celebrates its 60th anniversary with dancing, latkes, jelly doughnuts and music by the San Francisco Yiddish Combo. Bring menorah and two candles. At Temple Beth Torah, 42000 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont. 3-5:30 p.m. $10, $36 for families of four or more.

Lake Merritt in Oakland — 17th annual event includes menorah lighting, fire show, matzah ball soup, latkes, sufganiyot, gelt, dreidels, art and live music. Presented by Chabad of Oakland. At Lake Merritt Amphitheater, between 12th Street and First Avenue, Lake Merritt Boulevard, Oakland. 4:30 p.m. Free.

“Kehilla Hanukkah celebration” — Jewish Baby Network and Kehilla Community Synagogue present an event for kids to decorate a card, sing songs and learn Hanukkah blessings. At Lake Temescal, 6502 Broadway Terrace entrance, Oakland. 10:30 a.m. Free, registration requested.

Tri-Valley Cultural Jews — Hanukkah event includes an upcycled menorah-building competition, dreidel, latkes, singing and shmoozing. Location provided with RSVP by Dec. 11. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $15, members free. [email protected]

Tuesday, December 20

Alamo Plaza menorah lighting — Chabad of Contra Costa presents an event with music, doughnuts, latkes, hot chocolate, crafts and more. At 160 Alamo Plaza, Alamo. 5-6 p.m. Free.

“Stoneridge Hanukkah Wonderland” — Chabad of the Tri-Valley hosts games, crafts, activities, music and the lighting of a 9-foot menorah. At Stoneridge Shopping Center, 1 Stoneridge Mall Road, Pleasanton. 5:30-7 p.m. Free.

Piedmont celebration — Chabad of Oakland and Piedmont event includes a drone gelt drop, giant menorah lighting, latkes, jelly doughnuts, crafts and music. At Piedmont Community Hall, 711 Highland Ave., Piedmont. 5-6 p.m. Free.

Wednesday, December 21

“Oakland Menorah Parade” — A drive through the streets of Oakland; includes a big menorah to affix to your car’s roof and free party box. Followed by a lighting and refreshments. Start and end at Chabad of Oakland, 3014 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland. 5:30 p.m. Free, $250 to keep the car menorah. Register by Dec. 15. Email [email protected]

Afikomen Hanukkah party — Annual gathering with music, giveaway prizes, sufganiyot and a public menorah lighting. At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. 3-5 p.m. Free.

Thursday, December 22

“Light up the Night” with Berkeley Chabad — Giant menorah lighting with a fire juggler, kids crafts, dreidel, latkes, sufganiyot, gelt, dancing and live music by the Ferris Wheels. At the corner of Fourth and Delaware streets, Berkeley. 5:30 p.m. Free.

Saturday, December 24

Hanukkah Melave Malka — Chinese food, live music by the Ferris Wheels and board games. Vegan option. RSVP by Dec. 21. At Chabad House Berkeley, 1710 University Ave., Berkeley. 7 p.m. $18.

“Hanukkah on Ice” — Grand menorah lighting on an ice rink with music and a kosher food concession. Presented by Chabad of Contra Costa. At Walnut Creek on Ice, 1365 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. 7:45 p.m. Free, $20 to skate. Advance purchase recommended.


Friday, December 9

“Hanukkah Night Walk for Tweens” — For fluent Hebrew speakers. A nature walk for 4th-6th-graders led by Israeli botanist Talila Golan in celebration of Hanukkah. Presented by Oshman Family JCC. At Ulistac Natural Area, 4901 Lick Mill Blvd., Santa Clara. 5-6:45 p.m. $20, registration required.

Saturday, December 10

“Latkepalooza” — Peninsula JCC, PJ Library Bay Area, Tkiya Music and Wornick Jewish Day School present music, dancing, games, Havdalah, menorah lighting, a glow party, pajama fashion show, blacklight face painting, dreidel, holiday crafts, story time, pizza and latkes. At Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Free, registration required.

Sunday, December 11

“Festival of Lights Hanukkah party” — Jewish Baby Network and Congregation Beth Am present a multigenerational party and an early menorah lighting. At Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills. Free, RSVP requested. 3:30-5 p.m.

Saturday, December 17

“Latkes and Vodka” — San Francisco Yiddish Combo performs a klezmer concert for Hanukkah, with latkes and vodka. RSVP by Dec. 10. At Congregation Beth David, 19700 Prospect Road, Saratoga. 5:45-9 p.m. $18, 5 and under free.

Sunday, December 18

“Chanukah on Burlingame Avenue” —Chabad of North Peninsula kicks of the holiday by lighting a huge Lego menorah, plus arts and crafts, selfies with a dreidel mascot, latkes, jelly doughnuts, live music by the Saul Kaye Band, build your own Lego-like dreidel and gelt drop. Burlingame Avenue at Park Road, Burlingame.  5:30-6:30p.m. Free, RSVP requested.

OFJCC Hanukkah celebration — First-night event with craft-making, candlelighting, games, sufganiyot and concert with the Capriccio Chamber Orchestra. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 3:30-6:15 p.m. $15-$35, advance tickets required.

Hanukkah concert with Isaac Zones — Wornick Jewish Day School presents an in-person holiday concert for ages 3-5 and their families. Register by Dec. 14. Co-sponsored by PJ Library. At Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. 10-11:30 a.m. Free.

San Francisco

Sunday, December 18

“Bill Graham Menorah Day” —  47th annual menorah lighting in Union Square San Francisco, with kids crafts and entertainment by Isaac Zones. Lighting each night of Hanukkah through Dec. 25. Presented by Chabad of S.F. 5 p.m., earlier on Shabbat Dec. 23.

Cole Valley street festival Chabad of Cole Valley presents its 11th annual Hanukkah street party featuring a giant ice menorah, live music, fresh doughnuts, latkes, hot drinks, children’s activities, bouncy houses and SFFD gelt parachute drop. At corner of Shrader and Alma streets, S.F. 3-5 p.m. Free.

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

“Noe Valley Hanukkah Wonderland” — Chabad of Noe Valley presents arts and crafts, jump-house, live music, latkes, doughnuts, hot chocolate and a gelt drop. Co-sponsored by Noe Merchants and Noe Farmers Market. At Noe Valley Town Square park, 3861 24th St., S.F. 3:30-5:30p.m. Free.

Monday, December 19

JCCSF menorah lighting Community members are invited to gather in the atrium for daily menorah lightings and sing-along with music by Jonathan Bayer. Through Dec. 23. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 4-4:30 p.m. Free.