The Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York (JFNENY), Capital Chabad Centers and other local organizations will host a free community event, “Chanukah on Jay” on Sunday, Dec. 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Jay Street in Schenectady in front of the City Hall.

At the event there will be live music, dancing, hot food, crafts and games, Ilan Smith, master illusionist, and a grand menorah lighting. The Schenectady Fire Department will bring a hook and ladder truck and will extend its ladder and shower the ground with chocolate gelt (coins) for all participants.

Additionally, local children from the Maimonides Hebrew Day School and the Hebrew Academy are using art to express how they feel about fighting the darkness of anti-Semitism with light. Students are sketching their artistic interpretations and local artists will transfer them to a large canvas. At “Chanukah on Jay” adults and children will make the mural come to life with color.

Free nearby parking for the event will be available at 422 Liberty St., and 128 Clinton St.

Children who are attending the event can enter one of two 2021 contests. The first contest is an art contest where elementary and middle school students can create a menorah using any art or building supplies by Nov. 24. The menorahs created must have a total of nine branches (including the shamash), eight branches must be in a straight line and of even height, include who made the menorah, a title for the menorah and a brief description. The menorahs will be on display throughout the region during Chanukah and a grand prize elementary and middle school winner will be picked.

The second contest is an essay contest also for middle and high school students. They are invited to submit 150 word essays about “What Chanukah Means to Me.” Organizers said that, “the content of the essay should be relatable to the audience and have a Chanukah message such as hope, inspiration, triumph, or light. “Entries must be submitted online by Nov. 26 and the prizewinners will have the honor of reading their essays at the Chanukah lighting ceremony.

While the event is open to the community, registration is requested. Information on the program and registration for the event and contests may be obtained on the webpage,

In addition to JFNENY and Capital Chabad Centers, event co-sponsors include: the Albany JCC, Bet Shraga Hebrew Academy of the Capital District, B’Yachad, Collaborative Religious School, Congregations Agudat Achim, Beth Abraham-Jacob, Beth Emeth, Gates of Heaven, Temple Beth El of Troy, and Temple Israel, Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors, Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York, Maimonides Hebrew Day School, Mifgash Jewish Community High School Program, and the Schenectady JCC.