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Light Up All Eight Nights

Everything you could want to do for Hanukkah, from ice menorahs to latke competitions.

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Hanukkah candles have never shone so brightly.  

Fourth Annual Latke Festival
BAM Cafe 12/10, 6:30 p.m.; 30 Lafayette Ave., nr. Ashland Pl.; 718-623-7811
Sure, you love your mother's latkes. But she doesn't have to know about this. At this annual chowdown, some of New York's finest kitchens (including Dough, Kutsher's Tribeca, Norma's, and Balaboosta) shred, season, and fry their best potato pancakes to impress a panel of cooks, food writers, and festivalgoers. And if you really think highly of your family recipe, you can submit it for a chance to compete. Or just head over and fill up on fancy latkes and drinks.

Sixth Annual Menorah Horah! Hanukkah Burlesque
Highline Ballroom 12/9, 8 p.m.; 431 W. 16th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-414-5994
If you're looking for retro glitz and glamour, plus more colors than eight candles could ever hold, Menorah Horah! is the best place to spend a little gelt. Dancers (eight, of course) bring back the vanishing art of erotica in this aesthetic time warp and cultural mash-up with big-time holiday production value.

Hanukkah Family Day
The Jewish Museum 12/9, noon–4 p.m.; 1109 Fifth Ave., at 92nd St.; 212-423-3200
For a family affair, head to the Jewish Museum for an afternoon spent making menorahs out of found objects, creating dreidels (you know you'll need them), dancing, and touring their famous collection of Hanukkah lamps. This is a holiday tradition for all ages, artistic proclivities, and intellectual curiosities.

Poppy Seed Players: Judy and the Maccabees
Merkin Concert Hall 12/9, 11 a.m.; 129 W. 67th St., at Broadway; 212-501-3303
With the coming of each Jewish holiday, The Poppy Seed Players offer kid-friendly re-tellings (read: short, with jokes and songs) of the story behind the celebration. Hanukkah is no exception, and promises a story in which Judy is "a feisty young girl" who bucks the menial chores assigned to her and wins the day.

Annual Chanukah Concert
Center for Jewish History 12/9 at 3 p.m.; 15 W. 16th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-463-6040
The CJH’s annual Hanukkah concert will feature jazz sax and clarinetist Anat Cohen, the Jazz Journalists Association's Clarinetist of the Year for five years running. It’s the first time anyone has earned that honor, and it’s even more astounding than the fact that there’s a Jazz Journalists Assocation.

Chanukah Lights
Center for Jewish History 12/16 at 11 a.m.; 15 W. 16th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-463-6040
Author Penninah Schram invites families to practice oral-history traditions on the last day of Hanukkah. The program is part of Family Stories at the Center, focusing on genealogy and oral history, and families and participants get to illustrate their memories of the holiday with guidance from Schram’s own storytelling. A great way to literally make history.

Beer + Latkes Hanukkah Celebration
92YTribeca 12/13 at 7 p.m.; 200 Hudson St., nr. Canal St.; 212-601-1000
Beer and fried potatoes go as well together as, well, alcohol and holidays. The pairing is even better when beer expert Dan Moss chooses brews to complement the innovative latkes of chef Russell Moss. A great sampling if you’ve never tried latkes before, and if you have, it’s an even better way to find a new favorite variety.

Sephardic Music Festival
Le Poisson Rouge 12/12 at 9:45 p.m.; 158 Bleecker St., nr. Thompson St.; 212-505-3474
Nothing makes it feel like the Hanukkah season like some old-fashioned Senegalese drumming. For Le Poisson Rouge’s 8th Annual Sephardic Music Festival, Zion80 combines Afrobeat and the music of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, Hasidic New Wave teams up with Yakar Rhythms drum ensemble, and the inventive Mika Karney performs from her newest album, Kol Dodi. Expect dancing. A lot of dancing.

Chanukah on Ice
Wollman Rink 12/10 at 6 p.m.; 59th St., nr. East Dr.; 212-439-6900
The gloom of December can bring down even the most lighthearted of us. Embrace the cold weather by joining Chabad for a night of skating and the lighting of a six-foot-tall menorah carved out of ice. The spectacle wouldn’t be complete without the a cappella choir, the Yeshiva Maccabeats, and, of course, complimentary kosher food.

Lighting of the World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah
Grand Army Plaza at Central Park, 12/8–16, 5:30 p.m.; 59th St. at Fifth Ave.
The city boasts what is said to be the world's biggest menorah, standing at 32 feet and weighing in at 4,000 pounds. Mayor Bloomberg will ride up on a hydraulic platform to light a candle and kick off the holiday.

The Eight Nights of Hanukkah with Yo La Tengo
Maxwell's 12/8–15; 1039 Washington St., at 11th St., Hoboken, New Jersey; 201-653-1703
Original alt-rockers and Hoboken natives Yo La Tengo take to Maxwell's in what has become a holiday tradition. The three-piece band keeps each night's opening band and comedians (why don't more bands do this for the interlude?) a secret, then invites guest musicians onstage to join in their epic sets. Unfortunately, all eight shows are officially sold out. Here's to hoping a loved one bought you a ticket for a Hanukkah present.


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