Loading Events
Tickets & Info

Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights


Don’t miss the 3rd annual community celebration of the Festival of Lights. Explore the MFA and enjoy holiday themed performances with contemporary klezmer by Ezekiel’s Wheels, chamber music by the Niggun Ensemble, and a camp style sing-a-long with cantor and clarinet player Becky Wexler. Kick off the evening with storytelling and songs for kids with PJ Library at 5pm.

Craft projects and stories for the whole family, gallery talks, a newly-commissioned virtual reality demonstration, and special dance performances all make this the most cultured and innovative Hanukkah party in town.

Free admission begins at 4pm. Museum members skip the line.

Evening Schedule

Welcome and Community Candle Lighting
6:30 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard
Join Ann and Graham Gund Director Matthew Teitelbaum for welcome remarks. Matan Zamir, Deputy Consul General of Israel to New England; Neil Wallack, chair, CJP Board of Directors; Rabbi Elaine Zecher of Temple Israel; Lis Tarlow, chair, MFA Board of Trustees; Susie Tanchel, head of school, Jewish Community Day School; Rabbi Jillian Cameron, director, InterfaithFamily/Boston; Jamie Darsa, coordinator, PJ Library; and Laura Conrad Mandel, executive director of the Jewish Arts Collaborative, offer a community blessing and illuminate a large-scale, one-of-a-kind menorah. The United Stated Postal Service also unveils its 2016 Hanukkah stamp.

Menorah Installation: Step to Hanukkah Lights
5–10 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard
Nine freestanding candle-like branches of the menorah emerge from a custom platform. The platform invites guests to step up and down to the menorah’s branches, each topped with a beautiful “flame” created from light that changes in response to viewers. Created by Andrew Ringler, creative technologist and educator; Fish McGill, Boston-based drawer, designer, and educator; and Saul Baizman, dynamic media designer, software developer, and design educator.

A Mixed Reality Short Performance: Inworlds
5:45, 7:15, and 8:15 pm Level G, Alfond Auditorium
Join us for a story of loss, miracles, friendship, and discovery, inspired by the themes of Hanukkah. This experimental performance features interaction between a live actor and a volunteer immersed in virtual reality. Through a new “mixed reality” storytelling medium, the production bathes the entire stage in projected visuals, taking the audience on a 15-minute journey through fantastical worlds. Avital Manor-Peleg’s improvisational masked performance is a first-of-its-kind exploration in how virtual reality transforms participants into performers. Created and presented by Secret Portal in association with Dudley Square Studios.

Free tickets are available at the Alfond Auditorium ticket desk 30 minutes before show times. First come, first served; limited availability. Free ticket required for entry. Click here for more information on Secret Portal.


Hanukkah Song and Story Time
5–6 pm | Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 160
Join PJ Library for Hanukkah singing and an interactive reading of Sadie’s Almost Marvelous Menorah and other stories. Stephen Brickman, founder of the Sing-Together Project, leads the singing.

Sing Along with Becky Khitrik
7:15–7:35 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard
7:50–8:10, and 8:25–8:45 pm | Gallery G86
Join cantor, educator, klezmer clarinetist, and musical community builder, Becky Khitrik to and sing along with favorite songs about Hanukkah, faith, and freedom.

Dance: Wendy Jehlen
7–7:20, 7:40–8, and 8:15–8:35 pm Gallery 332
Wendy Jehlen, founder and artistic director of Anikaya Dance, weaves together music, dance, and storytelling from disparate traditions and different ways of understanding.

Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band
7–7:30, 7:45–8:15, and 8:30–9 pm Shapiro Family Courtyard
Boston-based Ezekiel’s Wheels is an internationally recognized klezmer ensemble whose joyfully contagious energy creates a fun contemporary perspective on traditional Jewish music.

Nigun Chamber Ensemble
7:20–7:40, 7:55–8:15, and 8:30–8:50 pm Gallery 168
The award-winning Nigun Chamber Ensemble (nigun means melody in Hebrew) preserves the unique musical heritage of Jewish composers and their communities in pre-war Eastern Europe. Featuring Sargis Karapetyan, violin; Valerie Shleppi, soprano; Yelena Neplok, artistic director, piano; Chester Brezniak, clarinet; Cynthia Forbes, cello.

Art-Making Activities

5–9 pm | Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 159
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel…create your own clay dreidel with local artist Tova Speter, founder of The MEM Project. Be inspired by the designs you see around the Museum.

Menorah Making
5–9 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard
Visit the large-scale interactive menorah for inspiration as you celebrate the light of Hanukkah and create your own menorah.

Drawing in the Galleries
6–9 pm | Gallery 271
Get drawing tips and ideas from an artist as you sketch in the galleries.

Tours and Talks

Panel: Judaica and Judaism in Boston
7:30–8:30 pm | Remis Auditorium
Join Marietta Cambareri, Senior Curator of European Sculpture and Jetskalina H. Phillips Curator of Judaica; Rabbi Jillian Cameron, director, InterfaithFamily/Boston; Barnet Kessel, executive director, Vilna Shul; and Silvina Mizrahi, artist and educator, for an engaging and informative discussion about the MFA’s collection of Judaica, Judaism in Boston and beyond, and much more. Panel is one hour.

Free lecture tickets are available at Remis Auditorium Box Office 30 minutes before show time. First come, first served; limited availability. Free lecture ticket required for entry.

Spotlight Talks: Judaica
6, 7, 7:30, and 8 pm | Level 1, Galleries 127 and 142; Level 2, Gallery 258; and Level 3, Gallery 336
Drop in to enjoy an exploration of works of art in the MFA’s collection of Judaica. Visit any of the galleries listed, at any of the times listed, for one of these 15-minute talks.

American Sign Language Tour
6 pm | Meet at Sharf Visitor Center
Join Dan Peters to learn about works of Judaica in the MFA’s collection. No spoken English translation.

Judaica in the Galleries
Objects of Judaica are located in several galleries around the Museum; visit the following locations to further explore Jewish art and culture. Level 1, Galleries 127 and 142; Level 2, Gallery 258; and Level 3, Gallery 336


Event information

December 14th, 2016
5:00 pm




  • Sponsor 1
  • Sponsor 2
  • Sponsor 3
  • Sponsor 4
  • Sponsor 5
  • Sponsor 6
  • Sponsor 7
Share this event:

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

465 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115 United States

Parking Information

Garage parking is available.