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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.