When you’re ready to dive into latkes, brisket, and donuts, you know you’re eager for Hanukkah to begin. If you’ve only celebrated the holiday at home, now’s the perfect time to get away for the eight-day celebration. Here are some must-visit travel spots for Hanukkah, all week long:
Celebrating Tradition in Israel
As you brainstorm ideas for your Hanukkah getaway, Israel should sit right at the top of the list. What Jewish family wouldn’t want to celebrate in the very place where the Hanukkah story originated? There are plenty of festivities, but here, the focus is on the holiday’s deeper meaning, not stocking every shelf with toy tie-ins and pricey custom-made menorahs.
Just like with all gift-giving holidays, it’s easy for kids to lose sight of why everyone’s celebrating in the first place. A trip to Israel helps your children — and you, of course — remember your traditions, your family, and your faith in community without drowning in products you’ve seen advertised on TV.
Dancing in New York
Is it really any surprise that New York, home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, does Hanukkah in a big way? And that’s not an exaggeration. We’re talking at least 9 m big. Walk right on by the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree to Grand Army Plaza where you can stand in front of the world’s largest menorah–a massive 9-meter-tall display that is lit each evening during a ceremony that includes dancing and plenty of sufganiyot to go around. You’ll also find tons of Hanukkah musical festivals, where you can escape from the radio stations playing endless Christmas songs. We promise you won’t hear a single rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock” at these concerts!
Roaming through Rome
With the Vatican City at its heart, you wouldn’t think Rome would be one of the world’s top places to spend Hanukkah, but you’d be wrong. While the 6-meter-tall menorah in Piazza Barberini may not top the one in New York City, it’s still breathtaking. As whole, Hanukkah displays combine the glitz and glamour of a bustling metropolis with the near-sacred antiquity the historic city.
The Italians are known for their love of exquisite cuisine, so it’s no surprise that the Hanukkah feasts in Rome are stunning. Ok, they can’t quite match your Bubbe’s fried artichokes and delicious latkes, but they come awfully close. Dining out in Rome’s Old Jewish Quarter feels like stepping back in time to your holiday celebrations as a 10-year-old, except this time you’re here with a family of your own. Don’t worry–no one will judge you for a few thankful tears!
A trip to a new city may be the best way to celebrate the tradition and joy of Hanukkah. Your family will be even more excited about the new experiences than they are about the presents!
Where’s your favourite place to celebrate Hanukkah?