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Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greeks and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem (hanukkat ha-mizbeah) in the year 164 BCE. According to the book of Maccabees, Jews were not able to celebrate Sukkot that year because of the impurities in the Temple, and so they established a delayed 8-day celebration in the Hebrew month of Kislev. According to legend, when the Maccabees re-entered the Temple, they could find only enough oil to light the Menorah for one day; but a miracle happened and the lights remained bright for eight days.

There are special liturgical additions in our services during Hanukkah, but the most prominent aspect of the holiday is the kindling of the hanukiyyah (8-branch candelabra) each evening to fulfill the mitzvah of pirsumei nissa (publicizing the miracle). At B’nai Israel, our celebration is always marked by a special community event.

hanukkah celebrations 2023

Monday Night at the Movies
Monday, December 4
7:00–9:00 PM
Eight Gifts of Hanukkah (1 hr. 28 min.; English)
An anonymous suitor sends optometrist Sara a gift for each night of Hanukkah. On her journey to find her secret admirer, she learns her one true love might be someone she never expected.

Young Adults Hanukkah Event
Thursday, December 7
7:30–9:00 PM
Light candles, eat sufganiyot and schmooze with other like-minded young adults. Open to young adults ages 21–35. Click here to register.

For Teens: "You're So Not Invited to My Hanukkah Party" (Teen Hanukkah Party)
Saturday, December 9
8:00–10:00 PM
All 9th-12th graders are invited to the second annual retro Hanukkah party of the season. Join other teens from across the DMV at B’nai Israel for dancing, music, gelt, candle lighting, games, and prizes! No cost to attend. This event is for any Jewish 9th–12th grader regardless of denomination, affiliation, membership, or Jewish practice.  Click here to register.

Hanukkah Academic Competition and Chinese Dinner
Sunday, December 10
5:00 PM Trivia Contest
6:00 PM Dinner
We’ll form teams to compete in a trivia and knowledge contest followed by a dinner of kosher Chinese food. Cosponsored by Men's Club and Sisterhood. Click here to register.

Latkes & Lights
Monday, December 11
Festivities begin at 5:45 PM (see below for details)
Join us for a congregational celebration of Hanukkah, with something for everyone! There will be games and activities for our youngest members, a delicious dinner, a fire-spinning show, and a Hanukkah Miracle Concert to support Israel with Gersh Chervinsky, a professional concert violinist and violin teacher, and featuring other renowned musicians. Click here for details.

Registration is required for all events.
Registration for the dinner is due by Wednesday, December 6.

5:45 PM – Activities begin for families with children age 2 years old and up 
6:15 PM – Dinner 
7:00 PM – Fire-Spinning Show with Rabbi Cheryl Stone
7:30 PM – Hanukkah Miracle Concert for Israel (100% of ticket sales will be donated to the Israel Crisis Relief Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington) 

Click here to register.

Hanukkah Miracle Concert for Israel
Monday, December 11
7:30 PM
General Admission $36/person
VIP (preferred seating) $54/person
Students (ages 13-21) $18/person
Children 12 and Under are Free
Young Professionals (ages 22–39) $18/person
Join us for our Hanukkah Miracle Concert for Israel featuring the following performers:

  • Dr. Anna Balakerskaia, Pianist
  • Gersh Chervinsky, Violinist
  • Lora Ferguson, Clarinet
  • Dasha Gabay, Pianist
  • William Hurd, Violinist
  • Irina Kats, Pianist
  • Paul Alan Levi, Composer
  • Ian Pomerantz, Bass Baritone
  • Vasily Popov, Cellist
  • Noah Pan Stier, Violinist

100% of ticket sales will be donated to the Israel Crisis Relief Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Register at

HAZAK Hanukkah Ice Cream Party
with Cantor Josh and Friends
Thursday, December 14
12:00 PM BYO Dairy Lunch
12:30–1:30 PM Program
Join us for Hanukkah fun featuring Cantor Josh and friends accompanied by Jules Levine, plus songs and jokes with Sharon Doner and Cantor Josh. Click here to register.

Additional ways you can celebrate Hanukkah:

celebrating Hanukkah at home

Hanukkah Songs by Cantor Josh

Thu, February 29 2024 20 Adar I 5784