(New York Jewish Week) – Hanukkah may be over, but another time-honored Jewish holiday tradition is just around the corner: So-called “Jewish Christmas,” it’s that special time on Dec. 24 and 25 to eat Chinese food, see a new movie and hang out with friends as the non-Jewish world heads home for the holidays.
From Yiddish performances to bluegrass concerts to special Jewish-Chinese fusion meals, keep scrolling for our ultimate guide for Jews who are spending Christmas in the city this year.
Lebanese Jewish Cooking Class
Join the Lower East Side’s Romaniote synagogue Kehila Kadosha Janina (280 Broome St.) for a Lebanese Jewish cooking class. Rabbi Issac Choua will present a lecture on Lebanese Jews and will talk about the history of the Brooklyn store Sahadi’s, a Lebanese grocery store established in the city in 1895. Tickets for the 1:00 p.m. class start at $10, email [email protected] to RSVP.
Jewish Christmas at Kubeh
The Israeli restaurant Kubeh (464 6th Ave.), dedicated to “lesser-known cuisines of the Middle East,” has devised a special Christmas menu on Dec. 24 and 25, featuring scallion ginger latkes, duck, fried rice and a fortune-filled donut. The pre-fixe meal starts at $65 per person, with the a la carte menu of traditional Israeli and Middle Eastern cuisine also available. Find the menu here and make your reservation here.
Wandering Jews of Astoria’s Christmastime with the Jews
The Wandering Jews of Astoria, a pluralistic Jewish group in Western Queens for people in their 20s, 30s and 40s that focuses on social events, is getting together on Christmas Eve for dinner at 5:00 p.m. at vegan restaurant Jujube Tree (35-02 30th Ave., Astoria) and afterwards, a movie at Regal UA Kaufman Astoria. RSVP and find out more information here.
Traditional Jewish Christmas at Mile End Deli
For another Jewish/Chinese fusion meal, head to Brooklyn for a “traditional” Jewish Christmas at Mile End Deli (97 Hoyt St.) on Dec. 24 and 25. At $55 per person, the menu includes hot and sour soup, smoked shiitake bao, crab rangoon, General Tso’s chicken and smoked meat fried rice. Make your reservations here.
“The Gospel According to Chaim”
A new Yiddish drama, “The Gospel According to Chaim,” by Mikhl Yashinsky is the first full-length Yiddish drama written and produced in the U.S. in some 70 years. The story centers around a former Hasid’s attempt to publish a Yiddish translation of the New Testament. Starring Yiddish writer, actor and teacher Yashinsky, Melissa Weisz, Joshua Horowitz and Sruli Rosenberg, the show opens on Dec. 24 at the Theater for the New City (155 1st Ave.) and runs through Jan. 7. Tickets start at $25.
For those still looking to secure someone for a New Year’s kiss, there’s famously no better way to meet someone than at Matzoball, the long-running Jewish singles party on Christmas Eve. This year, the ball will take place at The DL (95 Delancey St.) on the Lower East Side. The party starts at 10:00 p.m. on Dec. 24 and will last until 4 a.m. Tickets start at $50, find more information here.
Yiddish New York Festival
Join klezmer and Yiddish fans from all over the world as they flock to New York City for the annual Yiddish New York festival, this year from Dec. 23-29. The festival, which is headquartered at Hebrew Union College (1 West 4th St.), includes jam-packed days of Yiddish language classes, lectures on Yiddish culture, film screenings, klezmer jam sessions, concerts, original plays and more. In the evenings, there are several special shows and programs, including a 7 p.m. Christmas Eve concert from pioneering klezmer musician Michael Alpert. The full festival pass costs $570 for in-person attendance and $369 for online; find out more information about tickets here and check out the full schedule here.
Nefesh Mountain at the Jewish Museum
The Jewish bluegrass band Nefesh Mountain is playing two concerts at 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Christmas Day at the Jewish Museum (1109 5th Ave.), a perfect outing for a young family when work and school is closed. The concert tickets are included with the price of museum admission ($18) and guests have access to view the museum’s exhibits before and after the show, including “The Collars of RBG” and “Mood of the moment: Gaby Aghion and the house of Chloé.” Find more information here.
Stand-Up Comedy at PJ Bernstein’s
On Christmas Day, head to the Upper East Side for some stand-up comedy at Jewish deli PJ Bernstein’s (1215 3rd Ave.), where Jewish comics Harrison Greenbaum, Eitan Levine, Riley Lassin, Ben Kirschenbaum, Rachel Lander and Mikey Greenblatt plan to deliver a night of laughs. Tickets for the 7:00 p.m. event cost $15, with proceeds donated to Magen David Adom, Israel’s Red Cross. Get tickets and more information here.
Joel Chasnoff: “Christmas for the Jews”
Comedian Joel Chasnoff brings back his annual Christmas stand-up showcase: Christmas for the Jews, this year at City Winery (25 11th Ave.) on Dec. 25 at 7 p.m. The lineup also includes Jon Fisch, Ophira Eisenberg and Eli Lebowicz and musician Brian Gelfand on piano. Tickets start at $30, get them here.
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Yiddish Princess Reunion
After a decade-long hiatus, Yiddish rock band Yiddish Princess will play a reunion concert at the Bowery Electric (32 Bowery St.) at 9 p.m. Co-founded by Sarah Mina Gordon and Michael Winograd, the band promises a “double guitar onslaught. Drums beating you into submission. Precious analog synths beckoning. And a voice that can shatter ice and coo you into mellifluous bliss.” Tickets start at $25.