The Festival of Lights celebrates the rededication of the Temple. Legend has it that when the Jews lit the menorah, there was only enough oil to last one day. The miracle of the story is that the little bit of oil they had, burned for eight days. Lighting a candle each night on the menorah commemorates this miracle, but there is so much more to this fun holiday in Charlotte. These are the five best ways to celebrate Hanukkah in the area.
Marriott Executive Park Hotel
5700 Westpark Drive
Charlotte, NC 28217
Price: $20 members/$25 non-members.
Hours: Dec. 16 – 12:30 p.m.
Celebrate the Hanukkah season with a luncheon buffet at the Marriott, and enjoy a musical symphony by Rock Ha-Hanukkah. Traditionally, in each home, the joyous holiday is celebrated and families rekindle themselves, rededicating to their faith and enjoying customary meals. This luncheon, designed to do the same for a whole community, not just a household, is hosted by Irving and Lillian Blenstock of Temple Israel.
Chabad of Ballantyne
8632 Bryant Farms Road
Charlotte, NC 28277
Price: $5 per person
Hours: Dec. 9 to Dec. 11 – 5:30 p.m.
The Hanukkah Wonderland is a three-day celebration and is for all ages; children especially may enjoy the planned activities and games. Although not tradition, some modern Jewish families give small gifts, while everyone plays the dreidel with spinning tops. The significance of the Hebrew letters on each of the sides of the dreidel stand for the “Great Miracle Happened There.” Adults may enjoy the entertainment, music, traditional Jewish foods and participate in the songs as the Hanukkah season begins.
Sports Connection in Ballantyne
11611 Ardrey Kell Road
Charlotte, NC 28277-3340
Price: $15 per adult/$45 per family
Hours: Dec. 12 – 6 p.m.
Enjoy a celebratory Hanukkah Ball for singles and families alike. Experience traditional music and dinner with customary foods as well. Latkes and donuts for dessert will follow dinner and conclude the evening. Eating fried foods such as latkes or potato cakes, sufganiyot or donuts, mandelbrot or hard bread, and rugelach or filled pastries are significant as a reminder of the miracle oil from that night centuries ago.
South Park Mall
4400 Sharon Road
Charlotte, NC 28211
Hours: Dec. 9 – 5 p.m.
Rabbi Yossi Groner, senior rabbi, and his wife Leah Levin at the Congregation Ohr HaTorah present “Hanukkah Live.” This is an indoor event in which participants of all ages may come to build a menorah. As the candles on the menorah are lit, singing and rejoicing occur followed by blessings for the religious customs, historical miracles and food. Adults may enjoy Hanukkah music and entertainment, while children play with clowns, games and activities.
Congregation Ohr HaTorah
6619 Sardis Road
Charlotte, NC 28211
Hours: Dec. 9 – 4 p.m.
Just prior to the building of the menorah at South Park Mall, a car menorah parade will commence from the synagogue and end at the South Park Mall. Parade cars are equipped with special instrumentation to carry a large red wooden menorah. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff will escort this festive colorful parade. See the website for more information and utilize its resources, games and online activities for young children or newcomers.
Julie Callicutt is a freelance writer covering all things Charlotte. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.