Pray in a historic synagogue
There are several centers of Jewish worship across the Moscow metropolitan area, and two of the oldest and most-visited synagogues will hold special candle-lighting ceremonies for Hanukkah on the afternoon of Dec. 7, just after 3:30 p.m. The Moscow Choral Synagogue (also known as Moscow’s Central Synagogue), which began construction in 1887, is the oldest synagogue in the city and features eclectic architecture and a beautiful, mosaic-rich interior.
The Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue, also established in the 1880s, was recently renovated in 2004. Steps away from Tverskoi Bulvar, the building of the Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue also houses a bookstore and a kosher restaurant.
The International Jewish Community in Moscow welcomes expats and Muscovites to their services and holiday celebrations. They welcome guests on Dec. 7 for a special Shabbat Hanukkah Friday night dinner. Services will begin at 7:40 p.m., followed by Kidush and dinner. Reservations required.
Moscow Choral Synagogue Candle-Lighting. 10/1 Bolshoi Spasoglinishchevsky Pereulok. More information here.
Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue Candle-Lighting. 6/3 Bolshaya Bronnaya Ulitsa. More information here.
To make reservations for the International Jewish Community events, see their website or write to them at Info@jewishmoscow.com.
Celebrate with family and friends
Many Jewish organizations and youth clubs are active in Moscow, and several will hold Hanukkah celebrations for the whole family on Dec. 9. On Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m, the Tsofim-Tsameret Youth Club invites children ages 11-18 and their families to come learn about the history of the holiday, play festive games, make Hanukkah souvenirs, and cook traditional Jewish foods.
Later that evening, on Dec. 9 at 5 p.m., the Jewish organization Sredi Svoih will host its “Hanukkah 5779” celebration, where guests can pray together and then enjoy live music and activities for adults and children alike. After online registration, you'll be sent more detailed information on the location and event.
Celebrate around the holiday table
Aside from candle-lighting and prayers, this Jewish holiday also involves tasty treats such as potato pancakes (latkes) and doughnuts with sweet filling (sufganiyot). You can try these and other authentic Jewish dishes in any of Moscow’s most popular kosher restaurants.
For the week of Hanukkah (Dec. 2-9), the restaurant Volna is offering a set menu of traditional Hanukkah dishes. On Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m., dinner will be accompanied with live music and dancing. Guests will receive a free bottle of sparkling wine for purchasing tickets in advance on the restaurant’s website.
Another great option for authentic, kosher Jewish cuisine in Moscow is the restaurant Mogen Dovid. The restaurant is located across the street from the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, in the same building as the Marina Roscha Synagogue and the Moscow Jewish Community Center. Mogen Dovid specializes in favorites such as hummus, shakshouka, tahini, falafel, and vorschmack.
Volna. 26 Tverskoi Bulvar. +7 (495) 401 71 20. Website and reservations here.
Mogen Dovid. 5A 2nd Vysheslavtsev Pereulok. +7 (495) 120 5770. Website and reservations here.