December 8, 2012

Happy Hanukkah, Mom

Filed under: Music,Real Life — DB @ 2:07 pm
Tags: , ,

We interrupt this blog’s normal programming of nerdy pop culture coverage to wish a Happy Hanukkah to any readers who will be lighting the first candle on the menorah tonight. Specifically, I’m addressing this post to my mother, who laments daily that I’m disconnected from my Jewish roots. True, I am known in some circles as The Fallen Jew. True, I may have been the one to start calling myself that. True, my non-Jewish friend who happens to be a pre-school teacher at the San Francisco JCC probably knows more about Jewish culture and religion at this point than I do. But if it makes you feel any better Mom, I have problems with all religion, not just the one you raised me in. So take some comfort in that. Or not.

Anyway, to show you that “Jewish things” do still seep through occasionally, I’m posting this video that I think you’ll enjoy. It’s a song called “Candlelight,” a recounting of the Hanukkah story performed by The Maccabeats, a Jewish a cappella group formed in 2007 at Yeshiva University in New York.

This was sent to me a few years ago by a friend, and I admit that my feelings were – and still are – slightly mixed. Part of me kinda wants to punch them all; I’m not sure why. But part of me admits the song parody is pretty clever and that it’s maddeningly catchy. And it’s not like we Jews have a lot of songs in our holiday arsenal, so we gotta embrace what we’re given. As to the catchiness, The Maccabeats can’t take credit. “Candlelight” is based on the song “Dynamite,” a 2010 dance/club/pop/electronic ditty by Taio Cruz. The video takes its cue from another source as well, inspired by a version of “Dynamite” performed by Mike Tompkins. (Mom, those words are red because they’re “hyperlinks.” If you click on them, they will open a new window on your computer and you’ll be able to see the source material. And by “new window” I mean…look, you’ll figure it out. You’ve nearly mastered the DVR. I have faith in you.)

I’m sure you’ll watch this video and wish that I spent time with a group of nice Jewish boys like this, who would be a good influence on me and introduce me to Jewish girls and maybe even convince me to give gefilte fish a chance. Sorry to disappoint you. You’ll have to settle for the fact that I will be lighting the menorah over the next week, and I’m even going to a Hanukkah party tonight. Candles will be lit, a prayer will be spoken, dreidels will be spun, potato latkes will be consumed (and possibly flipped in the air) and you can be at peace knowing that for at least a few hours, I will be the Jewish son you always hoped I’d be…the fact that I’m not a doctor notwithstanding.

So Happy Hanukkah, Mom (and Dad), and all the other members of the tribe out there. And for anyone who feels that The Maccabeats just aren’t your thing, here’s another Hanukkah song that might be up your alley.

* For the record, my mother never put pressure on me to become a doctor. I can’t say the same about meeting a nice Jewish girl.

**For you non-Jewish readers who don’t know from gefilte fish, it’s a disgusting staple of the Passover seder consisting of fish such as carp, whitefish or pike, mashed up into a tight wad and served out of a jar full of translucent jellyslime.

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