Hanukkah Traditions and Celebrations in New York City


Hanukkah in New York City

World's Largest Menorah located in Central Park: 32 feet and 4,000 lbs


With millions of Jews living in New York City, Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is no doubt going to shine on during the Winter Season.

Especially in the city, crowds gather in order to share one of the 8 nights of Hanukkah.

Seen here is a crowd gathered around the World’s Largest Menorah.


I had the privilege of interviewing two admirable members of the Jewish Community: Matthew Isaacson, my Jewish mentor and leader of the Bar-Mitzvah Program at the Manhattan Beach Jewish Center, and Rabbi Zelikovitz of the Manhattan Beach Synagogue, about their views of Hanukkah and its relationship to Christmas.

Matthew Isaacson



  • Matt provides insight on growing up in Brooklyn
  • Traditions he and his family upheld
  • Hanukkah in relation to other Jewish Holidays
  • What is customary of a Jew on Hanukkah
  • His views of Hanukkah verses Christmas


Rabbi Zelikovitz

rabbi z interview


  • The Rabbi explains his view of Lights in both holidays
  • Experience with growing up in Long Island and teaching his own children his same traditions
  • Explains traditions and religious protocol strictly adhering to celebrating Hanukkah
  • Discusses the Hanukkah Bush
  • Explains his theory on the more mainstream phenomenon of Hanukkah in New York City




Here is how one would play a game of Dreidel after lighting the Menorah:


  1. All players get an equal amount of pennies, chocolate coins (gelt), candies, raisins, or tokens.
  2. All players put one token in the pot in the center.
  3. The dreidel is a four sided spinning top with a different Hebrew letter on each side. Players take turns spinning the dreidel.
  4. The player acts according to the letter which is facing up when the dreidel stops spinning.
  5. Nun: player does nothing.
  6. Gimel: player takes all the tokens in the pot.
  7. Hay: player takes half of the tokens in the pot.
  8. Shin: player must put one token into the pot.
  9. The winner is the one with the most tokens when everyone is tired of taking turns.



Follow the Dreidel Link to learn more about the origin of Dreidel and how it was used for deceptively studying Torah!



The Following Video provides both visual and textual instructions to making your own unforgettable Hanukkah food:



Lighting the Menorah2

1. Arrange the lights on the menorah! On the first night, set one candle to the farthest right position on the menorah. On the following night, add a second light to the left, and so on.

2. Everyone in the house gathers around the menorah for the lighting.

3. Light the shamash candle (center lit candle). Then hold it in your dominant hand.

4. Stand and recite the blessings.

5. Light the candles. Each night, light the newest (left-most) candle first and continue lighting from left to right. (One would add lights to the menorah from right to left, while lighting from left to right.)

Christmas-Hanukkah Home


1. http://judaism.about.com/c/ht/00/07/How_Play_Dreidel0962934331.htm

2. http://www.chabad.org/library/howto/wizard_cdo/aid/597137/jewish/Lighting-the-Menorah.htm

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