Hanukkah Happenings 2023

Happy (almost) Hanukkah everyone! With most events happening in-person again this year (plus some online options), there are many wonderful ways to celebrate together here in Southern Maine.

Here are some of the great Hanukkah Happenings to help keep your annual traditions full of life and full of light!

For Hanukkah crafts, recipes, music and activities, check out our Hanukkah Hub.

Chabad of Brunswick/Jewish Women’s Circle

Chanukah Celebrations

Brunswick Town Hall, in front of Gazebo – Brunswick, ME
Grand Chanukah Celebration, Monday, December 11th | 5:30 PM

Enjoy hot potato latkes, fresh donuts, chocolate ‘gelt’ thrown from the Brunswick Fire Dept Fire Truck, balloon twisting & juggling show! Make your own donuts and dance to the Chanukah music. This event is for all ages. Fun for the entire family! The Menorah will be lit at 5:30pm. Click the link above to explore all Chabad of Brunswick’s Chanukah offerings, which include a building a Lego Menorah, Cocktails and Cookies, and more!

PJ Library Southern Maine

Menorah Making at the Children’s Museum

250 Thompsons Point Rd, Portland
Wednesday, December 6th | 2:30 – 3:30 PM
Join PJ Library in kicking off the Jewish festival of light with a menorah making craft activity at the Children’s Museum of Maine. The event will take place in the museum’s MakerSpace on the second floor, and it is free with museum admission. Admission to the museum is $15.

Beth Israel Congregation (Bath)

Community Chanukah Celebration

Latkes, candles, games and songs

Chabad of Maine

Start at the JCA, 1342 Congress Street, Portland –  End at 389 Congress Street, Portland
Thursday, December 7th | 4:10 PM (Grand Menorah Lighting at City Hall @ 5:30PM)

Join the Grand Parade or meet at City Hall to light the menorah!

Temple Shalom

74 Bradman Street, Auburn, ME 04210
Friday, December 8th | 6:00 PM 

Congregation Etz Chaim (Biddeford)

Congregation Etz Chaim, 34 Bacon St., Biddeford, ME (or online)
Sunday, December 10th | 5:00 – 8:00 PM (or 6-8 p.m. to join online)

Please join us at the synagogue for a potluck dinner followed by a congregation sing-along led by Cantor Strassler, the lighting of the menorah, and an evening of dancing to the live music of everyone’s favorite klezmer band, The Casco Bay Tummlers!

Admission Information:

  • Preregistration is required for both in-person and online participation.
  • Cost for in-person attendance (payable at the door) is $10/person and $25/family
  • No cost (but donation would be appreciated) to hear the singing and music online. (Please register for the link to watch via Zoom, or go to our Facebook page at etzchaimme)

Information on Potluck (5:00 – 6:00 PM):

  • Please bring a dairy or veggie dish to share (no meat, please)
  • Latkes, beverages, and desserts will be provided, by Chef Hagai Bernstein

Teen Class Silent Auction for Israel-Hamas War Fundraiser
Items include Judaic art, jewelry, and more. All funds will be donated to two organizations: Magen David Olam and Doctors Without Borders.

Virtual/In-person Activities (6:00 – 8:00 PM):

  • Sing-along led by Cantor Strassler
  • Lighting of the synagogue menorah
  • An evening of live music by The Casco Bay Tummlers
  • Dance instruction by Barbara Merson

To join in online, please register

Bowdoin College & JCA

Hanukkah Party with the LeeVees

Magee’s Pub, David Saul Smith Union, Bowdoin College, 8 Polar Loop, Brunswick, ME 04011
Thursday, December 7th | 6:00 – 8:00PM

Light the menorah with us for the first night of Hanukkah! Join us at Bowdoin College for a LeeVees concert and roundtable discussion with the band. Kid friendly and definitely approved! Fried treats will be provided. Tickets are free, limit 2 per registrant.

Musicians Adam Gardner (Guster), Dave Schneider (Zambonis), Shawn Fogel, Daniel Saks, and Tim Walsh will be featured in a roundtable conversation with Rabbi Carolyn Braun and Professor Margaret Boyle about Judaism in pop culture and Hanukkah through song lyrics and across languages. The performance will also coincide with the band being featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts.

Temple Beth El

400 Deering Avenue, Portland ME
Wednesday, December 13th | 5:00 – 7:00PM

The party that needs no introduction, TBE’s Annual Chanukah Party starring The Casco Bay Tummlers is back again! There will be latkes, soups, sweets, and a community art project to show our love and support for our Israeli family during this difficult time. As always, this event is sponsored by TBE families and completely free and open to all, but it is helpful if you can let us know that you’re coming. See you there!

Congregation Bet Ha’am

Light Up the Night Family Hanukkah Celebration!

Bet Ha’am’s Social Hall/Sanctuary – 81 Westbrook Street, South Portland
Friday, December 8th | 6:00 PM

Please join Bet Ha’am for the Annual Family Service & Community Candle Lighting

5:30 PM – Pizza Dinner
6:00 PM – Shabbat Service with Community Candle Lighting

Bring your own menorah and 7 candles. Stay for a delicious Oneg with homemade potato latkes. For the young and young at heart, there will be dreidel games and more! There is no cost for dinner, but donations are welcome. Families are encouraged to bring a potluck dessert to share.

Hanukkah Gift Shops:

Bet Ha’am (81 Westbrook Street, South Portland):

You can get ready for menorah lighting with Rabbi Saks and for Light Up the Night with holiday items from our gift shop (call before you come to assure we will be open). Join us on Sunday, December 3rd during morning religious school for our annual pop-up Hannukah gift shop sale. Buy your candles, menorahs, wrapping paper, decorations and holiday / jewelry. Great prices/one stop!

Temple Beth El (400 Deering Avenue, Portland):

Come on down to TBE’s Chanukah Gift Shop to pick up Chanukah essentials and extras! We will have candles, chanukiyot (both for candles and electric), dreidels, and gelt, as well as a variety of Chanukah themed gifts.

Hours will be as follows:

  • Tuesday-Thursday, November 28 – 30 from 10am-5pm
  • Sunday, December 3 from 9am-12pm
  • Tuesday-Thursday, December 5-7 from 10am-5pm and Friday, December 8 from 10am-3pm

Maine Jewish Museum (267 Congress Street, Portland):

The Museum gift shop is open and full of wonderful options for the upcoming holiday season! We have one-of-a-kind gifts made by Jewish artists with a Maine connection. Chanukah begins at sunset on December 7! Need some candles? A new menorah? Card? We’ve got you covered! Visit our museum shop Sunday through Friday, 12-4 pm.

Did we miss your Hanukkah event? Email Ilana at igilg(at)mainejewish.org and we’ll try to include it.

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