Many Jewish communities in the United States observe the first day of Hanukkah, which marks the start of Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah or Festival of Lights. Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that honors the Jewish people’s struggle for religious freedom.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a candelabrum, the nine-branched menorah. On each night of Hanukkah a new branch is lit. The ninth holder, known as the shamash (“helper” or “servant”), is used to light all other candles on the menorah.

For those who may be traveling this holiday season, there are many opportunities to view public menorahs throughout the country. If you find yourself on the road this week, we invite you to visit some of our favorite public menorah lightings in the United States:

Las Vegas, Nevada

Fifth Annual Lighting of the Menorah

Sunday, December 21, 2014, at 5:00 p.m.

The year 2014 marks the fifth annual lighting of JFSA’s Menorah at the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village. The lighting will take place at the Magical Forest’s new open-air theater, which promises to make this an especially enjoyable event. The public is invited to join in making this a memorable Hanukkah celebration.

Manhattan, New York

Lighting of the World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah
December 16 – December 23, 2014

Bring your family and gather around the 32-foot-high, gold-colored, 4,000-pound steel holiday icon at Grand Army Plaza (Fifth Avenue and West 59th Street, across the street from The Plaza hotel) to kick off the annual Jewish Festival of Lights. Lightings generally take place at 5:30 p.m., but be sure to check the website for further information and time changes.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Galleria Menorah Lighting

Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.

The Galleria Mall will host a public menorah lighting for Fort Lauderdale residents and their guests on December 18. The festivities will commence at 5 p.m. and the event will feature live music, latkes and more. You won’t want to miss the festive celebration!

Chicago, IL

Grand Chanukah and Menorah Lighting and Celebration

Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

Heading to Chicago during Hanukkah? Evanston’s civic, business, and Jewish communities will come together to light a 10′ Menorah. Musical entertainment will be provided and refreshments will be served. It will be an event the whole family will be able to enjoy!

Wherever you and your family plan to celebrate this year, we wish you a safe and happy Hannukah!

“Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
Ablaze on evening’s forehead o’er the earth,
And add each night a lustre till afar
An eightfold splendor shine above thy hearth.”
~Emma Lazarus, “The Feast of Lights”