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If you like cute videos parodying pop songs for the Jewish holidays like I do, then youâ€™ll be happy to learn that theyâ€™ve been made not just for HanukkahÂ and Passover (see my favorites here and here), but for Rosh Hashanah too. So, as we approach the Jewish New Year, hereâ€™s a countdown of my seven favorite Rosh Hashanah pop song parodies.
7) Felicia Sloin and Tom Knightâ€™s “Apples and Honey” parody of Maroon 5â€™s “Sugar.”
6) The Fountainheadsâ€™ “Dip Your Apple” parody of Shakiraâ€™s “Waka Waka.”
5) National Jewish Outreach Programâ€™s Jewish Treatsâ€™ “Soul Bigger” parody of Kanye Westâ€™s “Gold Digger.”
4) Matthew Rissienâ€™s “All About That Rosh Hashanah” parody of Meghan Trainorâ€™s “All About That Bass.”
3) The Maccabeatsâ€™ “Book of Good Life” parody of OneRepublicâ€™s “Good Life.”
2) Six13â€™s “Shana Tova (2013 Rosh Hashanah Jam)” parody of Macklemore and Ryan Lewisâ€™ “Canâ€™t Hold Us.”
1) And my very favorite Rosh Hashanah pop song parody: Aishâ€™s “Rosh Hashanah Rock Anthem” parody of LMFAOâ€™s “Party Rock Anthem.” Not only can these guys sing, but they can really dance too!
Whatâ€™s your favorite Rosh Hashanah pop song parody? Is it one of the ones listed above, or a different one? Let me know in the comments below.
Passover is coming, which means that Passover-themed parodies of pop songs are showing up on my Facebook news feed, and possibly yours too. I love watching these videosâ€”theyâ€™re a nice break from cleaning out the chametz (leavened products) from my kitchen and thinking about what Iâ€™m going to serve at my seder.
Last year, I wrote about my Top 7 Passover Song Parodies. This year, Iâ€™ve got another listâ€”with some new parodies as well as some that Iâ€™ve discovered since last year.
1.Â In the final paragraph of my blog post last year I wrote, â€śWith Passover less than a month away, Iâ€™m disappointed that I still havenâ€™t seen any good 2016 Passover pop song parodies. Maybe the Maccabeatsâ€¦will release a video before Passover. I can hopeâ€¦â€ť Well, my hope was fulfilled. The Maccabeats DID release a music video before Passover in 2016: A â€śJustin Bieber Passover Mashup,â€ť which was a parody mashup of Beiberâ€™s â€śLove Yourself,â€ť â€śSorryâ€ť and â€śWhat Do You Mean?â€ť
2. Another great parody that was released for Passover 2016 was by a group called the Y-Studs, an all-male a cappella group from Yeshiva University. The Y-Studsâ€™ â€śSeder â€“ Passoverâ€ť was based on Michael Jacksonâ€™s groundbreaking â€śThrillerâ€ť video. I, for one, canâ€™t resist anything based on the â€śThrillerâ€ť video.
3. Congregation B’nai Shalom and Friends also released a fun video in 2016, â€śNow We’ve Got Matzo,” a Passover-themed parody of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.”
4.Â The catchiest Passover song parody of 2016? In my opinion, it was Six13â€™s â€śGod Split the Ocean (2016 Passover Jam),â€ť based on â€śCake by the Oceanâ€ť by DNCE. Warning: Be careful if you listen to this songâ€¦itâ€™s hard to get the catchy tune out of your head.
5.Â Just as Passover 2014 was all about parodies of â€śLet It Goâ€ť from the Disney movie Frozen (for example, see here, here and here), not surprisingly, in 2017, Disney’s MoanaÂ served as inspiration for a Passover parody. Congregation Bâ€™nai Shalom and Friendsâ€™ â€śWhy Seders Are Slowâ€ť is based on the movieâ€™s â€śHow Far Iâ€™ll Go.â€ť
6. If you’re a fan of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” you’re sure to love Six13â€™s â€śSeder Crew (2017 Passover Jam).â€ťÂ I’ve already listened to it countless times, and Passover is still several days away.
7.Â My favorite movie in 2016 wasÂ La La Land and my favorite Passover parody video of 2017 is definitely the Y-Stud’s “La La Passover,” which I can’t seem to get out of my head…and I don’t even mind!
Hang on:Â one last video. Itâ€™s not a parody, but itâ€™s a great video. Trust me, you donâ€™t want to miss it. Itâ€™s a creative multi-genre twist on the classic Passover seder song â€śDayenuâ€ť recorded by the Maccabeats in 2015.
Chag Sameach! Have a happy Passover! And let us know: Whatâ€™s your favorite Passover song parody?
Passover meant a big seder, with my grandfather chanting at the end of the table. My cousins and I would scramble around the house, hunting for the afikomen. Then my uncle would play the piano in the basement while we all sang. It was a wonderful holiday.
Passover also meant skipping my usual PB&J and taking buttered matzah to school, wrapped in aluminum foil. I remember how the butter would melt into shiny globules, and Iâ€™d rub them in with my finger. There was something nice about being â€śThe Jewish Kidâ€ť in the class, with my special food. I loved the rituals. I liked the hyper-awareness of Passover, the symbolism of the seder plate. Mortar and tearsâ€”the sense that everything mattered.
And while we didnâ€™t celebrate Easter religiously at our house, I did get a basket from my (Catholic) mom, filled with jellybeans and chocolate eggs. This was nice, tooâ€”that while I got to be â€śThe Jewish Kidâ€ť I also didnâ€™t feel totally left out of Easter. Sometimes there was a neighborhood parade and we made Easter hats from cardboard, glue and feathers.
Then came a year when the holidays overlapped. My parents were newly divorced, and not communicating well. My mom did her best with Passover. If memory serves, I took my matzah to school like usual. But then on Sunday morningâ€¦ I got my Easter basket. Filled with bright jelly beans.
I tore into it, of course, mouth filled with sweetness, until I crunched through a blue candy shell into the crisp goodness of a malted robinâ€™s egg. And suddenly, it hit me. Easter wasnâ€™t Kosher for Passover! I spit the candy out into my hand, confused. What should I do?
For the next few days, my Easter basket sat on top of the fridge, waiting for me. I remember staring up at it, thinking about how it wasnâ€™t fair, that nobody else I knew had to wait to eat her candy. But the truth was, my dad wasnâ€™t there to enforce the rules anymore. It was all me. I had put the basket on top of the fridge, and I felt conflicted, but also firm in my resolve.
Years later, as an adult, the holidays overlapped again, and remembering the basket on the fridge, I did a funny thing. I assembled a Kosher-for-Passover Easter basket for myself. I did a good job, hunted down fruit-gels and made chocolate-covered matzah. The basket looked lovely.
But you know what? It was no good. It didnâ€™t make me happy at all. Staring at that basket of fruit slices and jelly rings didnâ€™t feel the same as waking up to an Easter basket. Not remotely. It feltâ€¦ wrong.
I think sometimes, in the interfaith community, we seek to smooth the ruffled feelings, to reconcile all our conflicts and contradictions. We want to believe that weâ€™re creating families in which everything can blend, fit and make sense. But hereâ€™s the thingâ€”some things are distinct, even mutually exclusive. Some years, choosing to keep Kosher for Passover means not eating Easter candy. And thatâ€™s annoying, but also OK. Things donâ€™t have to be easy to matter.
In a way, I feel like I undermined the essence of each holiday in that Eastover Basket I made. For me (and I can only speak for my own experience), Passover is about the restrictions, the rigor. Passover feels powerful because of its deprivation. And for me, Easter baskets are the oppositeâ€”about abundance, sheer pleasure.
This is fine! These two holidays donâ€™t have to blend. Each holiday holds a special place in my memory. Easter and Passover can co-exist without merging. And you know what? The truth is that all the most meaningful experiences of my life have included conflict. Every deep relationship Iâ€™ve had has been imperfect, particular and occasionally inconvenient. Often, rituals matter most when we have to wait for them, or forego something else. Sometimes, conflict serves a purpose.
When I was a kid, I stared up at my Easter basket on the fridge and thought about both holidays. I owned them both and recognized that they both mattered to me. That year, for the first time, I truly decided to keep Kosher for Passover. It mattered more than it ever had before. And then a few days later, I decided to eat my robinâ€™s eggs.
They were delicious.
We love Mo Willems books in our house! My little one just brought home one of his gazillions of titles called, I Really Like Slop. As I have written before, I now see the world through interfaith family lenses. When we read this story, all I could think about was interfaith couples at Passover! How in the world did I make that leap?
The book tells the story of Piggie presenting her friend Gerald, the elephant, with a pot of her slop. Gerald looks at the smelly concoction with trepidation. He asks some questions about the make-up of the slop. Piggie begs him to try some. She explains that itâ€™s part of Pig culture! Gerald touches his tongue to the slop and chokes and gags. Piggie asks Gerald if he likes it. Gerald explains that he does not like it, but he does like Piggie. And he is happy he tried it.
As are all of Mo Willemsâ€™ books, this story is precious and even poignant. It made me think about someone who didnâ€™t grow up with, letâ€™s say, gefilte fish, being presented with it for the first time at a Passover seder. This person is no doubt sitting with a significant other at their parentsâ€™ house, surrounded by family and trying to fit in and make a good impression. This person is trying to avoid any cultural faux pas. They may be worried that the haggadah (the book read during the Passover meal) will be read aloud going around the table and that there will be unfamiliar words and transliterated Hebrew to navigate (on four cups of wine, no less). And, now this person is presented with this foreign, kind of smelly food, with a gel-like substance wiggling around on top.
If you were brought up with this food and donâ€™t like it, it is easier to dismiss it. But, for a newcomer, how does one politely excuse themselves from trying it? (Especially if is homemade. This usually makes it a lot better than if itâ€™s cold from the jarâ€”although some people love that. Who am I to yuck your yum, as my childâ€™s feeding therapist implores.)
What Piggie and Gerald teach us is that we donâ€™t have to like our partnerâ€™s cultural things. They donâ€™t have to become ours. We donâ€™t have to feel comfortable eating the food or donning certain garb. We donâ€™t automatically have to feel comfortable with the language, traditions or dances. Maybe after experience and time, we will come to like things. We will make them our own. But, maybe we never will. And, thatâ€™s OK. Showing respect, asking questions, learning about and even trying aspects important to our loved ones is what matters.
Happy prepping for Passover!
Hanukkah is a holiday full of fun and meaningful traditions, like eating foods made with oil such as latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts); playing the dreidel game; and of course lighting the hanukkiah (the nine branched candelabrum, commonly called a â€śMenorahâ€ť in English). And of course there are the traditional songs â€“ like Maâ€™oz Tsur (“Rock of Ages”), â€śI Have a Little Dreidelâ€ť and â€śHanukkah, O Hanukkah.â€ť
In modern times, there have been some great Hanukkah songs, some for children (though still loved by adults), such as Debbie Friedmanâ€™s â€śThe Latke Songâ€ť and others for a wider audience, like Matisyahuâ€™s â€śMiracles.”
Hanukkah music rose to a whole new â€“ and much funnier â€“ level on December 3, 1994, when Adam Sandler performed “The Chanukah Song” on Saturday Night Liveâ€Ť‘â€‹s Weekend Update. The original song was followed up by â€śPart IIâ€ť (1999),Â â€śPart 3â€ť (2002) and a new updated version this year. In all four songs, Sandler sings about celebrities who he claims (often, though not always correctly) are â€śJewish,â€ť â€śnot Jewish,â€ť or â€śhalf-Jewish.â€ť To learn more about all four of Sandlerâ€™s songs check out the Wikipedia entry on â€śThe Chanukah Songâ€ť which includes a listing of the celebrities mentioned in the songs, the truth about whether they are or arenâ€™t Jewish and links to covers and spoofs. Here’s the latest version.
Starting around 2010, a new kind of Hanukkah song became popular: The Pop Song Haunkkah Parody. Even though it’s been aÂ few years after the first really popular parodies started circulating around the internet, I still remember most of the words to each of the parody songs – though I couldnâ€™t even remember who sang the song originally, let alone the words to the original song. So, in keeping with the number eight for the eight nights of Hanukkah, here are my eight favorite Hanukkah Pop Song Parodies (in chronological order):
1. Â The Fountainheadâ€™s â€śI Gotta Feeling Hanukkah,â€ťÂ the 2010 parody of The Black Eyed Peasâ€™ â€śI Gotta Feeling.â€ť The Fountainheads are a group of young Israeli singers, dancers and musicians who are all graduates and students of the Ein Prat Academy for Leadership.
2. Â The one that really brought Hanukkah song parodies into the big leagues was â€śCandlelight,â€ťÂ a 2012 parody of Taio Cruzâ€™s â€śDynamiteâ€ť by The Maccabeats, Yeshiva Universityâ€™s all-male a capella group.
3. Â â€śEight Nights â€“ Hanukkah Mashup,â€ťÂ a 2012 Hanukkah parody/mashup of three songs: â€śSome Nightsâ€ť by Fun, â€śDie Youngâ€ť by Ke$ha and â€śLive While Weâ€™re Youngâ€ť by One Direction. StandFour is another all-male a capella group, composed of four former members of The Maccabeats.
4. Â The B-Boyz â€ś(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Dreidel),â€ťÂ a 2012 parody of The Beastie Boysâ€™ â€ś(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)â€ť by three young brothers – Ben, Jake and Max Borenstein.
5. The Maccabeats again with â€śBurnâ€ť – their 2013 version of Ellie Gouldingâ€™s song. They didnâ€™t change the words, but they made it into a Hanukkah video.
6. Â â€śChanukah Lights,â€ťÂ The Jabberwocks of Brown Universityâ€™s 2014 song, which is a play on Kanye Westâ€™s â€śAll of the Lights.â€ť The Jabberwocks are Brownâ€™s oldest, all-male a capella group.
7. Â Six13â€™s 2014 â€śChanukah (Shake It Off)â€ť parodying Taylor Swiftâ€™s â€śShake It Off.â€ť Six13 is an all-male Jewish a capella group from New York.
8. Â And the Maccabeats yet again, with 2014â€™s â€śAll About that Neis,â€ťÂ a parody of Meghan Trainorâ€™s â€śAll About the Bass.â€ť
I canâ€™t wait to hear and watch what these groups and others have in store for Hanukkah 2015. And I hope to see more women (of the six groups whose parodies I listed above only one, The Fountainheads, included women) and girls coming out with some awesome parodies.
Whatâ€™s your favorite Hanukkah song or song parody? Please share a link so we can all enjoy.
Seth Meyers reveals that…he’s not Jewish! Despite what “every single Jewish person thinks,” he is not Jewish (though he does have a Jewish grandfather).
In this clip from Late Night with Seth Meyers, he talks about getting married to his now wife Alexi, who is Jewish, under a chuppah, and about his in-laws who consider him “Jewish enough.” Meyers may have thought he was merely being funny, but little did he know he was becoming the poster celebrity for InterfaithFamily!
I was very sad to learn that Gary Tobin died on Monday. He was a brilliant and provocative thinker, and a passionate advocate for opening Jewish communities to include interfaith families and Jews of color.When I stopped being a lawyer and started working in the Jewish non-profit world in 1999, the first gathering I ever attended was an event around the publication of Tobin’s Opening the Gates: How Proactive Conversion Can Revitalize the Jewish Community. I still have that book on my shelf, with many post-it notes interspersed among its pages. Continue reading
Steven M. Cohen and Lawrence A. Hoffman’s recent study confirmed that Generation X and the Millienial generation of Jews, currently young adults, are more spiritually inclined than their baby boomer parents. Even so, attracting young Jewish adults into traditional synagogue membership has been a challenge. Generation X and the Millenials do not necessary feel like they have to join the synagogue down the block to be part of a community. Many are creating lay led communities which do a good job of blending modern values with ancient traditions.
A recent Washington Post article talks about the Moishe Houses, a network of group houses where young adults live and organize worship and social gatherings. Young Jews are also expressing their spiritual values through an organization called Jews in the Woods, which meets in rural settings, and in independent minyanim like Tikkun Leil Shabbat. These new organizations often blur denominational lines and focus on creating communities where diversity is valued.
There is an upcoming one-day conference for the children of interfaith families, an often overlooked demographic in the Jewish Community. InterfaithWays and Birthright Israel NEXT are cosponsoring this event in Philadelphia on Sunday May 17th. The goals of this program are for children of interfaith families to connect, and to make sure that their voices are heard and needs are met by the larger Jewish community. This conference can go a long way in helping the mainstream Jewish communities understand the potential of children of interfaith families.
Even though InterfaithFamily.com represents a whole new attitude in the Jewish community toward interfaith marriage, about some things we are surprisingly traditional.
For example, when I write about Jewish food, I do not approve of blueberry bagels. They may be very nice pieces of bread, but they are not bagels.
One thing we do that’s innovative is that we are part of a whole collective of related and unrelated Jewish organizations here at 90 Oak Street. The Forward ran an article about how we are all in the same office space together. That’s how we knew about the fundraising video that my old friend Ellen Krause-Grosman produced for Jbooks.com. I pass Ken Gordon’s desk every day on my way in and out of the building. (I do leave eyeball tracks on his books, I admit it.)
We at IFF tend to be more traditional about fundraising, too. We don’t get the former poet laureate of the United States to play piano and sing (well, sort of) for us. No, we do the more usual: networking, making phone calls, writing proposals, making phone calls, meeting with donors and prospective donors and making phone calls. (Also we have a donate button. Over there, on the right. It’s blue.)
I’m a facebook addict, I’ll admit it. I resisted for as long as I could, but once we at InterfaithFamily.com started to build our new website which will include social networking technologies (coming out later this year) I had to log on. And now, I’m hooked.
It’s not the need to know how many places people have visited or that someone is drinking their morning coffee right this minute. It’s more than that. It’s being able to keep in touch with people, share simchas (joyous events) with friends and family through the pictures they upload, find out what friends who live far away are doing without having to play telephone tag to keep up with them, and even make plans with friends and family locally. It’s also being able to tell people who you are and what you believe in through the groups you belong to and the pages you connect with.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working on creating InterfaithFamily.com’s presence on Facebook. It’s another way for us to reach out to people who can benefit from our resources, but may not know we exist. All our new content and blog entries are being fed to the page. We also send updates through Facebook to fans when a new email newsletter goes out or when we launch a new contest. Come visit our page, become a fan, take our poll or just drop us a note on our wall! We’d love to hear from you.