Woody Guthrie’s Happy Joyous Hanukkah
When Woody Guthrie married his (Jewish) wife and decided to raise his kids as Jews, he didn’t know how to teach them about their heritage. So Guthrie started studying with his mother-in-law, the Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt. As she taught him, Guthrie made up songs, both to remind himself what he learned and so he could teach his children. Those songs disappeared for years until Guthrie’s daughter, Nora, found them in 1998. She gave the lyrics to several bands, including the Klezmatics, and asked them to write new music.
“Honeyky Hanukkah” might be our family’s favorite of these songs–it’s goofy and silly and half of the words are made up, and the other half sound like they’re made up, but actually teach a Jewish holiday parable.