Hanukkah and Christmas – together again

Hold your breath and jump in, it’s a week of holidays. First up is Hanukkah which begins this Sunday night, second is Christmas on Wednesday. Full stop! Whether you are doing one or the other holiday or both or neither, I want you to relax and enjoy it. If your family and you won’t be doing what you prefer this year, just let it go and figure you can reassess for next year.


Things to keep in mind to make this week, month, and LIFE easier!

Elements of a Christmas celebration can be adapted to fit ina Jewish environment

Why Christmas and Hanukkah overlap sometimes but not annually

When one of you loves Christmas & the other doesn’t –see it through each other’s eyes

Not happy doing Christmas? Make your peace with it for now

Your children and Christmas

Some people just don’t mind not having Christmas

Now go have fun!


Yoga for the Season of Light (San Francisco)
Light Up the Night! (Palo Alto)
Pop-Up Jewish Marin: Celebrate Chanukah! (Larkspur)
Shabbat in the Round Latkefest! (Berkeley)
Junior Jews Chanukah Pajama Party (San Rafael)
Annual Handbell Shabbat Service (Palo Alto)
Musical Shabbat Service (Redwood City)
Hanukkah Shabbat & Annual Shakshuka Lunch (Oakland)
Hanukkah comes to Stanford Shopping Center (Palo Alto)



Yoga for the Season of Light
Start your Hanukkah season with a mellow yoga practice that integrates morning blessings and movement. Led by Rabbi Copeland. Wear clothes you can move in. We supply the mats. All are welcome. For more information, please contact rabbi@shaarzahav.org.

Date:   Saturday, December 21
Time:   9:00-9:50 am
Place:   Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St, San Francisco


Light Up the Night!
Chanukah Flametacular
Bring your chanukiyah and 2 candles or 9 candles (your choice) for our mass candle-lighting on the patio. Why 9 candles for the first night? You’ll understand better after the grand re-enactment of the famous argument between the ancient schools of Hillel and Shammai.

Please arrive at 6:15 to set up your menorah. We will join in joyous song while the candles burn and then enjoy dessert, drink, and dreidel.

Bring a dessert or bottle of wine to share and your lucky dreidel if you have one.

Date:   Sunday, December 22
Time:   Menorah Lighting begins at 6:15 pm
Place:   Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma, Palo Alto


Pop-Up Jewish Marin: Celebrate Chanukah!
Chanukah activities for all ages! Dance to live music with klezmer band Ellis Island. Latkes from Wise Sons Deli and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) from Johnny Doughnuts. Menorah lighting, songs, and activities with Congregation Rodef Sholom, and much more! In Partnership with the Osher Marin JCC, Brandeis Marin, Congregation Rodef Sholom, Marin Country Mart, Marin JCC Camp, Marin JCC Preschools San Rafael & Tiburon, Kesher Marin, and PJ Library. More info here.

Date:   Monday, December 23
Time:   3-6 pm
Place:   Marin Country Mart Central Playground/Copperfield’s Books, 2257 Larkspur Landing Cir, Larkspur


Shabbat in the Round Latkefest!
Come experience an extra lively, musical, rejuvenating and instrumental Shabbat, on the 4th Friday of each month! In December, we will share a catered dinner + latkes, applesauce and sour cream dinner (please RSVP here). Afterwards we’ll celebrate Chanukah as a community with a musical service and Chanukiah-lighting. Don’t forget to bring your family’s menorah! Will wrap up the evening with an oneg and dreidel-spinning.

Date:   Friday, December 27
Time:   dinner at 5:30 pm; service at 6:15 pm
Place:   Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley


Junior Jews Chanukah Pajama Party
Bring your little ones (toddlers through kindergarteners) in their PJs, a chanukiyah and candles, and a blanket to sit on. We will sing songs, learn the story of Chanukah, have pizza in the social hall and light our candles together. No RSVP required.

Friday, December 27
Time:   5pm
Place:   Rodef Sholom, 170 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael


Annual Handbell Shabbat Service
Mark Goldstein will lead the last Shabbat service of the secular year with our traditional “Handbell Shabbat” with the Trinity Episcopal Ringers. Come and experience the familiar Etz Friday night service, from our siddur, with the usual prayers and songs (including L’Cha Dodi accompanied by handbells and harp) and a few surprises.

Date:   Friday, December 27
Time:   7:30 to 9pm
Place:   Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma, Palo Alto


Musical Shabbat Service
Led by lay members, we look forward to being together and letting the music stir our souls.

Dates:  Fridays, December 27, January 24, February 28, March 27, April 24, and May 22 Time:     7:30 pm
Place:   Congregation Beth Jacob, 1550 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City


Hanukkah Shabbat & Annual Shakshuka Lunch
Shakshuka Day isn’t about presents. It’s about delighting in good company and good food—including some steaming hot, spicy (or not so spicy) Shakshuka—on a Winter Shabbat morning following services at Temple Sinai. And it’s definitely not too late to sign up to contribute to the Kiddush lunch.  Just click on this link and see what’s needed, or suggest something delicious that you’d like to bring. But if you can’t bring anything, come anyway!

Email me (dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org) if you have questions or sign up here.

Date:   Saturday, December 28
Time:   10:30am Shabbat Service & 12:30pm Shakshuka Lunch
Place:   Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland


Hanukkah comes to Stanford Shopping Center
Celebrate the Jewish festival of lights with a musical performance by the fabulous Noa Levy and her band who will lead us in dancing, arts and crafts for the kids, dreidel games and a special candle lighting ceremony led by Etz Chayim’s Rabbi Chaim.

Date:   Sunday, December 29
Time:   5:00-6:00 pm
Place:   Stanford Shopping Center, 660 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto
Co-sponsored by Etz Chayim of Palo Alto.