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Sassy Mama’s Guide to Hanukkah

From the 8th to 16th December 2012, Jewish communities worldwide, including here in the ‘Kong, will celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. There’s plenty going on to mark this important holiday and we’ve got your go-to guide for everything you need for the perfect Hong Kong Hanukkah.

Hanukkah Food

Kosher Mart at the Jewish Community Centre at 70 Robinson Road is your first port of call for filling your shopping basket. With products imported from the US, UK, Israel and Australia, in addition to quality locally-sourced food, the JCC aim to provide a full range of Kosher goodies all year round, but particularly during festivals and holidays. Their Challah bread is famously yummy and there’s plenty of treats alongside all your Kosher grocery essentials. It’s also worth checking here for decorations, and other non-food supplies for your Hanukkah celebrations.

A restaurant and grocery store at 61 Connaught Road Central, Shalom Grill has a decent range of Kosher grocery products, mainly imported from Israel.

Following tradition, latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts) are widely enjoyed at Hanukkah, when deep-fried treats are eaten to commemorate the Miracle of the Oil, which kept Temple lamps burning for eight nights when there was only enough oil for one. We’re loving the sound of Martha Stewart’s Latkes with Pink Applesauce recipe but reckon secret family recipes are always going to be the best!

Decorations and other essentials

The eight-branched Menorah is a must-have for Hanukkah, being hugely symbolic of Miracle of the Oil.

The Driedl, a four-sided spinning top inscribed with Hebrew script, has great historical significance during the Hanukkah festival. The dreidel is believed to commemorate a game devised by Jewish people to camouflage the fact that they were studying the Torah, which was outlawed by the Greeks during the rule of Antiochus. If soldiers appeared, they would quickly hide what they were studying and pretend to be playing a gambling game with the top. These days, the dreidl is often played by children with a pot of gelt (chocolate covered coins) as a prize.

Buy your Menorahs and Dreidls at Kosher Mart, or check out Aishopping, an online store that ship worldwide from Israel and have an extensive range of decorations, Menorahs, Dreidels and Hannukah gifts.

Speaking of gifts, we love this Hanukkah fruit basket from Hong Kong’s own Edible Arrangements!

Another option is to make your own decorations, or better yet, delegate this to the kids! There’s a great range of Hanukkah ‘how-to’ videos here.

And be sure to check out our ultimate Hanukkah playlist by Sassy Mama, Haylie Ecker here!

Events

 

Chabad Hong Kong will hold the 27th Annual Giant Menorah Lighting at Chater Garden, Central on 9th December. Admission is free, and the ceremony begins at 4pm with a carnival featuring a Hanukkah magic show, music, a bouncy castle and crafts to entertain the whole family before the lighting of the giant Menorah. Also featuring at the ceremony is the 5th annual Lamplighters Awards. Founded in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008, the Awards promote community spirit amongst young people and asks parents and teachers to publically recognise acts of kindness from children and teens by nominating them for an honour.

Absolut Chanukah is a young professionals’ Shabbat dinner dinner held at 7-9 MacDonnell Road on 14th December. RSVP by phone at 2523 9770 or email [email protected].

Juda Chanukah organises kids’ events throughout the Hanukkah period and has a fab open house from 4.30-6.30pm on Wednesday 12th December. There’ll be fun holiday-themed activities such as chocolate decorating and latke frying, as well as plenty of Hanukkah games and a light room.

The Chanukah Run is a fun scavenger hunt for teens that takes place on December 8th,  the first night of Hanukkah. Kicking off at 8pm from MacDonnell Road, teens will need a fully charged smartphone and an octopus card to take part. RSVP via Michal 9046 0013 or Chavi 9046 3613

Chabad also have details of smaller events taking place throughout the SAR to mark Hanukkah, you can message them here or call (852) 2523 9770.

Up on Robinson Road, The United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong have not one, but two Hanukkah events for your diary. Friday, 14th December sees ‘Shabbanukkah’ (that’s Shabbat and Hanukkah to the uninitiated!), with kids activities and an early family dinner for the little ones from 5.15pm. A Community candle-lighting and special service follows in the UJC Sanctuary and a late Shabbat dinner takes place from 8pm. RSVP by 13th December to reserve your space.

On Saturday 15th December evening there’s an adults-only Hanukkah cocktail party at L16 Café and Bar in HK Park between 7pm and 9pm. Tickets are HK$350 with all proceeds benefitting the UJC. To attend, complete the Hanukkah Cocktails booking form and return to the UJC office before Wednesday, 12th December.

Organisations

For the full lowdown on all the Hanukkah events in Hong Kong, here are some of the Jewish organisations you can contact around town.

Shuva Israel Synagogue & Community Centre
61 Connaught Road, 3/F Fortune House, Central
(852) 6844 0472
www.shuva-israel.com

Ohel Leah Synagogue
70 Robinson Road, Mid-Levels, Central
(852) 2589 2621
www.ohelleah.org

Kehilat Zion Synagogue
Hechal Ezra, 1/F, Unit 105, 62 Mody Road, Wing On Plaza, Tsim Sha Tsui
(852) 2366 6364 or 2368 0061
www.kehilat-zion.org

Hong Kong Jewish Community Centre
1 Robinson Place, 70 Robinson Road, Mid-Levels, Central
(852) 2801 5440
www.jcc.org.hk

Chabad of Hong Kong
7-9 Macdonnell Road, 1/F Hoover Court, Mid-Levels, Central
(852) 2523 9770

www.chabadhongkong.org

Chabad of Kowloon
2/F, 11 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui
(852) 2366 5770

Chabad Of Lantau
(852) 3746 4701
[email protected]

United Jewish Congregation Of Hong Kong
Jewish Community Centre, 1 Robinson Place, 70 Robinson Road, Mid-Levels, Central
(852) 2523 2985
www.ujc.org.hk

Jewish Women’s Association
Jewish Community Centre, 1 Robinson Place, 70 Robinson Road, Mid-Levels, Central
(852) 2801 5440
www.jwa.org.hk

Asian Jewish Life Magazine
Suite 804, Winning House, 10-16 Cochrane Street, Central
[email protected]
www.asianjewishlife.org

 

Ohel Leah Synagogue Events:

Friday December 7, 5:30pm For children: Chanukah Songs and Sufganiyot Meet at the entrance to Ohel Leah Synagogue.

Saturday December 8 at 8:30pm: An informal evening with Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz who was described by Time as a “once-in-a-millenium” scholar.

OLS Chanukah Extravaganza @ the JCC 12pm-3pm including: Activity Stations, Festive Food and a Bouncy Castle. 2:15pm Master of Chanukah Children’s Quiz – First prize a $750 HMV  Gift Voucher. Every participant receives a prize.

Concuding Act: Master Louie’s Chanukah Fire Show.
OLS Chanukah Party and Menorah Lighting for Grades 2-5; Games, Latkes and Pizza; Tuesday 4pm-5:30pm @ the JCCChanukah Swim and Story Time for Kids 3-7, Wednesday December 12, 5:30pm @ the JCC.

Many thanks to Haylie Ecker (Twitter: @lovehaylie) and Ifat Kafry Hindes of Hinddesight Photography who contributed suggestions for this post!

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