FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS: The eight-day celebration of Hanukkah, marking the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem by Judas Maccabaeus in 165 BC after the Maccabees’ victory over the Syrians, begins at sundown Thursday. Several local synagogues have events planned to celebrate the “Festival of Lights” including:
* Hanukkah Shabbat services featuring Cantor Caren Glasser and the Kipot Children’s Chorus at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Kol Tikvah, 20400 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. (818) 348-0670.
* Temple Ramat Zion’s “Hanukkah Happening and Dinner"--featuring traditional foods, community songs and a presentation by the synagogue’s junior choir--at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The event will be preceded by a 6:30 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat service in the sanctuary. Cost is $8 for adults and $5 for children. Reservations are due by Monday. (818) 360-1881.
* Hanukkah celebration with singing, storytelling and a dramatic presentation at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Temple Solael, 6601 Valley Circle Blvd., West Hills. Admission is free. (818) 348-3885.
* The third annual West Valley Hanukkah Festival featuring a communal menorah lighting, Judaica boutique, music, Israeli folk dancing and food from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 8 at the West Valley Jewish Community Center, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 2 to 12. (818) 587-3300.
SCHUBERT SONATAS: In honor of composer Franz Schubert’s 200th birthday, the Kashper-Hong-Stulberg Trio will perform Schubert sonatas for piano, violin and cello at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Adat Ari El, 12020 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. The soloists are: Mark Kashper, associate principal violinist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Ben Hong, the Philharmonic’s associate principal cellist; and Neal Stulberg, formerly an associate conductor of the Philharmonic. Admission is free, but reservations are required. (818) 766-9426, Ext. 223.
GUEST SPEAKER: Judy Horn, whose husband, Bob, has been incapacitated for eight years by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, will be the guest speaker at 10:30 a.m. Sunday services at St. John’s in the Valley United Methodist Church. Copies of her husband’s testimonial book titled “How Will They Know When I’m Dead?” will be available before and after the service. The church is located at 20600 Roscoe Blvd., Winnetka. (818) 341-6434.
HOLY LAND VIDEO: The premiere of “Walk Where Jesus Walked,” a video featuring Church on the Way Pastor Jack Hayford, is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the church’s Living Room, 14300 Sherman Way, Van Nuys. Appropriate for all ages, the video showcases key Holy Land sites such as Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem and Galilee. Admission is free. (818) 779-8408.
JERUSALEM TALK: Rabbi Claudio Kaiser-Blueth will speak on “Jerusalem From a Muslim, Catholic and Jewish Perspective” at 10 a.m. Sunday at Agoura Hills’ Temple Beth Haverim. A minyan and bagel brunch is planned for 9 a.m., followed by the speaker. The synagogue is located at 5126 Clareton Drive, Suite 140. Suggested donation is $5 per person. (818) 991-7111.
ADVENT PRAYER: Holy Spirit Retreat Center will offer a program titled “Advent Day of Prayer: Icons of the Madonna” from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7. Betsy Caprio, director of the Center for Sacred Psychology, will lead the program that includes quiet time for experimenting with different prayer forms. Cost is $38, which includes lunch. Reservations: (818) 784-4515.
MEDICAL ETHICS: “Jewish Medical Ethics” will be discussed by Dr. Gene Slater at an Adat Ari El Sisterhood Multi-Interest Day event planned from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at 12020 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Cost is $3 for the community. (818) 766-9426.