Why this tune?
Hanukkah starts this week on Thursday night. At this time of year in 2009, I heard that Senator Orrin Hatch had written and recorded a Hanukkah song. I thought that if a Mormon senator (with a name close to mine!) can write one, I could write a better one. Hanukkah Light was inspired by our celebration in snowy Massachusetts, where I was living at the time.
I already saw a need for more Hanukkah songs in English, especially ones that reflect how we experience it in the US. I share the views of Jeffrey Goldberg (Hatch’s collaborator on his song) on many American Hanukkah songs: “I for one have tired of the Adam Sandlerization of Judaism in America. Yes, we are, as a people, funny (at least when compared to other people, such as Croatians) but our neuroses, well-earned though they may be, have caused us to lacerate our own traditions, which are in fact (to borrow from Barack Obama) awesome.”
Dig this detail!
I recorded Hanukkah Light with Aaron Myers for his 2015 holiday project Snowing In Vegas, which you can find on most music streaming services. As a music minister, Aaron got a kick out of singing the Hebrew lyrics in the song.
Best wishes to all of you: Happy Hanukkah / Hag Urim Sameach / חג אורים שמח.