BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – As Hanukkah approaches, local leaders are encouraging the community to attend capital area events.

Rabbi Peretz Kazen, co-director of Chabad of Baton Rouge, says holidays like Hanukkah offer families and communities an opportunity to unite as they observe time-honored traditions.

While speaking with BRProud, he explained that Hanukkah is especially appealing when celebrated as a family gathering. This is partly because children are encouraged to play an active role in the festivities. As an example, Kazen said children can light the traditional menorah used during the festival – with adult supervision.

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah or “Chanukah” is a Jewish festival celebrated on the 25th of the Hebrew month known as Kislev, which typically falls in November or December.  It commemorates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem.

This year, Hanukkah will start on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 18, and continue for eight days, ending on the evening of Monday, Dec. 26.

How is Hanukkah celebrated today?

Rabbi Sarah Smiley of the Unified Jewish Congregation of Baton Rouge says Hanukkah is a joyous time of year that’s meant to direct celebrants’ attention to rededication and to what it means to begin again.

She went on to explain that one way to observe the holiday is to gather with family and enjoy meals that include fried foods.

Kazen added that people also celebrate by lighting candles on their menorahs at home. Anyone who wishes to participate in this tradition can contact Chabad at LSU and Greater Baton Rouge to request a menorah and related supplies.

According to Rabbi Smiley, after lighting the menorah, many people choose to place the candles in their windows as a way of following the commandment of Hanukkah to share the observance with others.

Hanukkah events in Baton Rouge

Kazen and Smiley invite residents of the capital area to participate in local Hanukkah-related events, some of which are listed below.

Hanukkah Celebration with the UJCBR Congregation

  • What: Participants will enjoy food and drinks as the Unified Jewish Congregation of Baton Rouge celebrates Hanukkah in anticipation of the first candle lighting that will occur over the weekend.
  • When: 7-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16
  • Where: 3354 Kleinert Ave., Baton Rouge

Read more here

Community Hanukkah Celebration – Gift Shop Open!

  • What: The Unified Jewish Congregation of Baton Rouge invites the public to join them in a celebration of Hanukkah. Latkes will be served, and participants are encouraged to play dreidels. The winner of the temple’s build-a-menorah contest will be announced.
  • When: 10:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, Dec. 18
  • Where: 3354 Kleinert Ave. Baton Rouge

Read more here

Chanukah at the State Capitol

  • When: 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18
  • Where: 900 N. Third St., Baton Rouge

Read more here