How to Celebrate Hanukkah in Boston This Year
Latke feasts, menorah lightings, and so much more.
The last lingering days of 2022 have brought dark and chilly winter days upon Boston, but there’s a serious silver lining just on the horizon: Hanukkah. Though far from the most important holiday in the Jewish faith, this eight-day celebration honors the Maccabees’ successful revolt and retaking of Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago with fried foods like latkes and sufganiyot, menorah lightings, and so much more.
As you ready your candles and stock up on gelt, be sure to clear your calendars for these festive Boston-area Hanukkah celebrations occurring all throughout December.
The Jewish diaspora has blessed the US with all-star dishes like challah, kugel, and matzah brei, and if you’re in the mood for a fantastic feast, Mamaleh’s has got you covered. This cozy Jewish deli made its debut in 2016, slinging up classic cuisine in their polished Kendall Square venue. Head to any of the restaurant’s three locations around Boston this month to feast on latkes, or visit on December 16, when the spot is getting a head start on the Hanukkah celebrations with Mamaleh’s Fry Party, serving up all of your traditional favorites alongside contemporary spins like fried sturgeon and fried matzah balls.
Copley Square has earned abundant acclaim for its stately churches and iconic statues, and in just a few days, this historic Boston plaza is about to get a whole lot more beautiful. On December 18, Chabad Boston is celebrating the start of Hanukkah by lighting the first branch of the tallest menorah in all of New England. Amidst the free celebration, onlookers can enjoy music courtesy of the Solomon Scechter School Choir while chocolate gelt is dropped for young visitors.
Friday, December 16
Endless bragging rights and free-flowing fried potatoes are all on the table this December at Vilna Shul, a storied synagogue in Beacon Hill. Debuting on December 16, Latkepalooza and Trivia Night kicks off at 6 pm with a brief mixer that transitions into Kabbalat Shabbat services 15 minutes later. An hour later, a latke feast runs until 8 pm, when teams duel to become Vilna Shul’s 2022 trivia champion.
Sunday, December 18
There’s a whole lot of Hanukkah events happening across Suffolk County, but if you’re up on the North Shore, don’t fear—Swampscott’s Chanukah Run-a-Latke 5K Race is your ticket to holiday fun. The day begins just before 10 am with a little warm-up session at Chabad of the North Shore to the tune of live klezmer music, then kicks it into high gear with a run along the sandy coast. After a successful 5K loop, be sure to toast your job well done with a round of crispy latkes served piping-hot at the finish line.
Cost: Free to cheer, register on site
Thursday, December 22
A recent addition to the north side of the Charles, Cambridge’s cozy Vincent’s is equipped with a seriously impressive roster of natural wines and New American fare—but for a unique culinary experience, be sure to book a spot at this month’s Hanukkah Dinner on December 22. Complete with five dishes (fitting for the fifth night of Hanukkah), diners can look forward to black truffle blintzes, a latke platter complete with creme fraiche and apple butter, braised brisket, and a few surprises—and to top it all off, an optional drink pairing and a whole lot of wine and cocktails are up for grabs as well.
Cost: $90 per person
Thursday, December 22
With roughly one quarter of its residents identifying as Jewish, the Boston suburb of Newton is a Bay State bastion for the culture—and this charming community is home to several Hanukkah events this December. On December 22, Temple Emanuel’s Hanukkah Happens event celebrates its 32nd year, uniting Hazzan Elias Rosemberg to perform alongside the Zamir Chorale of Boston at the direction of Joshua Jacobson. A celebration of the term “Hallelujah,” this joyous performance offers 18 distinct chants drawn from cultures across the globe.
Sunday, December 25
Ed Burns Arena Skating Rink
If you haven’t gotten your fix of December weather yet, Arlington’s Chanukah on Ice is ready to make your most frigid dreams come true. On December 25, the Ed Burns Arena Skating Rink is opening its doors to attendees for two hours of frosty fun. Swing by at 10 am to lace up your skates (which come complimentary with your ticket) and zip along the ice to your heart’s content. And if you’re not particularly talented on a pair of blades, there’s no need to worry—the rink will be packed with face painting stands, a brunch buffet, and an 11:15 am menorah lighting to keep you busy.