Chanukah arriving late but public celebrations start early

Posted on: November 30th, 2016 by tgregory

Chanukah is traditionally observed in the home, but public celebrations have become commonplace, and this year is no exception.

In Nashville that includes congregational Chanukah parties and other communal events like the lighting each evening of the big Limor Menorah in front of Congregation Sherith Israel and the annual state and municipal candle-lighting ceremonies presided over by Mayor Megan Berry and Gov. Bill Haslam and other government dignitaries.

New this year is “A Country Chanukah” on Monday, Dec. 26 hosted by Chabad of Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland resort, where former members of the Israeli Defense Force will light a six-foot, 500-pound menorah carved out of ice. The 6 p.m. event will include ice skating, Jewish music and latkes and donuts.    

The Festival of Lights begins this year on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 24, although the celebrations get under way well before that, including the annual community-wide Chanukah Festival at the Gordon Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Dec. 18. 

The event is geared especially for families and children, and this year will feature Mr. Steve the Music Man, a local children’s musician who does a weekly morning radio show on WRLT Lightning 100 and emcees the Kid Zone for the station’s Live on the Green concerts in Centennial Park. 

The Chanukah Festival, which drew about 500 people last year, begins at 4:30 p.m. Admission is $10 a person with a $30 limit for families. In addition to the musical entertainment, the festival includes a full kosher dinner featuring the famous latkes prepared by Bernie Pargh and his team of assistant chefs. 

As in years past, there will also be art projects and games for children, said Jack Simon, director of children’s programming at the GJCC. And this year there are plans for a service project involving PJ Library.  •


Chanukah 2016 in Nashville 

Saturday, Dec. 10

The Temple will host a special Havdalah and pre-Chanukah program at 5 p.m. for families with children 5 and younger with award-winning composer, performer and educator Ellen Allard. Come in your PJs! 


Sunday, Dec. 11

Chabad of Nashville will partner with Home Depot to offer a free pre-Chanukah menorah Workshop from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Home Depot at 7665 U.S. 70 S. Participants will receive a free worker’s apron and then craft their own menorah from wood and other supplies. To make reservations call (615) 646-5750 or visit

Beit Miriam, the religious school at West End Synagogue, will hold “The Chanukah Games,” a schoolwide Chanukah team challenge, from 9:30 a.m.-noon. Parents are invited to come at 11:30 a.m. for zimriyah, Krispy Kreme sufganiyot and latkes made by the students. 


Friday, Dec. 16

Congregation Micah will hold a special Kabbalat K’tan with Chanukah dinner and Chanukiah contest. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with the weekly WINE-down followed by a special Kabbalat K’tan service with Lisa Silver and dinner. The cost is $10 adults and $5 for children ages 3-12. The dinner will include a main dish, drinks, latkes and dessert. Guests are invited to create their own 9-branched Chanukah menorah and bring it to the dinner to be admired, judged, and lit. Votes are cast using quarters and will be donated to tzedakah, with the grand prize winners selecting the Jewish charity that will receive the funds. Detailed information, Chanukiah contest guidelines, and payment options are available on the Micah website Events page at


Sunday, Dec. 18

The Gordon Jewish Community Center’s annual Chanukah Festival begins at 4:30 p.m. Admission is $10 a person with a $30 limit for families. In addition to the musical entertainment by Mr. Steve the Music Man, the event includes a full kosher dinner featuring the famous latkes of Bernie Pargh and his team of assistant chefs, plus games and art projects for kids.  


Tuesday, Dec. 20

• Mayor Megan Barry will host a pre-Chanukah celebration at 5 p.m. at downtown’s Public Square in front of the Court House. The event will include the lighting of a six-foot menorah, Chanukah songs by children from all of the city’s congregations as well as music by a band led by Rabbi Saul Strosberg of Congregation Sherith Israel. Chabad of Nashville will be distributing special Chanukah donuts, gelt and dreidels.


Saturday, Dec. 24-Monday, Dec. 31

• The large Limor Menorah outside Congregation Sherith Israel will be lit at about 5 p.m. each evening during Chanukah.

Chabad of Nashville’s 17-foot steel menorah, the largest in the state, will be erected on the State Capitol and lit each evening during Chanukah by various dignitaries. 

• For those who want to fulfill the sages’ edit that “Jews will eat kosher Chinese and see a movie on Christmas Eve,” West End Synagogue will host a special Chinese dinner catered by the Lucky Bamboo at 6:30 p.m. (A vegetarian, gluten-free option will be available.) The dinner will be followed by a screening of the movie “Frisco Kid” at 8 p.m. that will include popcorn and a drink. The cost is $25 a person. RSVP to or (615) 269-4592. 


Sunday, Dec. 25

Congregation Sherith Israel Sisterhood will hold its annual Latke Supper at 5:30 p.m. in the social hall. The cost is $12 for adults and $8 for children with a family maximum of $36. (No charge for children under 3.) Please RSVP by calling the shul at (615) 292-6615 by Monday, Dec. 19. 


Monday, Dec. 26

Chabad of Nashville will be host A Country Chanukah at the Gaylord Opryland resort beginning at 6 p.m. with the lighting of a 6-foot, 500-pound menorah carved out of ice by former members of the Israeli Defense Forces The event will also feature ice skating, Jewish music, latkes and donuts. For more information about the event and ticketing, go to or call (615) 646-5750.


Tuesday, Dec. 27

The Nashville Predators’ annual Jewish Heritage Night at downtown’s Bridgestone Arena will include the lighting of a giant “Menorah of Freedom” followed by Chanukah songs played on the arena’s Jumbotron. The ceremony will be at 6:40 p.m. and the game against the Minnesota Wild begins 7 p.m.  


Thursday, Dec. 29

Congregation Sherith Israel will host a Chanukah party for kids at 5 p.m. at the Krispy Kreme Donut Shop on Thompson Lane. For details call the shul at (615) 292-6614. 


Friday, Dec. 30

The Temple will hold a special Chanukah Shabbat service at 6 p.m. followed by a latke oneg.