The Lowcountry community will gather Dec. 18 in Marion Square for the 15th annual “Chanukah in the Square” from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

People of all ages are invited to revel in live music from Charleston-based ensemble ContraForce while enjoying delicious food in a family friendly atmosphere. 

“It’s really a wonderful opportunity for the Jewish community to get together with the broader community,” said Rabbi Yossi Refson from the Center for Jewish Life. “Hanukkah celebrates religious freedom, and that’s a message which is relevant to everyone. Everybody is welcome. It attracts people from all walks of life, and it’s an opportunity to taste all of the different Hanukkah and Jewish foods.”

The traditional sundown lighting of the menorah candles will carry on this year to demonstrate that the community has a responsibility to “light up the darkness in the world,” Refson told the City Paper. The late Holocaust surviver and Charleston leader Joe Engel’s family will light the menorah this year. 

“I’m proud and pleased that we’ll be honoring the memory of Joe Engel at this year’s Chanukah in the Square,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg told the City Paper. “His lifelong commitment to sharing his story as a Holocaust survivor made our community and, indeed, our world a better place. Remembering his extraordinary life will be a powerful way for us to bring our city together, and to shine a light in darkness on these eight days of Hanukkah.”

The festive party is free to attend and sponsored by The College of Charleston Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program, Chabad of Charleston – Center for Jewish Life and the City Of Charleston’s office of cultural affairs. 

More than a dozen Jewish organizations will be present, including Addlestone Hebrew Academy, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization of Charleston (BBYO), Charleston Jewish Federation, CHARLEY, Congregation Brith Sholom Beth Israel, Congregation Dor Tikvah, Hebrew Benevolent Society, Hebrew Orphan Society, Jewish Family Services, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, the PJ Library, Young Jewish Charleston, Preschool of the Arts Charleston, Shalom Club and Synagogue Emanu-El.

Other ways to celebrate the holidays this season

The City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs offers additional free events to celebrate the 2022 holiday season:

  • Dec. 10, 11, 17 — The Holiday Market extension of the Charleston Farmers Market in Marion Square, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donations for Toys for Tots will be collected.
  • Dec. 10 –– The Annual Holiday Parade of Boats in Charleston Harbor will depart Shem Creek at 6 p.m. Illuminated and decorated boats will float along the Cooper River, through the Charleston Harbor and into the Ashley River. If you want to participate, visit to submit an application by 4 p.m. Dec. 7.
  • Dec. 11 — The Holiday Magic on Ann Street block party will be 3 p.m. to6 p.m. in partnership with the Music Farm. It is free to attend and features live music and holiday vendors with refreshments available for purchase. 

For more information, visit or call (843) 724-7305.

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