Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la la
That’s what’s broadcasting through the airwaves in America this time of year. Cities all over the United States (and the world too) are filled with Christmas trees, holiday lights, red and green decorations, and of course, the never-ending Christmas music. To some, this pandemonium is obnoxious, but for many, it’s a cheerful time of year, and not just for the Christians.
Music has the ability to bring together all kinds of people, and one very popular way during this time of year, is through holiday novelty songs. Most Anglos are probably familiar with the holiday songs like I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, but not to fear my friends, we also have our novelty songs to spread the holiday cheer, and unlike many Christmas songs, ours aren’t overdone!
There is of course, the classic Adam Sandler song from Saturday Night Live in 1994, “The Chanukah Song,” that was intended to sympathize with Jewish children in a Christian-majority culture, and give us all a chuckle or two.
“Put on your yarmulke
Here comes Chanukah
So much funukah
To celebrate Chanukah
Chanukah is the festival of lights
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights”
Similarly, two years ago we saw the incredible Maccabeats from Yeshiva University do their a capella rendition of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”, aptly retitled “Candlelight,” for Chanukah. But not only was the music fantastic, the music video was action packed with dreidel-spinning, latka-flipping, and more!
“I flip my latkes in the air sometimes
Sayin hey-o, spin the dreidel
Just wanna celebrate for all eight nights
Singin, hey-o, light the candle”
The next year the Maccabeats pulled through again with their a capella rendition of Matisyahu’s “Miracle,” a more heartfelt and (appropriately) less humorous song, celebrating the miracle of Chanukah and the unity of the Jewish people through the years.
“Just livin’ the miracle, candles are my vehicle
Eight nights, gonna shine invincible
No longer be divisible, born to the struggle
Keep on moving through all this hustle”
So what about this year’s song? Pella Singers, a professional Jewish a capella group of about 100 singers both male and female teamed up with Israel advocacy group StandWithUs to bring us a Chanukah mash-up for 2012 that includes Fun’s “What Do I Stand For?,” Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song,” and many more.
Harry Askenazi, one of the singers for Pella Singers, said that the group was partially inspired by recent events to create a Chanukah song and video that shows support and unity for Israel and the Jewish people. “The fact that the story of Chanukah is so relevant to the state of Israel today, only serves as additional inspiration during these times. As people our ages are fighting to defend the Jewish homeland, we thought our song would be a humble attempt to bring some cheer and show solidarity,” said Askenazi.
Elran Tsabag, Director of Project Management & Strategic Development at StandWithUs, stated that, “Pella Singers approached StandWithUs to partner on promoting the video. We were thrilled that they asked us because of the high production value of the video and we agreed wholeheartedly with the overall theme and direction. It is no wonder that the Pella Singers are world-renowned.”
The video, which was shot and directed in only a few days by Jordan Gorfinkel, begins by showing rockets being fired into Israel and Israelis running into bomb shelters during the recent conflict, while the Pella Singers harmonize about seeing “only darkness all around.” The video then evolves into a Chanukah gift being thrown from singer to singer all over the world. Askenazi explained that “the idea of the Chanukah present being passed from New York to Los Angeles to Israel was a good way to unify the themes of Chanukah and celebrating together.”
Indeed, whether it’s a good laugh or a reminder that we stand united together all over the world even in times of trouble, these Chanukah songs are sure to bring a smile to your face this holiday season.
*The author of this article is affiliated with StandWithUs*