When you think of Hanukkah what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Lighting the hanukkiah? Eating traditional holiday foods such as latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts)? Playing the dreidel game? What about the traditional songs – like Ma’oz Tsur (“Rock of Ages”), “I Have a Little Dreidel” and “Hanukkah, O Hanukkah”? All meaningful traditions which make the holiday so special.
Modern Hanukkah songs have come along over the years but on December 3, 1994, it went mainstream when Adam Sandler performed his Hanukkah Song on Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update. The original song was followed up by “Part II” (1999), “Part 3” (2002) and has even more updated versions over the years. Sandler humorously sings about celebrities who he claims (often, though not always correctly) are “Jewish,” “not Jewish,” or “half-Jewish.”
Commonly known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah certainly embraces another name: The Festival of Pop Parodies. As we celebrate Hanukkah this year, Ketubah.com has gone down the rabbit hole of Hanukkah pop parodies and pulled out our top 8 favorites to share with you.
The Fountainheads are a group of young Israeli singers, dancers and musicians who are all graduates and students of the Ein Prat Academy for Leadership.
Now a decade old, the Fountainhead 2010 parody I Gotta Feeling Hanukkah (Black Eyed Peas) can almost be considered a classic in the world of Hanukkah parodies.
Originally formed in 2007 as Yeshiva University’s student vocal group, the Maccabeats have emerged both as a Jewish music and a cappella phenomena, with more than 20 million views on YouTube. Entertaining and inspiring hundreds of audiences worldwide, this unique group of singers is able to connect with fans of all backgrounds and ages.
Here are some Maccabeat Hanukkah parodies we like to sing and dance to, starting with the most recent Candlelight – 2020 (BTS- Dynamites) released just a few days ago.
Pan Fry (Bad Guy by Billie Eilish and Old Town Road by Lil Nas X)
Hasmonean- A Hamilton Chanukah (Lin-Manuel Miranda)
All about that Neis (Meghan Trainor)
Six13 is a six-man a cappella vocal band that is bringing fun and enthusiasm to Jewish music, with nothing but the power of the human voice.
Energetically blending the traditional and the contemporary, Six13 strives to connect Jews around the world with their heritage through music. With band members from varied Jewish denominations and upbringings, the New York City-based group is an international phenomenon with over 15 million views on YouTube
Here are some of our favorite Six13 Hanukkah parodies starting with their most recent:
Arianukah (an ariana grande chanukah).
Bohemian Chanukah (a Queen adaptation)
Watch Me (Spin / Drey-Drey
Matisyahu, born Matthew Paul Miller, is an American Jewish reggae singer, rapper, beatboxer, and alternative rock musician. He is well known for blending Orthodox Jewish themes with reggae, rock and hip hop beatboxing sounds. His well known song Happy Hanukkah was released on November 20, 2012 as a charity song, with all proceeds (during the Hanukkah holiday of that year) donated to Hurricane Sandy Relief charity via The Jewish Federations of North America.
New to the scene of Hanukkah Songs is Daveed Diggs, best known for his starring roles as the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the original cast of the megahit musical “Hamilton,” which also premiered in a recorded stage version on Disney+ this summer. Diggs is Jewish and attended Hebrew school as a kid. Puppy for Hanukkah is a catchy tune about a kid hoping to receive a puppy as a present. The catchy tune is set against a klezmer-style clarinet melody and includes a recitation of the blessing over the menorah (and listen in for other traditional Hanukkah songs thrown in, too) .
Ra’anana-based a cappella group Kippalive began in 2011 as a group of friends singing Shabbat songs together on Friday nights. They started to put their own spin on Shabbat songs just for fun, but it was not long before they caught the attention of the city of Ra’anana with their street performances. Kippalive’s big break happened in 2013 when they competed on Israel’s X Factor and have been doing steady weekend gigs and performances across Israel ever since.
Although not a parody, we love this Hanukkah classic Al HaNisim. This year Kippalive teamed up with the incredible Beit Issie Shapiro – “A truly amazing non-profit and a leader in the field of disabilities. They work to create an inclusive society with equal opportunity for people with disabilities across the globe. Each one these kids were born to shine. Be a light.”
Check out their beautiful original song Be A Light just released a couple of days ago.
They are asking all of us to share this song and help make this world a better place.
Wishing you all a Happy Hanukkah. May you all be surrounded by loved ones (even on zoom), and the joy of music and light as you celebrate and enjoy all of the holiday’s traditions, both old and new.