From fair trade menorahs to art murmur events, the East Bay's Jewish community is using Hanukkah to showcase the many ways this diverse community comes together. From children to young professionals to traditional family ceremonies, there is something for everyone.
There's usually a focus on children at Hanukkah, and several organizations are making sure there are things for young ones to do to mark the eight-day holiday, which begins at sunset Dec. 8.
Temple Beth Hillel, the only synagogue in West Contra Costa, will celebrate with a free Hanukkah Celebration, Latke Party and Artisans Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9 that includes a latke luncheon beginning at 12:30 p.m.
Temple members and local artisans will display and sell handmade crafts from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and festivities will include a celebratory candle lighting and blessings, children's activities and a raffle of selected handmade crafts.
Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations for the Richmond Emergency Food Pantry.
One big party for children is sponsored by Jewish Gateways, an organization that helps people find the right community by encouraging them to explore the various options around the bay. The party is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, PJ Library, Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito and Jewish Federation of the East Bay. It starts with arts and crafts, continues with storytelling and leads to a concert for children by local musician Isaac Zones. Bring gently worn athletic shoes for the World Wear Project.
According to Rabbi Bridget Wynne of Jewish Gateways, adults need a way to celebrate, too. The same organizations are also sponsoring an adult event from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 13 for those looking to explore the more serious elements of Hanukkah, starting with candle-lighting but continuing with workshops on themes like social justice and revisionist history. The evening will end with drinks, music and mingling.
EastBayJews, a group for young adults affiliated with the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, is creating a space at Oakland's Art Murmur, the monthly art gallery crawl, with games, activities, raffles and prizes. They'll also solicit wrapped toys as donations for children in need in Contra Costa County.
Oakland's Beth Jacob congregation is hosting a family Chinese food dinner Hanukkah feast, followed by movie trivia.
To get ready for the gift-giving season, Congregation Beth El's Annual Hanukkah Bazaar is opening before the holiday. Besides selling a pre-Hanukkah taste of latkes, the Berkeley temple will set up shop with menorahs, jewelry, Jewish music, books, toys and party supplies on offer. Before the bazaar opens, children can stop by for family fun, at 10 a.m.
For some fair-trade Hanukkah merchandise, Berkeley synagogue Netivot Shalom is hosting a sale before the holiday begins. To the strains of live Jewish rock and traditional music, kids can jump in a bounce house while shoppers find local menorahs, dreidels and candles as well as fair-trade gifts from Africa, Asia and South America. Calligrapher Debra Band and children's author Josh Buchin will also stop by and there's even fair trade Hanukkah geld.
Temple Beth Hillel: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9, 801 Park Central, Richmond. tbhrichmond.org, 510-223-2560
Jewish Community Center of the East Bay: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley, www.jcceastbay.org, 510-559-8140; $5. Event for adults will be 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 13
EastBayJews: 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Douglas Parking, Broadway Avenue north of 23rd Street, 510-318-6435
Beth Jacob congregation: 6:45 p.m. Dec. 15, $10 per person, $36 per family, 3778 Park Blvd., firstname.lastname@example.org
Congregation Beth El: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 2, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley, www.bethelberkeley.org
Netivot Shalom: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 2, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley, netivottest.org