Celebrate Hanukkah in Kern County for the holiday season.
The Jewish wintertime eight-day holiday, known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and, of course, fried foods like latkes.
The two largest local congregations, Chabad of Bakersfield and Temple Beth El, are both holding a series of events, meant to not only provide opportunities for celebration, but also for fellowship and to reflect on the importance of the holiday, according to Esther Schlanger of Chabad of Bakersfield.
“It’s family. Community. The way in which we all come together and we just have a good time,” said Rabbi Jonathan Klein of Temple Beth El when asked about his favorite part of the holiday. “In this day and age, people coming together and spending time as families or as close friends, just building community — it’s worth its weight in gold. … It’s hard to come by that nowadays, especially now that we’re post-pandemic, I think the idea of just coming together and spending time together is powerful.”
One of the first events of the season is being hosted by Chabad of Bakersfield, and it’s intended as a chance for children to have fun and learn about the symbolism of the holiday while they paint their own “Hanukkah masterpiece,” Schlanger said.
The Kids Hanukkah Paint Party will also provide treats and a few goodies for them, she added.
Attendees are required to RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. Admission is $12.
The Chabad Jewish Community Center is hosting the event, which starts at 2 p.m. Dec. 4.
Also starting on that Sunday is the Hanukkah Pop-up Shop at the Chabad Jewish Community Center.
“No need to schlep over the Grapevine for all your Hanukkah needs this year,” Schlanger wrote in an email, noting the shop, which will also be open on Dec. 11 and Dec. 18, too, will offer a “full selection, including menorahs, chocolate gelt, decorations, candles and gifts.”
Speaking of opportunities for getting together, Temple Beth El is hosting Hanukkah 8 Krazy Kilometers and 2K Latke Loop Fun Run.
The event is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 11 at Panorama Vista Preserve, which is located at 901 E. Roberts Lane in Bakersfield.
You can sign up for the run at runsignup.com/Race/CA/Bakersfield/8krazykilometers. The cost is $30 for the 2K fun run/walk and $34 for the 8K.
On the morning of the first night of Hanukkah, Temple Beth El hosts Norma’s Latke Brunch every year. This year it’s scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 18.
The potato pancakes are served with applesauce, sour cream, a muffin, Norma’s Ortega Cheese Souffle and other condiments, according to the temple’s website, which also lists the costs for the meal, and allows for pre-orders.
One of the most popular events of the season is the public lighting of the menorah.
The annual event, Light up the Night, is set to start at 5 p.m. Dec. 18 at The Marketplace at 9000 Ming Ave., Schlanger said in an email.
In addition to delicious Hanukkah doughnuts, the free, family-friendly celebration will have dreidels, hot latkes, live music, face painting and an appearance by The Dreidel Man.
Temple Beth El is also hosting a candle lighting on Dec. 23, he said.
"We'll have everyone that comes to Shabbat services, Sabbath services, they will light the candles will make it into a more festive event," Klein added. "That's at 7 p.m. (at the temple)."