Iâ€™ll be upfront about this: Iâ€™m not a religious person, but I do celebrate the holidays. Â By â€œholidaysâ€ (And yes, I’m talking to all you â€œWar on Christmasâ€ alarmists), Iâ€™m talking about Hanukkah and Christmas. Â What can I say, I like to live with contradiction. Â Now, like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah is a holiday that doesnâ€™t have a lot of songs. Â Well, it actually has way more than Thanksgiving, but far fewer than Christmas – which is kind of odd if you think about paranoid conspiracies like â€œJews control everything!â€ I mean if Jews did control everything, why wouldn’t they push Jewish holidays more? Â Maybe thereâ€™s only so much material one can wring out lighting candles, a small bit of oil, playing with a dreidel, the Maccabees, a Menorah, and all the other things that go along with Hanukkah. Â Maybe flying reindeer, a bearded fat man, snow, pumpkin pie, bells, Jesus, Mary, and Rudolf make for better songs and Rankin/Bass shows. Wait. Aren’t Rankin and Bass Jewish? Â Ah well, I donâ€™t know. I donâ€™t pretend to know, but I do know that Iâ€™ll take any opportunity to celebrate something. Â So with that, hereâ€™s wishing all Jews, Gentiles, Agnostics, and Atheists a Happy Hanukkah. Â Shalom, bitches!
I found this version on iTunes a few years ago, and itâ€™s become a real favorite of mine (and my family). Thereâ€™s just something about Bikel busting out this classic in two languages thatâ€™s just irresistible.
BNL are a band that alternates between humorous songs and those that are heartfelt, and on this album they give their listener both. Â On â€œHanukkah Blessingsâ€ (written by former BNL member, Stephen Page), itâ€™s a song that gets beyond the wink and a nudge tone with which some bands treat Hanukkah. Â Instead, this song is one that may be kind of corny in a way, but thereâ€™s no denying that itâ€™s heartfelt.
â€œFeast of Light,â€ They Might Be Giants (Download)
Well, even Jews have a tough time during the holidays, okay? Â This song by They Might Be Giants is one of the most depressing ones Iâ€™ve heard, but considering how many people feel depressed during the holidays (And Iâ€™m not just talking about Charlie Brown), â€œFeast of Lightsâ€ is probably one of the more honest holiday songs.
Some say that when Jimi Hendrix played the â€œStar Spangled Bannerâ€ on his guitar, that it was a transcendent moment in the history of popular music. But what about Dick Daleâ€™s version of â€œHava Nigila?â€ Â Maybe not transcendent, but what more says â€œHappy Hanukkah â€¦ California styleâ€ than this?
â€œHow Do You Spell Channukkah?â€ The Leevees (Download)
With a â€œCâ€ or an â€œH?â€ Â Itâ€™s tough to know, and for two Jewish kids who make up the LeeVees (Adam Gardner and Dave Schneider), theyâ€™re even confused. Â I donâ€™t blame them, Iâ€™m Asian Indian and found out a few years ago I was pronouncing my middle name incorrectly — the same goes for the Ganges river. Â Words are so confusing sometimes.
â€œGive the Jew Girl Toys,â€ Sarah Silverman (Download)
Ever the transgressive comedian, Sarah Silverman loves taking a dump (and sometimes itâ€™s a metaphorical dump) on many sacred and revered things — like Christmas. Â Sometimes she really makes me laugh (Her latest book is one that is chocked full of extremely funny and sad stories), and sometimes she just tries too hard to be funny in a shocking way. Â However, I do believe sheâ€™s found the right balance in â€œGive the Jew Girl Toys.â€
Ted Asregadoo has a last name that's proven to be difficult to pronounce for almost everyone on the Popdose staff, some telemarketers, and even his close friends. He lives in Walnut Creek, CA. Oh, and FYI, Asregadoo is pronounced As-ree-gah-du.