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Hanukkah is a time of celebration, family gatherings, gift giving and holiday foods. It is also a time for contemplating one’s beliefs in the covenant between God and the Jewish people. Hanukkah often goes hand in hand with the Festival of Lights. It celebrates the miracle of 165 B.C.E., in which the Maccabees and a band of Jews battled pagans who had desecrated the Temple. Miraculously, a one-day supply of oil lasted for eight full days. The lighting of the menorah every day for eight days signifies that lasting oil.

Vodka Latke
508 S. Howard Ave.
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 769-2813
www,jewishtampa.comDate: December 24, 2012 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.Enjoy latkes, appetizers, music and more. This holiday event, hosted by the Tampa Jewish Federation’s Young Adult Division, is designed for members of the Jewish community and others, ages 21 through 45, who are interested in learning about Judaism. Come out and mingle with other young adults at this lively Christmas-alternative event. Enjoy chocolate gelt, menorah margaritas, chanukahtinis and other drinks made with a Jewish flair. For more information, contact Iris Pastor at

Chanukah Extravaganza
South Straub Park
198 Bayshore Drive N.E.
St. Petersburg, FL 33706
www.chabad.orgDate: December 9, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.The 9th Annual Chanukah Extravaganza will feature a public menorah lighting, latkes, several different types of drinks, entertainment and music. Dreidel games, presentations and Chanukah presentations will also take place at this annual event. Bring your family and friends to South Straub Park for a fun and relaxing evening.

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Chanukah in the Park
Hyde Park Village
1621 W. Snow Ave.
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 251-3500
www.hydeparkvillage.netDate: December 11, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.This year’s family friendly Chanukah celebration will be hosted by Rabbi Mendy Dubrowski of the Chabad South Tampa. Events include the lighting of the giant menorah, arts and crafts, face painting and live music. There will also be latke, kosher wines, doughnuts, gelt, cotton candy and a raffle table. Visitors can enjoy the gyroscope, the moon bounce and even a game of street hockey. The 2012 Chanukah in the Park festival is sure to be a hit with the entire family. Rabbi Dubrowski stated in a newspaper interview in 2008, that “folks like to celebrate during the holiday season and that Chabad South Tampa is simply taking advantage of the celebration opportunities to have some good, clean fun.” The rabbi invites people from every religion and walk of life to attend the celebrations, as he enjoys the opportunity to explain the Jewish faith to others.

Chabad of Clearwater Grand, Family Chanukah Celebration
Beachwalk in front of Surf Style
315 S. Gulfview Blvd.
Clearwater, FL 33767
(727) 265-2770
www.clearwaterjewish.comDate: December 11, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.Join the Chabad of Clearwater as it lights up Clearwater Beach. Enjoy the grand menorah lighting, donuts, latkes, music and dancing. There will also be Chanukah gelt for the children, as well as dreidels for the children. This year’s celebration will feature surprise entertainment that is sure to please the whole family.

Schaarai Zedek’s 20s/30s Connection
Congregation Schaarai Zedek
3303 W. Swann Ave.
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 876-2377
www.zedek.orgDate: December 9, 2012 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.Come out and enjoy a night of schmoozing, candle lighting, a pot luck and a variety of homemade latkes. There will also be a gift grab for those who wish to participate. Just bring a wrapped, gender-neutral gift valued at less than $10. This is one of Schaarai Zedek’s most popular events of the year for young adults in their 20s and 30s.

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Katherine Bostick is a freelance writer covering all things Tampa Bay. Her work can be found on