10 Hanukkah songs the whole family will love



For practicing Jewish families in America, the last week of November will be Reserve. Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 25, then there’s Shabbat from Friday night to Saturday night (as usual), then Sunday November 28 is the first night of Hanukkah, ushering in eight nights of candle lighting, gifts, delicious fries food (give me all the latkes and jelly donuts you have!), games and songs. If you want to continue the music after the traditional blessings, we have 10 Hanukkah songs the whole family can enjoy.

Now we love the classics: “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel”, “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah”, “Mi Yi’malel”, but we wanted to go beyond classics (without excluding them, of course: is it even Hanukkah without the dreidel song ?!). So we’ve put together a list of fun, meaningful, catchy and moving songs to celebrate the Festival of Lights which represents different cultural traditions, languages ​​and musical styles, from klezmer to rap, disco to folk, and Latin to pop. Because you have enough stuff to whip up in the coming weeks, we thought we might help you get that off your plate, which, of course, means more room for the latkes! (It doesn’t matter how much turkey you ate a few days ago: there’s always room for latkes!)

“Ocho Kandelikas”

The title of this 1983 song by Flory Jagoda means “Eight Little Candles”, and it is about a child delightedly lighting the menorah. On an Argentine tango beat, the lyrics are in Ladino, an ancient form of Spanish spoken by Sephardic Jews (although, unfortunately, less and less over time) and it’s a bop. This version of NPR’s Pink Martini and Ari Shapiro is especially fun, but other versions have been recorded by Idina Menzel, Erran Baron Cohen (Sacha Barron Cohen’s older brother) with Yasmin Levy and others. It’s the perfect song for families with small children who love a good counting song, Latin music lovers, Sephardic families, and those who want to do a little to keep this endangered language alive.

“by candlelight”

Hanukkah songs that parody pop songs have become a standard feature of the holidays, and it started with these dudes: the Maccabeats (another pun! Get it ?! Like the Maccabees?). This a cappella group from Yeshiva University in New York has been around since 2007, but went viral in 2010 with this Hanukkah-themed version of “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz.

Since then, they have released a Hanukkah song every year, including “All About That Neis”, “Latke Recipe” and a parody of Hamilton called “Hasmonean: A Hanukkah of Hamilton”. You should be enjoying all of these songs around the menorah this year (bonus for families with children: many of them tell the story of the holidays in an easy to follow and digestible way), but as it is about holidays, it is about honoring the past and tradition, we think it is better to start with the original …

“Chaniké, Oy Chanike”

Even someone familiar with the Festival of Lights may be familiar with this tune (often called “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah”). There are countless versions of this classic, including one by the cast of Joy, and the lyrics are like this:

Oh Hanukkah, Oh, Hanukkah / Come light the menorah / Come to our party / We will all dance the hora / Gather around the table / We will give you a treat: dreidels to play with and latkes to eat / And during we play the candles burn low / One for each night, they diffuse a soft light to remind us of the days long ago. {The last line repeats}

But we chose this wordless version of Sruli and Lisa because we thought using a familiar tune like this would be a great way to introduce kids to klezmer, a genre of Eastern European Jewish folk music. .

“Hanukkah fever”

Doni Zasloff Thomas is the lead singer of the Mama Doni Band, which makes children’s music that celebrates Jewish heritage with a mix of styles of reggae, rock, folk, country, klezmer and something they call “Jewgrass” . (You understand? Jewish Bluegrass?) They have an entire album dedicated to Chanukah! On this title song, Chanukah is celebrated via disco! It’s a perfect way to cheer up toddlers about the holidays (although giveaways and jelly donuts do a big job there as well). “Mama Doni” said that while she wants to make music that connects Jewish children with their heritage and identity, she also wants it to be a way to share Jewish culture with families who are not. more.

“The Chanukah Song”

It would be irresponsible to list Chanukah songs and not include Adam Sandler’s silly classic that lists “people who are Jewish – just like you and me.” Now, while many of the celebrities mentioned in this hit won’t be familiar to young children (or even their millennial parents in some cases), it’s still fun. And also, there are lesser known updates! Parts 2, 3 and even 4 continue the tradition of silly voices and say “Oh! I didn’t know they were Jews!” and your only friend said “Oh yeah! They talked about it in this interview and also my friend went to summer camp with her!”

“Hanukkah Blessings”

The Barenaked Ladies holiday album is part of a long and beloved tradition of Jewish singers with Christmas albums (think Barbara Streisand, Carole King, Kenny G, Idina Menzel). Singer Steven Page wanted to be sure he portrayed his legacy on Barenaked for vacation and so, besides including “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah” and “The Dreidel Song”, he wrote “Hanukkah Blessings”.

“The song I wanted to sing was about someone celebrating Hanukkah in a society where everyone celebrates Christmas,” Page said in an interview in 2005. “You can feel isolated from the mainstream culture. It’s hard to remember that we have our own culture, religion and celebration. It’s easy to come home, light the candles, and forget about the rest. But my kids gave me this lesson again, to remember Hanukkah and what it is all about.

“Light a candle”

Who among us doesn’t love the traditional folk styles of Peter, Paul and Mary, a group synonymous with modern American folk music itself. The lyrics commemorate the Maccabees’ struggle for liberation from tyranny, but were written by Peter Yarrow as a pacifist response to the Lebanon War in 1982. The lyrics are meaningful and the melody, as you would expect, grim. but beautiful. The chorus is reminiscent of “Do No Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas.

Don’t let the light go out! / It’s been going on for so many years! / Don’t let the light go out! / Let it shine through our hope and our tears.

“Practicing Jew”

While Joshua Nelson’s soulful “Observing Jew” is not expressly a Hanukkah song, more people need to know about the “Prince of the Kosher Gospel” and it is as good a song as any. other ! Combining the tradition of American gospel music with his own Jewish heritage, Nelson’s powerful voice, incredible talent and respect for music and the Jewish faith is an incredible way to celebrate Chanukah. (Associated with a latke? Perfection.) It is also an important example of black representation within the Jewish community, both for black Jewish children and for all Jewish children to see that their religious heritage covers cultures, continents and races.


It’s a rare song that’s cheeky, sweet, and absolutely slap in the face. Mixing reggae, rap and pop (a kind of Matisyahu thing), “Miracle” is an ode to the party which reminds the celebrants that “these rites keep me straight / Bless me to the highest with your miracle”.

The video is also fun and definitely worth watching. In it, Matisyahu (sometimes dancing in a Santa Claus costume) finds himself in the company of Hanukkah villain Antiochus, who tempts him with a party and “chocolate stuff” (“I love chocolate stuff! “) Before the noble hero and warrior of Hanukkah, Matisyahu (” I am too Matisyahu! Reminds him that Antiochus is the enemy. Then they all go head to head in a hockey game. Naturally.

“Happy Happy Hanukkah”

The song was originally written by none other than Woody Guthrie. Although not Jewish himself, his wife was, and he wrote this song with her and their children (including folk singer Arlo Guthrie) and the Jewish community in mind. (Honestly, it’s kind of a fun juxtaposition to the fact that so many Christmas carols were written by Jews!)

This version of The Klezmatics captures the cheerful spirit of the holidays. Not only is it really fun and easy to sing (kids will enjoy the counting and counting aspect), but it draws inspiration from American folk traditions as well as klezmer.



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