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Still Watching Hanukkah

In [url=/blog/iff/december-holidays/watching-hanukkah/]the last Hanukkah blog post[/url], I pointed out JWA’s request for progressive, Jewish holiday videos. And they’ve [url=]followed up[/url], suggesting that the Fountainhead’s “Light Up The Night” might be the answer:

[quote]Our goal is to produce fun and meaningful music videos that put smiles on people’s faces and help them connect with their Jewishness in new ways. We also want to showcase the diverse, vibrant and highly-engaged Israeli-Jewish identity that is emerging in our generation of Israelis today.[/quote]

The Jewish federation of Chicago (Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago) took a different approach in their video, asking you to show your “inner Maccabee” this year. Thankfully, they actually want you to do good deeds, be kind and practice [url=/religious_life/spirituality/For_Kids_Tikkun_Olam.shtml]tikkun olam[/url], and not actually emulate the Maccabee’s religious fanaticism, violence or frequent parricides.

I want to like the premise of this one except… Hanukkah’s not actually a major holiday. The significance of Hanukkah for the Jews doesn’t compare to the religious significance of Christmas for Christians. (Minor holiday elevated to fill the dark nights of winter versus the birth of Christianity’s messiah? Not really on the same level…) Nonetheless, it has some amusing moments:

Looking for something for younger viewers? Shalom Sesame has a [url=]Hanukkah playlist on their YouTube channel[/url], which includes “the Missing Menorah” (lots of holiday words, in Hebrew and English, plus a song):

Also for kids? Behrman House has published a Hanukkah story, [i]Too Many Latkes[/i], as an interactive iPad app! It’s full of fun features, and your little kids can press a button to have the app read the story out loud in the pre-recorded voice – or in yours! You can check out their [url=]video introduction to the app[/url] or head over to the app store to download it yourself. 

But back to the videos. When I first saw this one, I didn’t get why folks were hatin’ on it. But then I kept watching… There’s someone in blackface. (Not ok!) But on the other hand, it’s probably the most accessible in terms of language… But… I don’t know. What do you think?

Pella busts out some boy band a capella moves in their “Holiday Party” (to the tune of Hot Chelle Rae’s “Tonight Tonight”), which goes through not only Hanukkah, but all the Jewish holidays.

This one’s an older tune. I think I first heard  Eric “Smooth-E” Schwartz’s Jewish parody tunes in 2001; one of his Passover songs made the rounds for years, falsely attributed to many different people. Anyway, here’s his ode to Hanukkah gelt, “Chocolate Gelt.”

And let’s end with a video that came out oh, I don’t know, about three minutes ago. My buddy Naomi Less singing her new “8 Nights” song. She prefaces the video with

[quote]This winter 18 Jewish social entrepreneurs from several countries worldwide shared images about their personal meanings of Hanukkah – seeing a miracle inside of someone during the season[/quote]

I admit that I recognize too many people in the video to not be biased in its favor…

If you’ve seen other Hanukkah videos you think we should share, post them in the comments or email them to me ( Bonus gelt if they include interfaith families!

Benjamin Maron

Benjamin Maron is the former Director of Content and Editorial Resources for 18Doors.