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Eight Wonderful Nights: How to Celebrate Hanukkah in New Orleans

From a celebrity chef latke cookoff to an a capella concert and an interfaith Thanksiving day service, New Orleans celebrates Hannukah in many ways.

The Menorah is the symbol of Hanukkah.

The holidays in New Orleans are filled with numerous traditions and events for the whole family to enjoy. While New Orleans is known for being a Catholic city – see St. Louis Cathedral and the Saints – the city is also home to Touro Synagogue, the first Jewish congregation in the Gulf South, established in 1828.

This year, the first night of Hanukkah falls on Tuesday, December 12. From then until December 20, the eight days of Hanukkah are a celebration of spirituality over materialism, light over darkness, and the holiday commemorating the reclamation of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the Maccabean Revolt on the Seleucid Empire over 21 centuries ago.

Hanukkah Events Around New Orleans

Seasonal decor welcomes Hanukkah (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Menorah Lighting at the Riverwalk – Tuesday, December 12, 5 p.m. at the Riverwalk

On the first night of Chanukah, celebrate with the community as the Menorah is lit on the Riverfront. Enjoy music, kosher food, entertainment, and a Dreidel House for children at this event. The grand Menorah lighting is at 6 p.m. on the terrace overlooking the Mississippi River.

Latkes with a Twist – Thursday, December 14, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Little Gem Saloon.

The Jewish Children’s Regional Service presents this Hanukkah celebration. It’s a night of live music from The Marc Stone 3, a silent auction, and delicious latkes whipped up from Chefs Mike Freidman and Greg Augarten, co-owners of Pizza Delicious. Proceeds from the event go to support Jewish children throughout the Greater New Orleans area through needs-based scholarships. Tickets are $25.

Chanukah Family Dinner – Friday, December 15, 6 p.m. at Touro Synagogue.

Louisiana’s oldest congregation has their Shabbat Evening Chanukah service followed by a special Chanukah family dinner at 6:30 p.m. on this fourth night of Chanukah.

Mobile Menorah Parade – December 16, 7:30 p.m. at the Chabad House on 7037 Freret St.

Starting at the Chabad House Uptown and ending downtown in the French Quarter, this unique Chanukah parade features special throws and Jewish music.

Community Chanukah Celebration – Wednesday, December 17, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the JCC.

Celebrate the eighth night of Chanukah at the New Orleans Jewish Community Center. Free and open to the community, this celebration will include a feast of fried chicken and latkes as the Menorah is lit. Live music will be performed by the folk duo Eric & Happie.

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