It’s the Hanukkah present of our dreams!
Actually — just kidding. Even in our dreams, we couldn’t have possibly conceived of a Hanukkah bop like this. Here’s the scoop: The Jewish genius that is Jewish Hamilton star Daveed Diggs released an incredible original Hanukkah song for the Disney Channel. Talk about a Hanukkah miracle!
“Puppy For Hanukkah” premieres tonight (December 4) at 9 p.m. Eastern on the Disney Channel, and will air until December 18, the last day of Hanukkah. Honestly, it is just the perfect Hanukkah song and the perfect Hanukkah video — I’m not here to argue this one, it’s just a fact. It has klezmer, it has hip hop, it has a diverse cast of kids dancing up a storm, it’s funny AF (as fudge! Keeping it PG here), and it’s about puppies. Diggs even reminds us all how to say the Hanukkah blessings, because he’s just that considerate. I don’t know what else a Jewish kid (and parent) could possibly ask for.
Oh wait, I do know! Jokes about getting socks and sweaters for Hanukkah? Check. Dreidels, menorahs and latkes? Duh! Check. Celebrating Hanukkah for being eight whole nights when Christmas is just a paltry one? Check! (Thanks, Daveed, for doing your part to help curb that Christmas envy!) A little “Sevivon, Sov Sov Sov“ remixed in there? Yes, please! The satisfaction of seeing a kid get exactly what they wanted for Hanukkah? Check, check, check. Seriously, this tune makes me feel like I just won the Hanukkah lottery.
OK, so one thing the video doesn’t feature is Diggs himself. Instead, we get the adorably talented Ethan Hollingsworth, 11, and two other young actors and dancers, as stand-ins for young Daveed. They wistfully lip-synch about how much they want a puppy for Hanukkah. They go through each night, hoping their new canine best friend will get emerge from gift-wrapped boxes, only to be met with more knitwear. The video, of course, culminates with the appearance of an adorable puppy emerging from one of the boxes. The kids all look seriously overjoyed, because, um, I mean, look at that puppy. It is just so cute!
Listen, we can’t all get a puppy for Hanukkah, but I’d argue this new tune is better (fewer responsibilities, more pure joy!). This song was written and produced by Diggs (a Grammy and Tony award winner, NBD), in collaboration with his Clipping bandmates William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes. The song also features Max Kaplan on the clarinet and Hal Rosenfeld on the tsimbl and percussion.
“Daveed, William, and Jonathan created a Hanukkah song for the ages that’s inventive, humorous, and relevant as it celebrates the Miracle of Lights, the diverse world we live in, and the universal joy when a family adopts a pet into a child’s life,” said Steven Vincent, the vice president of music and soundtracks for Disney Branded Television in a press release.
“I was honored when Disney Channel approached me to come up with a fresh Hanukkah tune and embraced the opportunity to share my love of music and a little piece of my culture,” said Diggs, who also co-created and starred in Blindspotting, a 2018 movie that will soon be adapted for TV. (Seriously, how accomplished is this guy?!)
Diggs opened up about his Jewish roots in 2015: “I went to Hebrew school, but opted out of a bar mitzvah,” he said. “My mom is a white Jewish lady and my dad is Black. The cultures never seemed separate — I had a lot of mixed friends. When I was young, I identified with being Jewish, but I embraced my dad’s side, too.”
One thing is certain: Diggs sure seems to love Hanukkah. He’s paid the Festival of Lights the best tribute an artist could — an authentic, joyful, diverse celebration that lets kids, both Jewish and non-Jewish, understand how exciting and lovely this holiday is. I’m so grateful a new generation of kids will grow up with this exciting song.
Kol ha’kavod, Daveed. Here’s hoping he might consider making a full Hanukkah album — and then our lives will be complete!