Let there be light for Hanukkah

City of Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett lights the Menorah while Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman looks on during the Grand Menorah lighting celebration the Decatur Square Sunday, November 2, 2018. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Caption
City of Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett lights the Menorah while Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman looks on during the Grand Menorah lighting celebration the Decatur Square Sunday, November 2, 2018. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

You don’t have to be Jewish to attend these Hanukkah celebrations in and around Atlanta.

“Hanukkah is a moment where we get to share not only our pride in being Jewish, but the notion of a season of light. It’s adding more light to our own lives by celebrating with family or adding light through the light of justice and making our world more peaceful and equitable,” says Lydia Medwin, a rabbi at The Temple, which was established in 1860 for German Jewish immigrants. “We want to share the miracle of light during the season. Not just for our own people but for everyone, and we’re proud to do it on The Temple’s front lawn.”

Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman of Chabad Intown agrees that you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy a Hanukkah celebration. “We have a lot of stuff going on,” he says. “It’s a holiday that has a very universal message that people can identify with. It speaks to the real values of our country — people having the right to celebrate their lives and traditions and do it comfortably without persecution. The holiday celebrates standing up to tyranny and being able to live their lives with freedom and consistent with the values and traditions. That’s what our country is all about and what makes us unique, the ability to live freely and express ourselves whether it’s our religion, philosophy, attitudes, politics.”

Adding, “It’s a joyous holiday that carries a positive universal message. It’s fun and people don’t mind eating doughnuts and latkes.”

Ah yes … food. Hanukkah is a celebration and several restaurants around town are offering special Hanukkah take-out to make it easier when family and friends come. Aziza is offering a meal kit for a family-style meal for six. The menu, which costs $250, includes potato latkes, vegetarian salatim, roasted brisket or smoked cauliflower and a sufganiyot assortment (doughnuts).

Caption
The General Muir has latkes on its regular menu, but they are especially important at Hanukkah. Courtesy of the General Muir.

Credit: Handout

The General Muir has latkes on its regular menu, but they are especially important at Hanukkah.
Courtesy of the General Muir.
Caption
The General Muir has latkes on its regular menu, but they are especially important at Hanukkah. Courtesy of the General Muir.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

The General Muir, with locations at Emory Point and City Springs in Sandy Springs, always has many traditional Jewish dishes on its menu including chopped liver noshes and matzoh ball soup, but it has a holiday catering menu with such items as a Lower East Side platter, bagel & schmear platter, latkes, Five Salads of Bubbe platter and black and white cookies.

Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is an eight-day celebration, from Nov. 28 through Dec. 6, that celebrates the rededication of a temple that was desecrated in the second century BC. A candle was lit and instead of burning for the expected one day, it burned for eight. It is because of the light for eight days that families light a menorah, one candle for each day.

“One of the things I really love about Hanukkah is that it’s all about having family and friends over. It’s not a High Holiday; it’s an opportunity to celebrate with friends and family and create memories,” says Chef Todd Ginsberg, one of the owners of The General Muir.

“Anything cooked in grease and fat is perfect for Hanukkah even though your house smells like McDonald’s for days,” says Ginsberg. “Obviously you have doughnuts and latkes but we have a very traditional dinner with meatball soup, challah and then I do a brisket where I try to recreate the flavor of my mother’s brisket. I call her every time and I know she puts in beer and ketchup but I add red wine, prunes, tomatoes.”

Caption
Food glorious food! Aziza has a take-out Hanukkah Roasted Brisket Meal Kit and Smoked Cauliflower Meal Kit dinner that serves six. The menu includes includes challah bread, potato latkes with herbed lemon labneh (strained yogurt), apple butter and cured salmon, roasted butternut squash with pomegranate, spiced carrots with ginger and honey, roasted hakurei turnips with sesame, scallions and pickled onion, and a Sufganiyot assortment including chocolate, spiced pomegranate raspberry jam & dulce de leche with crushed almonds & pecans. Courtesy of Aziza.

Credit: Handout

Food glorious food! Aziza has a take-out Hanukkah Roasted Brisket Meal Kit and Smoked Cauliflower Meal Kit dinner that serves six. The menu includes includes challah bread, potato latkes with herbed lemon labneh (strained yogurt), apple butter and cured salmon, roasted butternut squash with pomegranate, spiced carrots with ginger and honey, roasted hakurei turnips with sesame, scallions and pickled onion, and a Sufganiyot assortment including chocolate, spiced pomegranate raspberry jam & dulce de leche with crushed almonds & pecans.
Courtesy of Aziza.
Caption
Food glorious food! Aziza has a take-out Hanukkah Roasted Brisket Meal Kit and Smoked Cauliflower Meal Kit dinner that serves six. The menu includes includes challah bread, potato latkes with herbed lemon labneh (strained yogurt), apple butter and cured salmon, roasted butternut squash with pomegranate, spiced carrots with ginger and honey, roasted hakurei turnips with sesame, scallions and pickled onion, and a Sufganiyot assortment including chocolate, spiced pomegranate raspberry jam & dulce de leche with crushed almonds & pecans. Courtesy of Aziza.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

The Chastain in Sandy Springs is offering chocolate babka, which is made with organic local flour from DaySpring Farms, house-made chocolate fillings and dark chocolate. These treats, which cost $15, are available on Dec. 2 and 3 during the cafe’s morning hours.

The annual holiday show, “Invasion: Christmas Carol” at Dad’s Garage, an improv theatre company, will feature a special Hanukkah-themed show Dec. 4. In the show, the actors perform the scripted “Christmas Carol” but the twist is that a new character is introduced, forcing the actors to change the script and improvise to integrate the character into the play. In the Hanukkah show, the “Invader” (or introduced character) will bring elements of Judaism and Hanukkah into the performance. Find more on the show at dadsgarage.com.

Several synagogues are hosting Hanukkah celebrations open to the general public. Among the celebrations that welcome the general public are:

The Ahavath Achim Synagogue is hosting “Sparks of Light.” Enjoy food and crafts, dreidel hunt and fireworks. Donate to the JK&CS Kosher Food Pantry by bringing canned goods. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 4. 6:30-8:30 p.m. crafts and food out at stations; 7 p.m. dreidel hunt; 7:30 p.m. menorah lighting and singing; 8 p.m. fireworks. Free for the synagogue’s Kesher school families; $18 for non-Kesher families. Registration required by Dec. 1. 600 Peachtree Battle Ave., Atlanta. 404-355-5222, aasynagogue.org

Congregation Beth Tefillah is hosting the “Great Big Chanukah Celebration” featuring 8th Day. Come celebrate Hanukkah crafts and treats, Kosher Food Truck Alley, the Jewish Pride Menorah Lighting and an outdoor concert by 8th Day, a band that blends Jewish traditional music with pop, reggae and other genres. Gates open 4:30 p.m. Nov. 29. CBT members and associate members $12; non-members $20. 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. 404-8430-2464, bethtefillah.org.

Caption
191222 Atlanta, Ga: Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman has a short quiz with the children on meanings just prior to the Menorah lighting ceremony. Menorah lighting and celebration sponsored by Chabad Intown and MJCAA Day Camps. Music, entertainment, Dreidels, doughnuts, hot latkes, gelt drop and more. Children who RSVP will recieve and Chanukah gift. All photos taken Sunday 12/22/2019 at Chabad Intown, along the Beltline in Atlanta, Ga. (Photo credit Chris Hunt Photography) for 122319hanukkah

Credit: Chris Hunt

191222 Atlanta, Ga: Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman has a short quiz with the children on meanings just prior to the Menorah lighting ceremony. Menorah lighting and celebration sponsored by Chabad Intown and MJCAA Day Camps. Music, entertainment, Dreidels, doughnuts, hot latkes, gelt drop and more. Children who RSVP will recieve and Chanukah gift. All photos taken Sunday 12/22/2019 at Chabad Intown, along the Beltline in Atlanta, Ga. (Photo credit Chris Hunt Photography) for 122319hanukkah
Caption
191222 Atlanta, Ga: Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman has a short quiz with the children on meanings just prior to the Menorah lighting ceremony. Menorah lighting and celebration sponsored by Chabad Intown and MJCAA Day Camps. Music, entertainment, Dreidels, doughnuts, hot latkes, gelt drop and more. Children who RSVP will recieve and Chanukah gift. All photos taken Sunday 12/22/2019 at Chabad Intown, along the Beltline in Atlanta, Ga. (Photo credit Chris Hunt Photography) for 122319hanukkah

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Chabad Intown (chabadintown.org) has several celebrations. Each event has a suggested donation of $18 per family:

  • Virginia Highland. Hanukkah celebration with music, pre-packaged Hanukkah treats, dreidels, live entertainment and a menorah lighting with the wider VaHi community. 4-6 p.m. Nov. 28. North Highland Park (corner of North Highland Avenue and St. Charles Place).
  • Atlantic Station. Gather on the Atlantic Green to celebrate Hanukkah. 6 p.m. Nov. 30. 1380 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta.
  • Ponce City Market. Join in the fun with music, food, drinks, children’s activities, live entertainment and a traditional menorah lighting ceremony on the Yard. 6-7:30 p.m. Dec. 2.
  • Decatur. Join Chabad in celebrating with a menorah lighting with music, entertainment, dreidels, doughnuts, hot latkes and crafts for kids. 4-5:30 p.m. Dec. 5. Free. 509 N. McDonough St., Decatur.

Kesher Torah Synagogue. Kesher Torah is having a Hanukkah celebration with a lighting of the menorah, dinner, drinks and plenty of children’s activities. 5:30-6:30 p.m Nov. 30. 5075 Roswell Road, Atlanta. 404-589-4734. keshertorahatlanta.org

Caption
Who doesn’t love a holiday play? Preschoolers at The Temple in Midtown perform the Chanukah story for family and friends. Courtesy of The Temple

Credit: Handout

Who doesn’t love a holiday play? Preschoolers at The Temple in Midtown perform the Chanukah story for family and friends. 
Courtesy of The Temple
Caption
Who doesn’t love a holiday play? Preschoolers at The Temple in Midtown perform the Chanukah story for family and friends. Courtesy of The Temple

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

The Temple. Atlanta’s oldest synagogue is offering “Eight Awesome Nights of Chanukah,” Nov. 28-Dec. 6. Among the activities are a virtual lighting of the menorah every day (except Dec. 3) via Zoom or on Facebook Live, Hanukkah cooking classes and a latke lunch. In addition there will be a Shine a Light: Interfaith Solidarity Fighting Anti-Semitism and, on Dec. 3 there will Shabbat on the Lawn with hot cocoa and donuts; a musical Shabbat and Hanukkah services for all ages. The Temple, 1580 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-873-1731, the-temple.org.

Chabad Kennesaw. Acworth Menorah Lighting. Attendees are asked to stay in their cars or next to them. 6 p.m. Dec. 10. 3590 Frey Lake Road, Kennesaw. 770-400-9255, chabadkennesaw.org

Beth Shalom. Annual Hanukkah Party. Celebrate the last night of Hanukkah with dinner on the Azler patio, singing, activities and the lighting of the hanukkiot (menorah). 4:30-6:30 p.m. Dec. 5. 5303 Winters Chapel Road, Dunwoody. 770-399-5300, bethshalom.net