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Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights

Don’t miss the fifth annual JArts and MFA Hanukkah Celebration open house. Hanukkah music and storytelling throughout the galleries, Judaica talks, art making and drawing, an interactive scavenger hunt, a celebratory community menorah lighting (menorah commissioned by local artist Ariel Basson Freiberg), and more. This year’s performers include Ilene Stahl’s Klezperanto, Jeremiah Lockwood and Jewlia Eisenberg’s Book of J, and Sarah Aroeste’s special reading of her new Ladino book for children, Ora De Despertar (Time to Wake Up). 

This event is presented by JArts in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, with additional support provided by  Combined Jewish Philanthropies, The Consulate General of Israel, Interfaith Family,  JCDS – Boston’s Jewish Community Day School,  PJ Library,  and  Vilna Shul.



The event begins at 4:30pm, but museum admission is free as of 4pm. Museum members skip the line, just show your museum membership to the guard.



*Schedule subject to change

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | 4—10 pm


Special Events

Welcome and Community Candle Lighting

6:30 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard

Join Ann and Graham Gund Director Matthew Teitelbaum for welcome remarks, followed by community blessings by Rabbi Jillian Cameron, director, InterFaith Family/Boston; and Laura Conrad Mandel, executive director of the Jewish Arts Collaborative. Yehuda Yaakov, Consul General of Israel to New England, and Neil Wallack of CJP illuminate the artist-made menorah, marking the second night of Hanukkah.

ASL Interpreted.


Menorah Installation: Ziv

4:30-10 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard

View Ziv (splendor in Hebrew), a large-scale artist-made menorah celebrating the miracle and traditions of Hanukkah. Ziv was created by Somerville-based artist Ariel Basson Freiberg and evokes designs from ancient ceramic oil lamps. James McClurkin, of CBC Furniture Factory assisted with the menorah’s fabrication.


Face Painting

4:30-6:30 pm | Cohen Galleria 163

Wear your Hanukkah happiness on your cheek. Choose a design—a dreidel, a star, a menorah, and more—and have an artist paint the image on your face! Hosted by The Vilna Shul.


Artist Toolbox Cart: Silver

5:30-8:30pm | Gallery 250

Handle the wide variety of tools used by silversmiths and see step-by-step progressions to gain an understanding of the meticulous techniques illustrated in silver works throughout the Museum.


Music + Storytelling

Family Song and Story Time

Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 160

4:30-5:30 pm | PJ Library with Stephen Brickman

5:30-6:15 pm | Ladino with Sarah Aroeste

PJ Library hosts Hanukkah singing and an interactive reading led by song educator and producer Stephen Brickman, founder of the Sing-Together Project. Then, award-winning Ladino musician and author, Sarah Aroeste, reads her bilingual illustrated children’s book Ora de Despertar (Time to Wake Up) and performs songs from her album of the same name. Recommended for young children. Space is limited: first come, first serve.



6:45–7:15, 7:45–8:15, and 8:30–9 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard

Ilene Stahl, clarinetist for the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and Klezperanto, her ensemble of local music all-stars, re-groove traditional klezmer and Mediterranean melodies, rip up Romanian surf tunes, cover cop show themes and cumbias, slay a few standards, and burnish it all to a funky finish. Who knows how they’ll treat a favorite Hanukkah tune?


Book of J

5:30-6, 7:15-7:45 and 8:15-8:45 pm | Gallery 268

Old-time religion and radical politics become a musical mosaic when Jewlia Eisenberg (Charming Hostess) and Jeremiah Lockwood (Sway Machinery, Balkan Beat Box)—two of the West Coast’s most thoughtful and talented creators of innovative Jewish music—come together as Book of J. This acoustic duo’s repertoire features songs that started in black and white religious communities and were later adopted by organizers for racial, economic and social justice.
The Wandering Rabbi

Wandering from 7-9pm | Art of the Americas Wing

With planned stops at 7:15 in gallery 133, at 7:45 in gallery 226, and at 8:15 pm in gallery 332

Its story time for adults when MOTH champion, Rabbi Dan Judson weaves his magic as he wanders the Museum.


Art-Making Activities

The Search for Light

4:30-9 pm | Gallery 168

Pick up this family-friendly scavenger hunt to explore the galleries looking for art connecting to themes of Hanukkah. When you’ve used the clues to find all three objects, return to Gallery 168 to join local artist Tova Speter—founder of The MEM Project—as she shows visitors how to create their own artful, keepsake lantern inspired by art discovered in the galleries.


Menorah Monoprints  

4:30-9 pm | Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 159

Look at menorahs in the MFA’s collection for inspiration. Then sketch and make an ink print of a menorah.

ASL Interpretation 7-8 pm.


Drawing in the Galleries

6-9 pm | Gallery 171

Get drawing tips and ideas from an artist as you sketch from a live model and objects in the galleries. All ages and abilities welcome.


Tours + Talks

Meet the Artist

5, 5:30 and 6 pm | Gallery 258

Join Cynthia Eid, award-winning artist, for a 15-minute talk about her creative work as a Jeweler/Silversmith and the MFA’s recent acquisition of her Miriam’s Cup.

5:30 pm Talk is ASL Interpreted.


Spotlight Talks

6, 7, 7:30 and 8 pm | Level 1, Galleries 127 and 142; Level 2, Gallery 222; and Level 3, Gallery 334

Drop in to enjoy an exploration of the MFA’s collection of Judaica and also works of art with intriguing stories related to the immigration and assimilation of Jews in the United States. Visit any of the galleries listed, at any of the times listed, for one of these 15-minute talks.

8 pm Talks on Level 1, Galleries 127 and 142 are ASL Interpreted.


American Sign Language Tour

7 pm | Meet at the Sharf Visitor Center

Join Patrick McCarthy to learn about works of Judaica in the MFA’s collection.

No spoken English translation.


MFA Guide  

Available at all ticket desks and Gund Gallery.

The MFA at your fingertips! Create your own or follow a mini tour guided by curators, conservators, artists, and others through images, audio, and video. A selection of collection highlights are narrated in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and ASL. Many stops are accessible to visitors who are Deaf or blind. And there’s a tour designed just for kids!



Dining Options

Taste Café and Wine Bar $

Open until 9 pm | Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, Level 1

Coffee, espresso, tea, and wine, sandwiches, salads, and festive Hanukkah-inspired pastries. Additional seating on Level G in the Garden Cafeteria.


New American Café $$

Open until 8 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard, Level 1

Tableside service. Choose from a wide selection of hot and cold small plates including  latkes, entrées, and salads.


Bravo $$$

5:30–8:30 pm | Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, Level 2

Seasonally inspired, artfully prepared cuisine and impeccable service enhance this sophisticated dining experience. Bravo accepts reservations at Opentable or by calling 617-369-3474.



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.

Art of the Americas, Gallery 127

Art of the Americas, Gallery 336

Musical Instruments Gallery 103D

Jewelry Gallery 104

Art of Europe, Gallery 142

Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, Gallery 258


Event information

December 13th, 2017
4:30 pm




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Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

465 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115 United States

Parking Information

Ample parking is available in the MFA Garage. Limited metered street parking may also be available.