Josh Shron
Israeli Music Radio Host, Podcaster & Enthusiast

Celebrating Thanksgiving? 5 Hebrew Songs to Get You Into the Holiday Spirit

We Jews must’ve invented Thanksgiving. After all, the Hebrew word for “turkey” (hodu) is the same as the word for “let us give thanks.” Coincidence? I think not.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Jew or Gentile, American-born or a native of another country. If you live in the USA, or consider yourself an American citizen, chances are you will be sitting down to a festive Thanksgiving dinner sometime over the next 24 hours.

With few exceptions, Thanksgiving has been adopted by virtually all Americans, regardless of background. A day off with family, a nice Turkey dinner, a time to watch parades, movies and football…what could be bad?

But if your day would not be complete without Israeli music, what does your Thanksgiving playlist look like? Don’t worry…your pals at MyIsraeliMusic.com have got you covered. Here are five songs of thanks that your Hebrew-speaking guests will be thrilled to hear in your home this Thanksgiving (with song translations from our friends at HebrewSongs.com).

So sit around the table, pass the cranberry sauce, sing “Koombaya” and enjoy this list in Hebrew of what we’re thankful for.

1. Chaim Moshe – Todah

Yeah, perhaps the most obvious choice in our list, but how could we leave it out? With words from the late Uzi Hitman and a melody that comes from Greece, Chaim Moshe sings about gratitude in a very memorable, singable song:

Thanks for all that You’ve created,
Thanks for what You’ve given me.
For our eyesight,
A friend or two,
For what I have in the world.
For the song which flows,
And a forgiving heart –
Because of all this – I exist.

2. Rami Kleinstein & Keren Peles – Todah

The most recent entry to make our playlist, this fantastic song by Rami Kleinstein and Keren Peles was the opening track of their joint album. It’s also a beautiful song of gratitude, often for the miracles that emerge suddenly from darkness.

Thank you world, thank you
That you brought me here
To this steamy simmering pot
For the right ways you led me
Which I didn’t choose
For the sea of love you poured on me
Where I didn’t drown

3. Riki Gal – Todah Rabba

Back in 1979, Riki Gal recorded the perfect song of thanks. Fun and upbeat, the song reminds us to appreciate the moment and remember that all good things must come to an end.

Thanks a lot, thanks very, very much.
We can say goodbye,
If it’s over, it’s not a tragedy.
It was charming –
What can we do?
Always, there’s an end to everything,
Yes, to everything,
There is an end to everything.
There is an end to everything.
Thanks a lot!
Thanks a lot.

4. Yishai Levi – Todah

And how about this ballad from Yishai Levi? This one doesn’t express gratitude to God (or to the universe) for the world, for nature, or for life itself…but rather thanking a significant other for the joy of love and togetherness.

Thanks for the joy
Thanks for the serenity,
Thank God for sending you to me,
Thanks for the beauty,
Thanks for the time spent with you,
Thanks for everything my only love.

The whole world is full of love
Every person has emotion,
However, nobody has someone like you,
You are precious!!

5. Chanan Ben-Ari – HaChaim Shelanu Tutim

Finally, since every Jew needs to kvetch a little bit, Chanan Ben-Ari brings us a long list of things that are difficult in his life, followed by another list of the things he’s thankful for. And at the end of the day, if you can overlook the negative and emphasize the positive in your life, then you’re certainly doing something right.

Ok, so we opened our mouth
We complained enough,
We’ve been ungrateful
Now, let’s go back to basics
Time to say thanks
Thanks for the spirit,
For no time to rest
Thanks for the Shabbat,
For two boys and one girl
Thanks for all the beauty
The privilege to see Messi
The corrections, the essence
Thanks for the childhood
And everything you created for us

I think it’s safe to say that each and every one of us can relate to some of the lyrics on this page. So wherever you’re celebrating, Happy Turkey Day, everyone.

About the Author
Josh Shron is the host of "Israel Hour Radio" - a weekly Israeli music radio program and podcast he's hosted on Rutgers University's WRSU Radio since 1994. He has the amazing opportunity to share his love for Israel and its music with thousands of listeners each week. Free weekly podcasts are available at the iTunes Music Store, TuneIn Radio or at https://www.MyIsraeliMusic.com. Josh is also the founder and president of Stampless Marketing, a full-service digital marketing firm. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and five children.
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