JConnectLA is encouraging members of the young professional (YoPro) community to "get sparked for the Festival of Lights" by partaking in a little Fire and Ice. There to help fuel the fire will be the Chai Center, the Happy Minyan, Jewlicious, LimmudLA, Meir Panim, StandWithUs and the ZOA. The huge panorganizational party, set on the night before Chanukah begins -- perhaps a strategy to get people schmoozing before all those sufganiot and latkes anchor them to their couches -- will feature Moshav, DJ Eric Rosen and other forms of entertainment. Sat. 8:30 p.m. $20. A Cow Jumped Over the Moon, 421 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 277-5544. http://www.jconnectla.com.
(SOCIAL JUSTICE CHANUKAH)
Join the only Chanukah party that combines hip music with serious social justice at the eighth annual Festival of Rights, sponsored by the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, JDub Records and the Progressive Jewish Alliance. Local activists will be lighting the menorah for their favorite cause. The Sway Machinery (featuring members of Arcade Fire, Balkan Beat Box and The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs) and Spanish indie rockers DeLeon are set to perform. Free latkes, gelt and other goodies while supplies last. Past participants include L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Who knows who you'll see rocking out and lighting a candle at the club this year. Sat. 8 p.m. $12. The Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. (310) 276-6168. http://www.troubadour.com.
SUN | DECEMBER 21
THe Klezmatics: 'Chanukah Gelt'
"You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy this show," says Craig Taubman, producer of PBS' new Chanukah special, "Lights: Celebrate Chanukah Live in Concert." But it couldn't hurt. The PBS show will feature a large line of eclectic performers, including the Klezmatics, who will share songs from their hit Chanukah album with lyrics by Woody Guthrie; Cantor Alberto Mizrahi, otherwise known as the "Jewish Pavorotti"; YouTube sensation Michelle Citrin ("Rosh Hashanah Girl" and "Twenty Things to Do With Matzah"); and saxophonist Dav Koz, who will offer up his version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Mare Winningham will share her conversion story in "A Convert Jig" and Rabbi David Wolpe will offer inspirational messages throughout. There's more, but best to check out the program for yourself. Sun. 5 p.m. KCET. http://www.pbs.org.
A towering 15-foot, 1,000-pound menorah is set to light up Universal CityWalk at the sixth annual Chabad Chanukah Festival. Thousands will gather for the ceremonial menorah lighting, including L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Israeli Consul General Jacob Dayan, Sheriff Lee Baca and Rabbi Joshua B. Gordon, executive director of Chabad of the Valley, among others. Live entertainment by top Israeli artists and a variety of activities for children and adults will also be part of the program. Sun. 5 p.m. Free. Universal CityWalk, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City. (818) 758-1818 ext. 171. http://www.citywalkhollywood.com.
The name of the event does not get points for originality (Shmooze-a-Palooza, Purimpalooza, Jewzapalooza, must we go on?), but Temple Beth Israel's Latkepalooza certainly earns a gold star for having everything a Chanukah celebration should: fresh-off-the-frying-pan latkes with applesauce and sour cream, Chanukah songs, dancing, dreidel games, a community lighting of menorahs and a bonus raffle, at which menorahs, books and other goodies will be handed out. Ed Leibowitz wrote an enormously long article about this egalitarian Highland Park congregation in the September issue of Los Angeles magazine, so if you're looking around for a synagogue to belong to, the article and this holiday party could serve as your orientation package. Sun. 4:30 p.m. (kids' activity). 6 p.m. (celebration). $5 (raffle tickets). Temple Beth Israel, 5711 Monte Vista St., Highland Park, Los Angeles. (323) 255-5416. http://www.tbila.org.
Promoting conservation, humanitarianism and Judaism all in one night, Planet Chanukah is a holiday celebration for the ambitious-minded Westsider. Chabad of Century City, along with Westfield Century City Shopping Centre, will host this afternoon with a giant menorah made of recycled materials, a bottles and cans drive that encourages attendees to bring recyclables to help fund Chabad's humanitarian services, and an interactive olive oil workshop that will teach children how oil was made back in the days of the Maccabees. Latkes, not of recycled potatoes thank goodness, will also be part of the celebration, as well as crafts, live music, rides and the lighting of the menorah. Sun. 11:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Free. Westfield Century City Shopping Centre, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City. (310) 860-1260. http://www.chabadcenturycity.com.
Adat Chaverim's Chanukah party features -- or we should say, doesn't feature -- an element you're likely to find at most holiday festivities: God. Humanistic Chanukah is part of Adat Chaverim's overall mission of fostering a Jewish cultural identity and a sense of Jewish community within a nontheistic context. Cantorial soloist Terry Lieberstein will be performing Chanukah songs and leading the kids -- from preschool to young adult -- in games. Ecofriendly crafts and gift-making will also be part of the festivities. And, of course, lots of latkes for everyone. Sun. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. American Jewish University, Auerbach Student Lounge, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. R.S.V.P to (818) 623-7363 or firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.humanisticjudaismla.org.
Constructing a menorah out of Legos sounds like just what the doctor ordered for the kids this holiday season, doesn't it? Luckily, it's part of the Farmers Market Chanukah Celebration, which will also feature arts and crafts with Miracle Mile Chabad, a menorah-lighting ceremony and music from David Zasloff and Friends. Even if you can't make it on Sunday, the holiday celebrations at the market are happening all week, including a snowman-making workshop with the Children's Museum of Los Angeles (Saturday) and a New Year's Day celebration, which is kicking off the market's yearlong 75th anniversary celebration. Free, ecofriendly tote bags will be handed out at the top of every hour on that day. Sun. 2:30 p.m. Free. Farmers Market, 6333 W. Third St., Los Angeles. (323) 933-9211. http://www.farmersmarketla.com.
MON | DECEMBER 22
(WORLD RECORD CHANUKAH)
Were you that kid whose dreidel was always the last one left spinning? Are you a master at turning tops? Have you always dreamed of setting a world record? Even if you answered no to all three questions, Sha'arei Am, The Santa Monica Synagogue, is inviting you to participate, or at least come cheer on those who are participating, in the World Record Dreidel Spin, where spinners will attempt to break the record of 603 people simultaneously spinning a dreidel for at least 10 seconds. Dreidels will be provided and a menorah lighting will follow the attempt. Mon. 7 p.m. (sharp). Free. 1300 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. (310) 453-4276. http://www.thesms.org.
Make the second night of Chanukah a cozy movie night: Turn off all the lights, light a few candles -- oh, wait, you already did that -- pop some bite-size latkes in a bowl and snuggle up on the couch for a marathon of Jewish flicks courtesy of the Turner Classic Movies channel. Their Happy Chanukah programming highlights three classics, "Exodus," 8 p.m.; "Yentl," 11:30 p.m.; and if you're hungry for more Jewish tales, there's "Fiddler on the Roof," 2 a.m. http://www.tcm.com.
WED | DECEMBER 24
More than 1,000 performers. Seven celebrity chefs. Six hours of entertainment. Four Chanukah acts. Zero dollars. That's the L.A. County Holiday Celebration: Recipe for a Happy Holiday by the numbers. But there's so much more to say about this enormous multicultural show that's been rockin' our city for 49 years. Celebrity chefs will be joining the spectacular for the first time this year as hosts, reflecting the transformation of the culinary arts into a popular form of entertainment. Akasha Richmond of Culver City's Akasha will be the event's resident expert on Jewish holiday food traditions; she'll be sharing recipes via the show's Web site. The other three Chanukah representatives are Klezmer Juice, the Stefani Valadez Ensemble and Vox Femina Los Angeles. Can't make it to the live show? Watch it at home on KCET with a hot cup of cocoa and a couple of meals (it's six hours long!). Wed. 3-9 p.m. Free (parking, too). Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 972-3099. http://www.holidaycelebration.org.
While the rest of the city is home enjoying Christmas dinner, young Jews will be feasting on hip-hop beats, salsa grooves and Israeli tracks at the Chanukah Dance Party being hosted by Cabana Club. Veteran Israeli maestro DJ Eyal will be handling the sounds, and the sexy Sunflower Dancers will be handling the moves in the special salsa room. Expect a nice mix of Jews in club attire at this festival of disco lights. Ages 21 and over. Wed. 9 p.m. $25. Cabana Club, 1439 Ivar Ave., Hollywood. (323) 309-1514. http://www.cabanaclubhollywood.com.
THU | DECEMBER 25
Take a break from family this holiday season to meet up with old friends and make new ones with the Jewish Singles Meeting Place. Folks in their 40s and 50s will share Chanukah stories and goodies at a stellar deli. Thu. 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Cost is whatever is ordered plus tax and tip. Fromin's Deli, 17615 Ventura Blvd., Encino. Must R.S.V.P at (818) 750-0095 or email@example.com.
The holidays also mark the season for movies, and there are several films well worth checking out. Tom Cruise stars in "Valkyrie," based on the true story of the men who led an operation to try to assassinate Hitler (see story, Page 38). "Waltz With Bashir," winner of six Israeli Academy Awards, is an animated film that digs into director Ari Folman's past and his involvement in the Israeli army during the first Lebanon War. Finally, Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes star in "The Reader," a film based on the best-selling novel that tells the story of a post-WWII love affair. The secret affair eventually ends, but the lovers find each other again years later -- in a courtroom during the Nazi war crime trials. Check local listings. http://valkyrie.unitedartists.com; http://waltzwithbashir.com; http://thereader-movie.com.