Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hanukkah, December 6, 2015

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Happy Hanukkah!
International Business Times/Clark Mindock, 12/5/15. "Hanukkah 2015: When does the Jewish Holiday start and how is it celebrated?"

"Jewish families around the world will gather Sunday evening to celebrate Hanukkah and light the first candles on their menorahs. The eight-day holiday celebrates the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem following a massacre ordered by the Greek-Syrian King Antiochus IV that initially pushed Jews from the city.

The celebration of Hanukkah has changed dramatically in the past century, transforming from a relatively small and overlooked holiday with scant religious significance into the Jewish equivalent of Christmas. The celebration today generally involves giving gifts, spinning dreidels and eating latkes. It’s a holiday in Israel, however not a particularly significant one there. The celebrations begin Dec. 6 and last through Dec. 14...."  Read more.

Related, songs.  International Business Times, 12/5/15, "Hanukkah 2015: Top 8 Songs About Latkes, Menorahs, Maccabees To Sing During The Festival Of Lights This Year." "The Jewish holiday has many traditional songs that talk about the theme of miracles and celebrate the holiday, but recent years have also seen a proliferation of more-lighthearted tunes praising latkes or parodying popular music. From classic to modern to just plain ridiculous, here are the best Hanukkah songs to sing this year."  

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Rededication, gifts, fun,
and some yummy food.
NPR, KQED Public Radio/Music/Staff, 12/5/15, "Beyond the Dreidel: the songs of Hanukkah - and how they've changed." "Hannukah commemorates the reclaiming of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt. It is not some kind of Jewish Christmas. Still, with lights, prayers and gifts in December, Hannukah tends to get wrapped up in the ball of snow and tinsel as Christmas. But Hannukah has its own songs — though maybe not nearly as many as Christmas.On Saturday, the eve of Hanukkah, NPR's Scott Simon took the opportunity to open up the songbook with Josh Kun, co-founder of the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation. They talk the history of the Hanukkah song — from its 19th-century rebranding to the rethinking of old standards today.

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Ho, ho... move over Santa Clause,
Hanukkah celebration comes first.
Interview highlights: on what makes a good Hanukkah song.  "Well, besides a good Christmas song, a good Hanukkah song has to involve, you know, lots of games — dreidel, playing dreidel, playing some more dreidel. Maybe music for cooking latkes. A good Hanukkah song, these days, really is about festivity and singing along and having a good time."
On his favorite Hannuka songs. "It's funny, you know, my relationship to Hannukah songs really comes through — I guess what you could say the back door, but maybe it's the front door — of Christmas songs. So first, like, my favorite Jewish Hanukkah songs are actually some of the greatest Christmas songs that have been written by Jews ... like kind of, oh, all of them? "[I'm Dreaming of a] White Christmas," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" — most of the great English-language pop Christmas songs were written by American Jews. Some of the greatest Christmas albums are, of course, Christmas albums by American Jews like Barbra [Streisand], Neil [Diamond], Barry [Manilow] and the like. But I digress." 

Related, hey, it's also a party.  Kveller (Opinion),"Actually, you can't celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas."  "A few years ago, my younger son R. was in nursery school. The girl he was in love with, S., was a lovely little girl approximately a full head taller than R. This did not daunt him, and they made a lovely pair…until December rolled around. Come December, S. came over for a playdate. When the conversation turned to Hanukkah, S. told R. that she, S., was lucky, because she got to celebrate both  Christmas AND Hanukkah. Now, R. was a bit of a pedant, even at age 4 (not sure who he got that from), and this sort of threw him for a loop.'But you can’t celebrate Christmas AND Hanukkah,' he told her. 'Are you Jewish?' She looked at him. 'I don’t know what I am,' she told him. ..."

Note photographs. Mover over Santa from Yahoo Screen/Hanukkah Harry. Menorah from Saving advise/Pin it. Yummy/gift ideas from Shutterstock/Maglara/ Los Angeles Times, 12/3/15.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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