“Oh, Hanukkah,” as sung by the one and only Jack Black, is simultaneously “metal,” heartfelt, and exciting. What more can one ask for?
Well, turns out, there is something else. You see, the classic Hanukkah song is originally a Yiddish ditty and now, the Hasidic folk duo Rogers Park is bringing out all the beautiful themes of the Yiddish classic and adding some fresh new electronic beats to it.
That’s right, “Oh, Hanukkah” is getting the EDM (that’s electronic dance music) treatment, and it’s so much fun!
The song starts with an upbeat musical intro, and we’re eased in with the first few familiar verses in English, beautifully harmonized. But the song really picks up about a minute in, when the duo switches into Yiddish — the singing is vibrant, loud, and proud.
Mordy Kurtz, a member of the band, tells me they wanted to take an classic and transform it into a song that any Jewish college kid could be proud to play at a party. Really, it’s suitable for parties filled with people of all stripes and ages!
Kurtz was inspired by an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, in which she admits to not knowing “White Christmas” (written by the Jewish Irving Berlin) because she is Jewish. For him, it was a reminder that as Jews, we shouldn’t have to compete with the seasonal onslaught of Christmas music — because we already have so much to offer.
“I think we should know the lyrics to our own songs,” says Kurtz, pointing to our rich tradition of Jewish songs that we should be proud to know.
I don’t know about you, but this song is making me want to learn some Yiddish! Happy Hanukkah!