Jewish Holidays in Cincinnati

Between the over-the-top light displays, larger-than-life Christmas trees and rappelling Santas, the Jewish holidays at the end of the year can get a little out-dazzled. In Cincinnati, we have a strong Jewish community and several world-class institutions that offer lots of opportunities to celebrate Jewish culture.

Here are several family friendly ways to celebrate the Jewish holidays in Cincinnati:


One Candle for Tzedakah Toy Drive

Nov. 18-Dec. 11 at the Mayerson JCC
“Tzedakah” is the Hebrew word for righteousness or charity. This Toy drive gives families a way to teach their children the important Jewish value of Tzedakah, while helping to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. By symbolically devoting ‘one candle,’ or one of the eight nights of Hanukkah, to the idea of “giving,” instead of just “getting,” we can elevate the holiday to a whole new level. Gifts will be distributed through Jewish Family Service’s Bigs and Littles program, Barbash Family Vital Support Center, and Adoption Connection. Please deposit new, unwrapped toys for less fortunate children and teens in the collection barrels at the JCC Welcome Desk. Please, no gift cards or clothing.

Maccabeats Live at the J


Dec. 4, 3-5 p.m. at the Mayerson JCC
Delivering a cappella with a pinch of Jewish humor and a whole lot of fun, the Maccabeats are back with a wildly entertaining show. Renowned for their lively YouTube videos and television performances including CNN and The Today Show, the Maccabeats are sure to light up the stage at the J in this pre-Hanukkah celebration!

Story Time with PJ Library

Dec. 5 and 19 from 10:30-11 a.m. at Blue Manatee
PJ Library is a Jewish family engagement program for children ages 8 and under. Each month, families are sent free books and music! Come out to hear stories about Jewish tales, holidays, life cycle events and more!

PJ Library Lego Menorah Building

Dec. 15, 4:30-6 p.m. at the Mayerson JCC
These menorahs are like no other – bright colors and imagination will abound! We will use LEGOs to sculpt our own unique menorahs to get ready for Hanukkah. Children will be able to take home their creation. Dinner is included with admission. Cost is $12 per person, children under 3 are free. RSVP at

Rockdale Temple’s Chanukah Celebration

Dec. 17, 5:30-10:30 p.m. at Mayerson JCC Amberley Room
Come out to Rockdale Temple’s Chanukah Celebration! There will be dinner, games, and activities. Fun for the whole family.

Menorah Lighting

Dec. 27, 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Deerfield Towne Center
The Deerfield Towne Center invites you to celebrate the Festival of Lights with the lighting of a giant Menorah. Celebrate the Festival of Lights with the lighting of a giant Menorah, Hanukkah treats, live music, petting zoo and more! Free.


Dec. 24 and 25, 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. at the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati
Come party with us on Christmas Eve! Don’t end at Chinese food and a movie. No cover, drink specials and door prizes! Open to ages 21-45.

Dreidel Man


Dec. 27 at the Mayerson JCC
Meet Dreidel Man and make your own driedel! We’ll also play dreidel songs, and create edible menorahs with BBYO.

Hanukkah at the J

December 27 – 29, 4-5 p.m. nightly at the Mayerson JCC
We’ll celebrate Hanukkah by lighting the menorah (hanukkiah) each evening at 4:30pm. Meet Dreidel Man, make your own dreidel, step up to the latke bar, and create your own sugary sufganiot (Israeli jelly donuts). Join us in the lobby for all of the fun! Free; all ages welcome.

Latke Bar

Dec. 28 at the Mayerson JCC
Enjoy our free latke bar with sour cream, applesauce and more! (While supplies last.)

Sufganiyot Cooking Class

Dec. 29 at the Mayerson JCC
Make your own sufganiyot, Israeli jelly donuts with powdered sugar. It’s sure to be a messy and fun time!

For more information about Jewish holidays, click over to the JCC’s website!

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