Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights, begins ths year at sunset Saturday evening, Dec. 8 and ends at sunset on Sunday, Dec. 16. Here are some free and low-cost Hanukkah celebrations in and close to Piedmont that are open to everyone.
Chanukah Celebration @ Art Murmur
The celebration starts early with this event that's tied into Oakland's First Friday Art Murmur tonight. It's 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Douglas Parking Lot on Broadway, just north of 23rd Street. Music, raffles and other activities. Free. Info: Julia Malkin, diirector of East Bay Jews, email@example.com or (510) 318-6435.
Grand Lake Menorah Lighting
At Splash Pad Park, across from the Grand Lake Theatre, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9. Fourth annual Lighting of the Menorah, plus music, doughnuts, hot drinks. Free.
Hanukkah Dinner Series
Grand Lake Kitchen, 576 Grand Ave. (at El Embarcadero), Oakland is dishing up special dinners every night of Hanukkah except Tuesday. Guest chefs for two nights: Amy Remsen and Blake Joffe of Beauty's Bagel Shop on Sunday, Dec. 9 (vegetarian, $40 per person) and Risa of Foods by Risa and Sunday Supperings on Saturday, Dec. 15 ($50). Two seatings nightly: 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Call to reserve your seats: (510) 922-9582. More info: grandlakekitchen.com.
Kehilla Community Synagogue Celebration
At Kehilla Synagogue, 1300 Grand Ave., Piedmont, Saturday, Dec. 8, from 5 to 9 p.m. Sliding scale: $5-10 adults, $2 per child, $20 for a family. For more information, visit Kehilla's Chanukah Celebration page. The schedule includes:
■ 5pm: Kids' program with Octopretzel
■ 5:15pm: “Shining the Light Out,” a 45-minute Chanukah activity for adults and youth to explore a Chanukah practice that takes us beyond presents and latkes.
■ 6pm: Havdalah and Candlelighting (Please bring your menorah if you can!)
■ 6:30pm: Vegetarian Potluck (Latkes provided!) Please bring a vegetarian dish to share. (Fish is okay, but no shellfish, please.)
■ Arts & Crafts
■ Beeswax Candlemaking with Eden Village Camp
■ The Kehilla Chanukah Singers.
■ The Kehilla Klezmer Band
Candyland Menorah Lighting
Chabad of Oakland is hosting a menorah lighting and family celebration Tuesday Dec. 11, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. outside Piedmont Community Hall, 711 Highland Ave. Help build a huge candy menorah, then see the lighting ceremony. Also cotton candy, doughnut decorating, latkes, chocolate gelt, live music and Chanukah crafts. For more info and to RSVP, visit JewishOakland.org/Chanukah2012 or call (510) 545-6770.
Dreidels & Donuts
Join the Piedmont Recreation Department for the Second Annual Dreidels and Donuts event, Saturday, Dec. 15, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for a late-morning breakfast filled with yummy treats, crafts and dreidel play with friends and family. Click to download the flyer.
This is a family event. There is a $10 per person charge for breakfast (donuts, bagels & cream cheese, fruit, and hot cocoa/coffee). To register, please call (510) 420-3070 or sign up online at activenet.active.com/piedmontrecreation by Wednesday, Dec. 12.