Lexington’s Jewish community celebrates the Festival of Lights for the 2nd year in Triangle Park! Join us in downtown Lexington for this year’s Community Hanukkah Celebration and participate each night as Jewish community organizations host candle lightings open to all at our public menorah.

This year’s Hanukkah celebration is made possible by a grant through our partnership with the Shine A Light initiative and Jewish Federations of North America.

What Is Antisemitism?

This year, Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass joins the Shine A Light initiative to bring into focus rising antisemitism in our nation. Please use these additional resources to learn about antisemitism and its negative impact on Jewish communities around the country, as well as ways you can fight against it and hate in all its forms.

What is Antisemitism? (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance)
The experts in the IHRA’s Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial built international consensus around a non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism.
See also: Antisemitism Primers (Shine A Light Campaign and IHRA)

The Translate Hate Glossary (American Jewish Committee)
Stopping antisemitism starts with understanding it. This glossary of antisemitic tropes will help you identify antisemitic rhetoric online and in everyday life.

Antisemitism Uncovered (Anti-Defamation League)
Antisemitism Uncovered: A Guide to Old Myths in a New Era is a comprehensive resource with historical context, fact-based descriptions of prevalent antisemitic myths, contemporary examples and calls-to-action for addressing this hate.

How to Talk to Children about Antisemitism (PJ Library)
Research shows that one of the best ways that we can help prepare our children to cope with discrimination and intolerance is by being open about it.

10 Things You Can Do To Fight Antisemitism (Center for Combating Antisemitism)
The Center for Combating Antisemitism and StandWithUs join together to highlight 10 things you can do to guard against antisemitism and to respond when you encounter it.

AJC’s Call To Action Against Antisemitism
AJC’s Call to Action Against Antisemitism in America calls for all facets of society to mobilize and unite to combat anti-Jewish hate.

Shine A Light Partner Resources
From news articles to lesson plans and other online resources, the Shine A Light Campaign partnered with a number of organizations to share resources on antisemitism, hate, and holocaust denial. View these resources to learn more.

This December, join Jewish communities around the nation as we dispel the darkness and #ShineALight on rising antisemitism! Learn, educate, and share your commitment to fighting antisemitism and hatred in all forms.

Learn About Hanukkah

What Is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah, the Jewish “Festival of Lights,” is a holiday beginning of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, which typically falls in November or December. The festival commemorates the recovery of Jerusalem and rededication of the Temple. It is often celebrated with the lighting of the “chanukiah,” or Hanukkah menorah, a candelabra with 9 branches (1 for each night of Hanukkah and 1 used to light them). The telling of the Hanukkah story is paired with traditional foods, games of dreidel and gift exchanges. To learn more about history of the holiday, visit this article by My Jewish Learning.

Hanukkah Traditions


No Jewish holiday is complete without enjoying some type of delicious food! At Hanukkah, Jewish families enjoy a number of festive dishes, including latkes and sufganiyot. Both dishes are fried in oil, commemorating the miracle of oil burning in the rededicated Temple’s menorah for 8 days – the length of time it took to prepare new oil!

Latkes or potato pancakes, are often made of grated potatoes and onions and fried to crispy perfection. Many Jews eat them with sour cream and/or apple sauce. Classic potato latkes are a favorite in many households, but you can find recipes for a number of different variations, including one with sweet potatoes or some that have other vegetables mixed in!

Click here to check out a classic potato latke recipe from chef Tori Avey.

Sufganiyot are jelly-filled donuts fried in oil and often covered in powdered sugar. Today, we find sufganiyot in various sizes and filled with a number of different jellies, jams, and other tasty treats.

Click here to check out a sufganiyot recipe from chef Tori Avey.


We might not have radio stations dedicated to Hanukkah music around the holidays or stores running Hanukkah playlists starting early in the season, but Jews around the world enjoy listening to their favorite Hanukkah tunes throughout the festival. There are a few standard classics (listed below), but you can also search online for more recent tunes from artists like The Maccabeats, Six13, Matisyahu, and even a 2020 hit by Daveed Diggs called “Puppy for Hanukkah.” Turn up the volume and enjoy these favorites!

Maoz Tzur / Rock of Ages- Traditional Hanukkah Song

I Have a Little Dreidel

Glee Oh Hanukkah LYRICS

Peter, Paul and Mary – Light One Candle (25th Anniversary Concert)

The Dreidel Game

Many Jewish children (and adults!) play with a 4-sided top called a dreidel. The Hebrew word for dreidel is sevivon, which, in Yiddish, means “to turn around.” Dreidels have four Hebrew letters on them, which serve as an acronym for the saying, nes gadol haya sham, meaning “a great miracle occurred there.” In Israel, instead of the fourth letter shin, there is a peh, which means the saying is nes gadol haya po — “a great miracle occurred here.”

Children often play with chocolate coins wrapped in gold or silver foil, which are called gelt.

This article explains how to play: How to Play Dreidel | My Jewish Learning


Lexington’s Hanukkah Celebration 2022 is made possible through a grant by the Shine A Light initiative and is produced in collaboration with Downtown Lexington Partnership. We would also like to thank our sponsors for their generous support!