Monday, November 29, 2004

Light(en) up

Is this really necessary? Binyamin Jolkovsky, editor of, has launched a campaign against Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song:
Mr. Jolkovsky calls the song — and others like it — an "embarrassment."
"Hanukkah is about a lot more than menorahs or potato latkes," he says. "It's childish when you take a minority that doesn't take itself seriously and then you see what they're offering"....
Mr. Jolkovsky's solution: Replace the Sandler song with a slightly older piece, "Color Candles," released in 1985 and composed by Eli Nathan. The song wistfully creates a portrait of an entire neighborhood candlelit by menorahs placed on the windowsills of assimilated Jewish residents.
"I'm encouraging people to light menorahs in their windows, not hidden in the kitchen or the library someplace," Mr. Jolkovsky said. "The idea of Hanukkah is to publicize the miracle. Most American Jews don't do that."
I've never heard Color Candles, but I daresay there's a reason the Hanukkah Song became a smash hit and it didn't. As someone in the article says, you are never going to get regular Hanukkah songs on mainstream radio. The Hanukkah Song relates to an entire generation of Jews who probably didn't even know how to pronounce the name of the festival before it was released, and it encourages people to identify with other Jews.
But even if you agree the song has no 'kiruv' merit whatsoever, it also does no harm, and surely launching a campaign against it is just one more example of just how humorless some sections of the Orthodox world have become. Not everything has to be serious! Not everything has to be 'on message'! The song is FUNNY! Light(en) up!

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