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'TWAS THE NIGHT
BEFORE HANUKKAH
¸ ¸. ¸.·. ¸· ,.·. .· , ¸. ¸ ¸¸
¸ · _¸ ¸,
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Arthur Gilbert and Oscar Tarcov,
Your Neighbor Celebrates, 1957
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'TWAS
THE NIGHT
BEFORE HANUKKAH
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© Copyright 2012
Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation
New York, NY USA
Printed in Canada
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A Few Words from the Idelsohn Society 5
Mirthful Maccabees by Jenna Weissman Joselit 13
Silent Night by Greil Marcus 19
Songs of Hanukkah 22
Songs of Christmas 25
Acknowledgments 30
Arthur Gilbert and Oscar Tarcov,
Your Neighbor Celebrates, 1957
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Ray Brenner and Barry E. Blitzer,
Have a Jewish Christmas…?, 1967
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A
few years ago, while compiling what became our
release Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of
Black-Jewish Relations, the Idelsohn Society started
dreaming up an early version of the project you now
hold in your hands: a collection of songs that would tell the tale of
Hanukkah through recorded sound. While the archive of Hanukkah
songs was not as deep and varied as we had imagined, much of what
we listened to were true musical treasures: some flled with Jewish
passion and reverie, some jocular, and some hybrids of Hanukkah
tales and games with pop and rock styles. Yet all told a similar story,
of a Jewish people embracing a somewhat minor Jewish holiday and
elevating its importance until it was celebrated with the same vigor
invested in Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover.
But what struck us most during our record and thrift store
searches was the other story that began to unfold with each Hanukkah
tune we considered. While that other winter holiday…Christmas…
produced 10,000 times the amount of musical releases as Hanukkah
releases, many of the songs were also written by Jews and many of
A Few Words from
the Idelsohn Society
“God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and then He gave to Ir-
ving Berlin ‘Easter Parade’ and ‘White Christmas.’ The two holidays
that celebrate the divinity of Christ -- the divinity that’s the very
heart of the Jewish rejection of Christianity -- and what does Irving
Berlin brilliantly do? He de-Christs them both! Easter he turns into
a fashion show and Christmas into a holiday about snow…. He turns
their religion into schlock. But nicely! Nicely! So nicely the goyim
don’t even know what hit ‘em. They love it. Everybody loves it...
-- Philip Roth, Operation Shylock
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the greatest were produced and recorded by Jews. And it was while
discussing that truism during one of our weekly Idelsohn phone
calls, that the real foundation of this release began to be built.
After all, the idea of a Jew celebrating Christmas is nothing
new. Theodor Herzl, the godfather of Zionism, had a Christmas tree.
So did a young Gershom Sholem, the pioneering scholar of Jewish
mysticism. Throughout America, when the end of December rolls
around, Jews don Christmas sweaters, send family Christmas
cards, and snap photos of the kids on Santa’s lap in the middle of
the suburban mall where they do their Christmas shopping for their
Jewish relatives. As Joshua Eli Plaut traces in his book A Kosher
Christmas: ‘Tis the Season to Be Jewish, this has been happening,
with varying degrees of fervor, since the 1870s, when Christmas
went from being a primarily religious, Christian, holiday to being
a fully secular national holiday — a red-and-green festival of gifts,
food, and decorated trees, of reindeers, elves, and sleighs. American
Jews celebrated Christmas not because it was Christian, but because
it was American. “Can the American Jew keep Christmas?,” Rabbi
Solomon Sonneschein asked back in 1883. “I say he can, without in
the least disgracing his religious convictions or interfering with the
building up of a stronger and nobler Judaism.”
Of course, not all American Jews shared that confdence.
As soon as Christmas was declared a national holiday in 1870, the
competitive campaign to beef up Hanukkah — a relatively minor,
unheralded Jewish holiday — went into high gear: not only will we
celebrate Christmas, we will create a rival holiday of our own to cel-
ebrate as well! You have one day of presents, we will have eight nights!
The roots of the reclamation lay in the creative minds of a
small band of New York City-based youths who called themselves
“The American Hebrews.” In the wake of the Civil War when
American popular imagination had been captivated by the twin
obsessions of militarism and masculinity, the Hebrews believed
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the Maccabean themes of Hanukkah ofered the opportunity to
prove they hailed from warrior-stock as much as the next Ameri-
can. They created an ambitious campaign for the “Grand Revival
of the Jewish National Holiday of Chanucka in a manner and
style never before equaled.” Their explicit goal was to rescue this
“national festival from the oblivion into which it seemed rapidly
falling.” After persuading the Young Men’s Hebrew Association to
sponsor a Hanukkah military pageant, the race to build a bigger,
better, stronger holiday was on. The festival was soon replete with
its own Hanukkah songbook. Rabbi Gustav Gottheil kicked it of
“A Reform Jew Figures It Out,” Der Groyser Kundes, 1910.
Caption translation: “This year Christmas and Hanukah occur
at the same time. We saw how a Reform Jew lit the Hanukah
Candles on a Christmas tree. Just like you see in the picture.”
From the Archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research,
New York
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before the turn of the 20th century by giving an Americanized
makeover to an older Hanukkah song, “Ma’oz Tzur,” and turning it
into “Rock of Ages.”
Songs about dreidels, gelt, and candles soon followed.
Yet because Hanukkah songs were never designed to be
national American hits, not one ever cracked the Billboard charts,
and it’s a rare day when you hear “Rock of Ages” piping over the
PA of a department store in the buildup to a Christmas sale. What
you will hear, of course, are Christmas songs — “The Christmas
Song,” “White Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Let
It Snow,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas
Day” — all written by Jews themselves who were having their musi-
cal holiday cake and eating it too: Hanukkah songs for us, Christmas
songs for all of us. If Jews were Americans, and Jews wrote Ameri-
can popular songs (the Great American Songbook you might say is
largely the Great Jewish-American Songbook), then why shouldn’t
Jews write the Christmas songs that everybody sings? Who knows
America better than the Jews? America is a craft, and Jews have
long mastered it, so let it snow.
And then there were the Jewish musical artists who spent part
of their springtime in a recording studio producing Christmas songs
to be ready for release later that year (maybe even showing up late to
a Passover Seder after a long day in the studio!). The biggest Jewish
names in music have at least one Christmas recording in their catalog,
some entire records. Regardless, if the motivation behind these
recordings was around marketing, money-making, sentimentality,
or a simple love for the music, the result was a truly American phe-
nomenon: a category of Christmas music, as sung by Jews, became a
vital part of the holiday fabric.
As a result, when we sat down to imagine this release, it was
clear from the start that putting together a historic compilation of
purely Hanukkah songs would only tell part of the story. The full
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story would require Christmas songs. The full story would require
an exploration of how American Jews used music to negotiate their
place in American national culture. But what to include? With
so many possibilities, our criteria became increasingly specific.
Well-trodden Hanukkah choices like Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah
Song” wouldn’t make the cut, and classic Christmas albums per-
formed by non-Jews but conceived by Jews like one of our favorites,
Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift For You, would probably have to wait
for Volume 2: The Holidays Strike Back (check out Greil Marcus’ essay
here for more on this one). For now, you can fnd both of these, and
other songs that were in the mix, on our website (idelsohnsociety.com),
where we also encourage you to chime in with your own suggestions
for the ultimate December playlist.
As we began collecting and selecting songs, the questions
started to mount: Are the Hanukkah songs the Jewish songs? Or are
the Christmas songs the most Jewish songs of all? Are the Christ-
mas songs proof of full-scale assimilation and Jewish invisibility?
Or, as Philip Roth suggested in Operation Shylock, are they in fact
Jewish covert ops, sonic strikes on gentile America? Our goal with
this compilation is not to answer those questions with dogma or
judgment, but to ofer a soundtrack for considering them. The title
we’ve chosen, ‘Twas The Night Before Hanukkah, is itself a reference
to both the classic 1822 Clement Clarke Moore Christmas poem “A
Visit from St. Nicholas,” and to a track from a 1962 comedy album by
Stanley Adams and Sid Wayne. One holiday is not elevated over the
other. Both are there for the celebrating, and as American Jews have
done for well over a century, we invite you to sing along.
Musically yours,
The Idelsohn Society
Roger Bennett, Courtney Holt, David Katznelson, and Josh Kun
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A Note on Spelling Hanukkah
Hanukkah means rededication.
Although it only has fve letters in the
original Hebrew, there are at least 16
ways to spell it in English, including:
Channuka, Channukah, Chanuka,
Chanukah, Chanuko, Hannuka,
Hannukah, Hanuka, Hanukah,
Hanukkah, Kanukkah, Khannuka,
Khannukah, Khanuka, Khanukah,
Khanukkah, and Xanuka. We have
chosen to spell it Hanukkah, unless
quoting an original source that uses
one of the other ffteen.
From the Archives of the YIVO Institute
for Jewish Research, New York
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Shirley Cohen, Chanukah Music Box, 1951
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Let’s Hear it
for Those Mirthful
Maccabees
Jenna Weissman Joselit

J
udaism is known for many things: discipline and constancy,
say, or high-mindedness and intellection. Mirth does not ap-
pear on anyone’s inventory of characteristics. For centuries, it
was nowhere to be found, at least not until the Americanized
Hanukkah fully came into its own in the 1950s, when putting the mirth
into that age-old holiday became a Jewish communal project. Although
American Jewry’s cultural custodians of the time preferred to speak of
fun and happiness — the word ‘mirth’ probably struck them as a tad old-
fashioned or smacked too much of Christmas — their sustained eforts
at lightheartedness transformed Hanukkah into a major moment on the
American Jewish calendar, giving it a new lease on life.
To be sure, earlier generations of Hanukkah celebrants were not
without a sense of occasion. In late 19th century New York, large scale
holiday spectacles were all the rage. At New York’s Academy of Music
in 1879, 100 cymbal-bearing maidens, along with “Jewish soldiers,
trumpeters, banner bearers, Syrian captives and young women with
harps,” took to the stage in what Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper
called a “grand work of realistic art.” Filling the eye as well as the ear,
the American Hanukkah was initially an exercise in pageantry.
A generation or so later, Hanukkah developed into an op-
portunity to “shower Jewish children with gifts,” or so exhorted
What Every Jewish Woman Should Know, a popular guidebook to
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Jewish ritual celebration. “If ever lavishness in gifts is appropriate,
it is on Hanukkah,” the text told its readers, hastening the holiday’s
transformation from a grand public event into an intimate, domestic
phenomenon centered on exchange. Meanwhile, the commercializa-
tion of Hanukkah and its pleasing association with material things
accelerated further when advertisements in the early 1900s har-
nessed the holiday to the consumption of newfangled food products.
Blending “Chanukah Latkes with Modern Science,” the manufactur-
ers of Crisco, among others, made a point of touting the virtues
of both tradition and modernity. Little wonder, then, that Hanukkah
became more and more attractive to contemporary American audi-
ences. The holiday was increasingly hard to resist.
Still, it was not until the postwar era that Hanukkah really took
of. A number of factors, both domestic and global, came together at the
time to propel the millennial moment into the elevated ranks of popular
American Jewish holidays. For one thing, afuence combined with the
baby boom of the 1950s to generate lots of interest in childhood and its
appurtenances. Against that background, Hanukkah seemed tailor-
made to appeal to kids and their increasingly attentive parents. For
another thing, postwar America was awash in sentiments of “cultural
one-ness,” which granted Jewish forms of religious expression a kind of
parity with Christian ones. The winter holiday of Hanukkah benefted
mightily from that ecumenical spirit even if, at times, it resembled too
closely what one disgruntled American Jewish parent disparaged as
a “competitive winter sport.” More pointedly still, the rise of the State
of Israel, whose embattled latter-day Maccabees saved the day, ofered
yet another incentive — and a highly relevant one, at that — for em-
bracing Hanukkah. Once consigned to the history books, these brave
warriors of yesteryear re-emerged as modern-day heroes.
Music, especially songs and choral works pitched to chil-
dren, was central to the postwar community’s eforts to trumpet
Hanukkah. Sound now fooded the American Jewish home and the
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Hebrew school classroom. Whether commercially released or the
handiwork of Harry Coopersmith, the musical director of the Jew-
ish Education Committee of New York, American Jewish children
were increasingly exposed to Jewish holiday music that was peppy,
up-tempo, and lively, a world away from the “melodically alien” and
doleful cadences of Eastern Europe. As Menorah Records explained
in connection with its album, Chanukah Song Parade, the songs were
Gladys Gewirtz, Chanukah Song Parade, c. 1960s
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chosen “for the sheer fun they provide.” Thanks to its recordings,
as well as those produced by Ktav, and to music anthologies and
songbooks issued by the Jewish Education Committee and the Work-
men’s Circle, Jewish history became something to sing, not just sigh,
about: the woeful gave way to the wondrous. The newly musicalized
Hanukkah lifted the spirits, animated the imagination and helped to
frame the holiday as a giant caper in which candles not only fickered
but danced, latkes leapt about and frolicked in hot oil and Maccabees
marched gaily rather than soldiered on.
The artwork featured on Jewish recordings furthered the
association between fun and festivity. While some album covers re-
mained wedded to a rather static and traditional aesthetic in which
an oversized candelabrum took up most of the picture plane, others
featured a series of pint-sized characters romping freely through
space or holding aloft a banner that read “Chanukah Party.” Still
others drew on a contemporary palette of chartreuse and orange to
enliven the ancient Hebrew characters that spelled out the letters
of Hanukkah or to enhance a backdrop with symbols of the An-
cient Near East. Elsewhere within the visual universe of 45 rpm
singles, youngsters with eager beaver expressions on their faces
whipped up a batch of latkes in the kitchen (oh, what fun!); a young
girl, her wavy brown hair adorned with a cheery red checked bow
that matched her dress, presided over a coterie of smiling candles,
and Dad looked on contentedly in the living room as the members of
his family exchanged presents.
Afability ruled the roost, sonically as well as ceremonially.
The music that emanated from the family’s turntable was pleasing
and accessible, the American Jewish equivalent of easy listening.
Although cantorial renditions of the traditional standards such as
“Ma-oz Tzur” (“Rock of Ages”) could still be found, women’s voices
seemed to vibrate the loudest, especially when it came to the pro-
liferation of brand new, English-language songs such as “Candle
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Dance,” “Let’s Make Latkes,” and “Chanukah Rhythms.” In gentle,
lilting tones that verged on the conversational, Gladys Gewirtz and
other female vocalists encouraged their young listeners to “skip
and dance,” clap their hands, shout “hurray” and pretend to be a
dreidel spinning madly around the room. At once interactive and
instructional, this was music that energized its audience. What’s
more, it demanded little of them. None too complicated or heavily
orchestrated, its sweet, earnest melodies were picked out on a
piano, an accordion or a guitar; now and then, a recorder and a hint
of percussion were added to the mix to give the tunes a suitably
Israeli feel.
As the repertoire of Hanukkah songs expanded, so, too, did
the languages in which it was sung. The holiday’s battery of tunes
catered to virtually every one of American Jewry’s linguistic prefer-
ences. Little by little, cheerful ditties rendered in modern Hebrew
such as “Chanukah, Chag Ya-feh” became increasingly available in
the marketplace, where they introduced American Jewish young-
sters to the patter of Israeli speech and to a smattering of simple
Hebrew words and exclamations. Although outnumbered by English
and Hebrew creations, Yiddish holiday songs held their own,
especially among American Jews committed to yidishkayt and its
cultural universe of afternoon schools and summer camps. Songs
such as “Ikh Bin a Klayner Dreydl” not only nourished a connection
to Yiddish among American born kinder but also kept the language
contemporary, snappy and fresh.
Whatever form it assumed, Hanukkah became known as a
decidedly “happy holiday,” where it was the “custom to give gifts and
to hold merry family and community gatherings.” As malleable as
a ball of clay, the week-long festival generated a sense of well-being
that left its participants feeling good about themselves and Jewish
tradition. “I love latkes,” declared one of the characters in the song,
“Let’s Make Latkes.” “How about you?”
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Barbra Streisand, A Christmas Album, 1967
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Silent Night

by Greil Marcus
P
hil Spector was born in the Bronx in 1940 and lived in New
York City until he was thirteen; you can hear something
of his voice — a thin whine, with a steely, smile-when-you-
say-that glint in the eyes behind it — in Joey Ramone, born
Jefry Hyman in Queens in 1951. Spector’s speaking voice, that is, as,
with “Silent Night” vamping wordlessly behind him, once pronounced
his unctuous tribute to Christmas, Christmas music, the music industry,
and himself on the A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records, the
epochal, Lazarus-like album he released in 1963, just in time for the
assassination of John F. Kennedy. It disappeared, that season; in those
days, no one wanted to celebrate in the unrestrained, all but unlimited
way Spector’s clan of singers had to ofer: the Ronettes, Bobb B. Sox
and the Blue Jeans, the Crystals, most of all Darlene Love, giving
everything to the hugely swinging big beat of “Winter Wonderland,”
“White Christmas,” “The Bells of St. Mary’s,” or “Sleigh Ride.” Since
then, those recordings have been all over the radio every Christmas,
with Love appearing annually on the David Letterman Show to dive all
the way into her track from the album, “Christmas (Baby Please Come
Home)” — written by Spector, Ellie Greenwich and Jef Barry, perhaps
not the best Christmas song every written by American Jews, but far
and away the best record ever made of one.
But this album features not Christmas songs written only by
Jews, or produced only by Jews, or sung only by people who might
or might not have had Jews in their past (there is some evidence that
Elvis Presley, who wore both a crucifx and a Star of David to keep his
bets covered, had a Jewish great-grandmother), so it’s not here. Thus
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we have Mitch Miller’s “White Christmas,” not Bing Crosby’s.
The Ramones’ “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight
Tonight),” from 1989, near the end of their career as New York’s
standard-bearing punk band, is a cartoon. By this time the band’s
bash-bash-bash sound was as kitschy as “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa
Claus.” The video for the number opens with a woman confronting her
layabout Jewish boyfriend as “Jingle Bells” plays dimly in the back-
ground. She’s mad at him because he’s set up a Christmas party for his
family. “What do you think you’re doing?” she screams. “I’m reading A
Christmas Carol,” he screams back. “Oh,” she says with utter disgust,
“since when did you learn to read?” And then it’s of to the races, with
Joey Ramone teasing doo-wop infections through the song as the
couple pummels each other while surrounded by his relatives, who
pay no attention because they’re eating everything in the place. Obvi-
ously they should have gone to a movie and a Chinese restaurant.
No one ever pretended that Hanukkah music took up as
much space in the American imagination as Christmas music — or,
for that matter, in the American Jewish imagination. For one thing,
Hanukkah is not Yom Kippur. For most people singing or writing with
a straight face, it’s not important enough as a holiday to justify music
that reaches for the sublime, the epic, or the soul-killing depths of
John Zorn’s Masada compositions. And, as it’s celebrated, Hanukkah
too is a cartoon, which is why Adam Sandler’s 1994 “The Chanukah
Song,” madly preening over, if not everyone’s favorite American show-
business Jews, defnitely Sandler’s (James Caan, Kirk Douglas, Paul
Newman, Harrison Ford, Goldie Hawn, Ann Landers, Abigail Van
Buren, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, David Lee Roth, and “Tom
Cruise’s agent”), is the best Hanukkah song every written, at least
since the last World War. Why it’s not here I have no idea. But with one
song that is, all of that ceases to matter.
“It’s that good old, intangible, can’t-put-your-fnger-on-it ‘White
Soul,’” Al Kooper — born Kuperschmidt in 1944 in the Bronx — wrote
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in 1968, reviewing the Band’s Music from Big Pink in Rolling Stone,
“like church music or country music or Jewish music”- and the likes of
Yossele Rosenblatt’s 1916 “Yevonim” must have been what he meant.
Rosenblatt was born in the Ukraine in 1882; a cantor before he was
twenty, he reached New York in 1912. Within the Jewish world, he was
a hero; because he would not despoil holy music, he turned down the
chance to sing the Kol Nidre in The Jazz Singer.
In “Yevonim,” a song about the oil that burned for eight days,
the sound is distant, the surviving cylinder worn and scratchy. All of
that adds to the sensation that something precious is being passed
on — something the singers are not sure will make it to the future,
something they might fear will die with them. Women carry the
music frst; then a chorus of men, their voices mufed, join them from
behind. You can see them forming a circle- and then, with the arrival
of Rosenblatt’s big, reaching, demanding, unsatisfable voice, you can
see him appearing out of nowhere in their midst.
It could be a Passover song. It could be a Yom Kippur song, not
a plea but a demand that all sins be erased, because how could God
resist a voice like this? I will write my name in the Book of Life myself!
And yet behind the bravado, behind the fullness of life in Rosenblatt’s
tone, in the singing of the women and men around him, there is a
deadly fatalism; there is terror. There is the specter of the pogrom,
from the Middle Ages to the villages of Rosenblatt’s boyhood and the
childhoods of all of those singing with him, with the certainty, even in
America, of the pogrom to come, even if no one could imagine that it
would be meant to cleanse the earth itself.
What you hear, fnally, is the anonymous singers, all of them
now dead, standing in for the dead who will follow them — all of their
families, left behind. They are the specter of the specter — and that, on
the frst disc of this album, is what you will take away. Even Phil Spector,
whose grandfather carried the name Spekter from Russia, sitting in
his prison cell, listening to this song, knowing it is about him, too.
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Clockwise from top left:
Stanley Adams and Sid Wayne, Chanukah Carols, 1962;
A.W. Binder, Jewish Holidays in Song, c. 1940;
Various Artists, Great Songs of Christmas, 1965;
Moishe Oysher, The Moishe Oysher Chanukah Party, c. 1940
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Gerald Marks: Hanukah
This Michigan-born Tin Pan Alley composer,
pianist and bandleader was best known for
co-writing “That’s What I Want for Christmas”
in 1936 and “All of Me,” which he wrote with
Seymour Simons. That song was recorded by
countless artists including Louis Armstrong,
Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Willie Nelson
and Frank Sinatra. This track, “Hanukah”,
was lesser known and from his later album
The Musical Calendar: Stories of the Jewish
Holidays in Song, released in the 1950s.
Woody Guthrie: Hanukkah Dance
No one croons “Clap your hands, Happy
Hanukky” quite like Woody Guthrie. The
legendary folk artist moved to New York in
1940, eventually settling in Coney Island
with his second wife, Marjorie (Greenblatt)
Mazia. His mother in law, Aliza Greenblatt,
a respected Yiddish poet, introduced Guthrie
to the Jewish community and the singer
crafted a series of Jewish infected songs
on the themes of culture and history which
he recorded for Folkways Records founder,
Moses Asch, in the late 1940s.
Yossele Rosenblatt: Yevonim
Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, born in 1882, was
a cantorial sensation from the age of twelve
in his Ukrainian hometown of Biela Tserkov,
where he developed his signature sobbing
sound. He was eventually lured to New York
City when a Harlem synagogue made him the
world’s highest paid cantor on a salary of over
$5,000 a year. Rosenblatt’s ability to shift
between warm baritone, bright tenor and a
startling falsetto turned services into spec-
tacles, and he was known to coax rounds of
applause from congregants mid-prayer. His
abilities led him frst to Carnegie Hall and
then to the vaudeville circuit. Talking movies
killed his entertainment career and he passed
away in poverty in 1933, his life a symbol of
the confict between the sacred and the pro-
fane, the Jewish and the universal. His 1916
version of the traditional Hanukkah melody
“Yevonim” (“The Greeks”) is a startling tes-
tament to his incomparable vocal abilities.
Cantor David Putterman: Rock of Ages
Known in Hebrew as “Ma’oz Tzur,” this
Hanukkah classic, a perennial children’s
favorite, is usually recited immediately
after the lighting of the menorah. The
words were composed in the 12th or 13th
century Europe, and have, over time, been
set to a variety of melodies. The narrative
recounts the multiple occasions God has
delivered the Jewish people from their
foes and the fifth verse covers the story
of Hanukkah. This 1938 version, from the
YIVO Archives, was performed by legend-
ary Cantor David Putterman (1900-1979)
who hailed from Antapol in Belorussia and
found fame at the Park Avenue Synagogue
in New York City.
The Songs of Hanukkah
and Christmas
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Klezmer Conservatory Band: Klezzifed
Founded in 1980 by multi-instrumentalist
and composer Hankus Netsky, the Klezmer
Conservatory Band have taken the genre to
a series of surprising venues, from A Prairie
Home Companion to Showtime, propelling
the fading tradition back to life in the process.
This vivacious track is from 1989’s holiday
celebration album, Oy Chanukah.
Gladys Gewirtz: A Chanukah Quiz
Gladys Gewirtz was a pioneer in the feld of
Jewish children’s music. After attending Jul-
liard and the Jewish Theological Seminary,
she graduated from Columbia University and
became music director for the frst Camp Ra-
mah in the Conservative Movement’s camp
system. This track was included on the 1960s
album Chanukah Song Parade released on
Menorah Records.
Ella Jenkins: Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel
The creative African-American performer,
Ella Jenkins, began life as a “freelance
rhythm specialist” to become known as “the
frst lady of the children’s folk song.” Born
in St. Louis in 1924, Jenkins has travelled
the world inspiring young audiences to ex-
plore global music. Her career has spanned
32 albums and was capped by the award of a
lifetime achievement Grammy in 2004. This
spare version of prolifc Jewish songster,
Samuel Goldbarb’s 1920 standard, “Dreidel,
Dreidel, Dreidel” appeared on her 1990
Smithsonian Folkways album, And One and
Two, a disc targeted at pre-school and prima-
ry children. Versions of “I’m Going to School
Today” and “Marching to a Harmonica Melo-
dy” co-exist with “Raisins and Almonds” and
“My Little Blue Dreidel.”
Temple B’Nai Abraham of Essex County
Children’s Choir: Svivon Sov Sov Sov
Released on the prolifc Tikva Records label
in the 1950s, this version of the Hebrew chil-
dren’s classic was recorded in Livingston,
New Jersey and features narration by Dr.
Joachim Prinz, the German born rabbi who
dedicated his energies to the Civil Rights
movement. The song, which means “Dreidel,
Spin, Spin, Spin” was written by Levin Kipnis,
a prolifc children’s author and poet who was
born in the Ukrainian city of Ushomir in 1894,
and arrived in Israel in 1913. Kipnis wrote
over 800 stories and 600 poems in Hebrew
and Yiddish, earning the Israel Prize in 1978.
Stanley Adams and Sid Wayne: ‘Twas the
Night Before Chanukah
The American actor and writer, Stanley Ad-
ams, who appeared in over 35 movies and
countless more television shows, was per-
haps best known for playing Cyrano Jones in
Star Trek: The Original Series. Sid Wayne was
a songwriter who became musical director at
CBS, creating countless soundtracks for day-
time game shows. The liner notes of the duo’s
1962 album, Chanukah Carols, claims to be
“a hilarious, legendary, revision of Jewish
American humor,” in which “the listener will
once again be able to recapture the beauty,
warmth and laughter of a fast disappearing
era, when Chicken Soup was King, and Potato
‘kugel’ was the staf of life!”
Flory Jagoda: Ocho Kandelikas
Flory Jagoda is a Sephardic Jew born in Sara-
jevo, Bosnia, who learned Balkan Jewish folk
traditions and Ladino songs from her grand-
mother. After moving to the United States af-
ter the Second World War, she dedicated her
life to preserving the generational memory
of Ladino folklore and culture. The music has
Spanish roots but the rhythms are Balkan,
soaked up from the surrounding areas of Tur-
key, Greece and Bosnia. The 1983 counting
song “Ocho Kandelikas,” which means Eight
Little Candles in Ladino, was written by Jag-
oda in the style of the compositions she heard
during her upbringing.
27
Mickey Katz: Grandma’s Dreidel
Mickey Katz is perhaps best known as the
musical comedian behind rambunctious
and hilarious Yinglish parodies of 1950s pop
songs like “Duvid Crockett,” “Haim Afen
Range,” and “Don’t Let the Schmaltz Get in
Your Eyes.” But on occasion the deft Cleve-
land clarinetist schooled in jazz and klezmer
styles played it (somewhat) straight, most no-
tably on his 1958 Capitol release Mickey Katz
Plays Music For Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs,
and Brisses. This languid, slow-stomp ode to
“Grandma’s Dreidel,” one of his few Hanuk-
kah themed compositions, penned by Katz
and his pianist Nat Farber not only proves
Katz’s clarinet chops but is a showcase for
violinist Bennie Gill and the trumpet skills of
Ziggy Elman and Mannie Klein.
Debbie Friedman: The Latke Song (live)
Friedman was an American folk musician
and composer who fused Jewish texts to con-
temporary folk-inspired melodies. Known as
“the Joan Baez of Jewish song,” her melodies
became omnipresent in synagogues around
the world. Before her untimely death in 2011,
she recorded over 20 albums and sold half a
million copies. Although much of her music
was politically progressive and strongly femi-
nist, “The Latke Song,” from her 1998 album,
Miracles and Wonders, is happy being full of
the giddy confection of ritual wonder.”
The Klezmatics: Hanukah Tree
Pioneers of the Klezmer resurgence, the
Klezmatics, formed in 1986, have released
ten albums including the Grammy-winning,
Wonder Wheel, in which the band set a dozen
previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyr-
ics to music. In 2006, Guthrie’s daughter
Nora asked the band to repeat the process
with a set of lost Hanukkah songs she had
recovered eight years earlier. The album,
Woody Guthrie’s Happy Joyous Hanukkah,
was the result.
Shirley Cohen: Maccabee March
Shirley Cohen was a teacher supervising Jew-
ish preschools in New York City who had a
side-career as singer, recording three albums
of Jewish holiday songs for children. Her
1951 album, Chanukah Music Box on Kinor
Records, claimed to be “the frst Chanukah
record designed primarily as a participation
record. It’s purpose is to encourage the ac-
tive participation of young children through
singing and dramatization. With a little en-
couragement from you, your child will do all
of the things he hears sung on the record. In
this way, the holiday will become a real and
enjoyable experience.”
Sol Zim: Mo’Oz Tsur
Born of fve generations of cantors, Sol
Zim’s lung-busting artistry, interpretive
skills and awe-inspiring productivity have
left an indelible mark on the Jewish musi-
cal world and provided it with some its most
spectacular record covers. The liner notes
of this 1979 Zimray Productions release,
The Joy of Chanukah proclaim the disc to
be “Sol Zim’s gift of music to the Festival
of Lights.”
Don McLean: Dreidel
The American singer-songwriter will forever
be known for “American Pie” and “Vincent,”
but this 1972 song, the loopy “Dreidel,” was
his follow up single from that chart topping
album. “Dreidel” made it to number 21 on the
Billboard charts. The jaunty composition be-
lies the dark tinged lyrics in which McLean
examines the confusion of modern living,
which, he complains, leaves him feeling like
“a spinning top or a dreidel.” Critic Robert
Christgau was damning of the tune writing,
“more dreck from your unfriendly doomsay-
ing hitmaker. Question: Why does he say ‘I
feel like a spinnin’ top or a dreidel’ without
explaining how a dreidel difers from a spin-
ning top?”
28
Jeremiah Lockwood, Ethan Miller, and
Luther Dickinson: Dreidel
Jeremiah Lockwood is one of the most
interesting and inspiring talents of this
generation, having been both mentored
on guitar by bluesman Carolina Slim and
deeply inspired by his grandfather, can-
ter Jacob Koningsberg. As leader of Sway
Machinery and player in Balkan Beat
Box, Lockwood has created truly unique,
otherworldly, Jewish sounds. When the
Idelsohn Society produced a Hanukkah
event at our Tikva Records pop-up store
in 2011- the first of its kind- Lockwood was
paired with Southern slide guitar virtuoso
Luther Dickinson, of the North Mississippi
All-Stars and The Black Crowes, and Ethan
Miller, lead singer of The Howlin Rain and
Comets On Fire. The trio combined the
Jewish soul of Lockwood, the Southern
gris-gris of Dickinson and the New Weird
American sounds of Miller and created a
signature version of Dreidel Dreidel that
is truly both Jewish and American, link-
ing musically the Maccabees to the Mardi
Gras Indians. Dreidel, dreidel…iko iko.

Lou Reed: Holiday I.D.
When Lou Reed sings about Christmas,
the results are not typically mirthful.
There was Christmas’ appearance in the
sleepless solitude and hospital visits of
“All Through The Night,” and on “Xmas in
February,” the tree was full of body bags
and unemployment left from the Vietnam
War. So it’s nice to hear him as warm as a
belly full of eggnog on this brief holiday
greeting that appeared on the 1988 War-
ner Brothers promotional album, Winter
Warnerland.
The Ramones: Merry Christmas (I Don’t
Wanna Fight Tonight)
The frst time Joey Ramone sings the words
“Merry Christmas” there’s a growl in his
voice, like it’s a threat, not a pledge of holiday
cheer. But the more he sings it, the more we
hear his ache, the more it becomes closer to a
passive aggressive apology, an earnest hope
that the bickering and heart breaking can be
put on hold long enough for the Christmas
presents to be opened. Recorded for The
Ramones’ 1989 album Brain Drain, the song
shows that the Jewish kid born as Jefry Ross
Hyman in Forest Hills, Queens (whose tomb-
stone bears both a Star of David and a music
note) knew a thing or two about the domes-
tic blow-ups that Christmas is another word
for. “Where is Santa?” Ramone croaks, “At
his sleigh? Tell me why is it always this way?
Where is Rudolph? Where is Blitzen, baby?”
The band’s video for the song, which also fea-
tures a Rabbi as a Christmas Eve guest, ofers
one answer: Santa is in the bathroom, puking
into a toilet bowl.
Mel Tormé: The Christmas Song
The music to the Christmas song, the song
that’s as close to being a Christmas sweater
that a song can get, was written in 1944 by Mel
Tormé, the Chicago son of Russian Jewish im-
migrants (Bob Wells was responsible for the
roasting chestnuts and the nose nipped by
frost). It’s the most performed Christmas song
of all time and was frst recorded in 1946 by
the Nat King Cole Trio, who went on to record
it three more times. Tormé himself recorded
it four times (this version from 1955), includ-
ing an extra wintry version that appeared on
Christmas Songs, his sole Christmas album
that he waited until 1992 to record.
Bob Dylan: Little Drummer Boy
It’s not surprising that Bob Dylan recorded a
Christmas album. What’s surprising is that
it took him so long. Dylan’s relationship to
29
his Jewishness has always been in fux — a
small-town bar mitzvah boy, a born again
Christian, an observant pilgrim at the
Wailing Wall, a surprise star of a Chabad
telethon — but his 2009 Christmas in the
Heart didn’t come of as commentary, cri-
tique, or satire. It was an earnest yuletide
ode to the carolers and church bells he
grew up hearing as a kid in Minnesota, full
of songs that, as Dylan has said, were “part
of my life, just like folk songs.”
Theo Bikel: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
In the early days of Elektra Records, the
legendary label was often known as “the
House that Theo Built.” On his 18th album
for Elektra, 1967’s Songs of the Earth, the
polyglot Jewish folksinger, activist, actor,
and co-founder of the Newport Folk Festival,
teamed up with New York women’s choral
group The Pennywhistlers. Bikel called their
approach to Eastern European vocal music
“the closest to the real thing in authenticity
in the United States.” Bikel takes the lead
on their harpsichord and fute-futtered ver-
sion of Jim Friedman’s “Sweetest Dreams Be
Thine,” a Christmas favorite praising “the
new-born king,” delivered in the bilingual
Hebrew and English mix that Bikel had be-
come famous for.
Richard Tucker: O Little Town of Bethlehem
The greatest archive of 1960s and 70s Christ-
mas pop songs just might lie somewhere in
fle cabinets of the Goodyear Tire company.
From 1967 to 1977, Goodyear (with help
from Columbia Records) released 17 albums
of Christmas songs that featured everyone
from Barbra Streisand and Mahalia Jackson
to John Davidson and the New York Philhar-
monic. The ffth installment, which sold for
just a dollar in Goodyear stores, was issued
in 1965 and included this Richard Tucker
rendition of the 19th century carol that put
Jesus’ hometown in the pop spotlight. Tucker
began his career as a cantor (most notably at
the Brooklyn Jewish Center) but like so many
of his peers he straddled the synagogue with
the concert hall. By 1965, he was a confrmed
opera crossover voice, as at home singing
Puccini as he was “Kol Nidre” and, well,
Christmas songs for a tire company.
Ray Brenner and Barry E. Blitzer et al:
The Problem
Jews celebrating Christmas may be no
joke, but it was turned into serious comic
fodder on the 1967 album Have a Jewish
Christmas…?, which put a Frosty the Snow-
man Star of David on its cover. Written
by Ray Brenner and Barry E. Blitzer and
recorded “live in Hollywood” with a cast
of TV and Hollywood regulars (Lennie
Weinrib, Benny Rubin, Christine Nelson,
among them) the series of vignettes cov-
ered everything from Christmas cards
to Christmas machers but never strayed
from the (real) Jewish question: “If Santa
Claus is true, his joy is fun for everyone,
but what’s a Jew to do?”
Dinah Shore: The Twelve Days of Christmas
At the end of 1941, a Tennessee born
daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants
hosted an episode of her own national
NBC radio show that she titled “A Merry
American Christmas.” It began with her
singing a song of the same name that de-
clared “it’s Christmas time in the land of
liberty.” Dinah Shore was a frequent am-
bassador of Christmas pop, whether it was
her recordings of “The Merry Christmas
Polka” and “We Need a Little Christmas”
or the mistletoe hit parade she covered on
her 1954 Chevrolet Christmas Show. Shore
could swing when she wanted to but for the
1965 Goodyear LP, she delivered a defer-
ential, if often stiff as a turtleneck, version
of this famous piece of look-what-I-got-for-
Christmas braggadocio.
30
Benny Goodman: Santa Claus Came
in the Spring
In 1955, Benny Goodman performed “Jingle
Bells” on a national NBC radio broadcast.
That same year, the swing king clarinet-
ist who took his frst lessons at a Chicago
synagogue recorded this version of Johnny
Mercer’s “Santa Claus Came in the Spring”
as a single for the Bluebird label. The song
was written for the RKO flm To Beat The
Band and was an early example of just how
secularized Christmas had already become
in the American pop vernacular. Far from a
religious holiday, Christmas was climate and
folklore- snow, sleigh bells, and reindeer, not
holy nativity. “Santa Claus came when the
skies were blue,” Joe Harris sings over Good-
man’s nimble big band, “And now it’s Christ-
mas ev’ry day.” The son of God was no com-
petition for Santa.
Larry Harlow: El Dia de la Navidad
This is the closest that the Brooklyn-born pia-
nist, salsa great, and Santeria devotee Larry
Harlow (the Lawrence Ira Kahn who became
known as “El Judio Maravilloso”) ever came
to recording a Christmas song. Featuring leg-
endary Puerto Rican salsa singer Cheo Feli-
ciano on vocals, “El Dia de la Navidad” was
tucked into the opening scenes of Hommy, a
historic attempt by Harlow and his Fania re-
cords colleagues to turn The Who’s Tommy
into the frst-ever salsa opera. In the song, the
deaf, dumb, and blind kid who plays a mean
conga faces early rejection from neighbor-
hood kids on Christmas day. The opera was
performed live at Carnegie Hall in 1973 and
recorded later that year.
Danny Kaye: O Come All Ye Faithful
In 1954, Danny Kaye starred alongside Bing
Crosby in White Christmas, the second fea-
ture flm built around Irving Berlin’s hit song
(Holiday Inn was the frst). Crosby sang it
in White Christmas, but just over ten years
later, Kaye—born to Ukrainian immigrants in
Brooklyn as David Kaminsky—had grown into
Christmas pop’s leading court jester, respon-
sible for both the perky “A Merry Christmas
at Grandmother’s House (Over the River and
Through the Woods)” and the lisp-tacular “All
I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,”
both duets with The Andrews Sisters. You
could hear his teenage Catskills training on
both of those numbers, but for his Goodyear
take on this evergreen 13th century hymn,
Kaye reigned in his elasticity and played it
close to the sacred vest.
Eddie Cantor: The Only Thing I Want
For Christmas
Recorded in 1939, this socially-conscious
WWII Christmas ode performed by Broad-
way, radio, and flm star Eddie Cantor turns
the holiday’s consumer blitz on its head. He
wants less, not more. “There’s a lot of unhap-
piness in the world today,” Cantor says at one
point, interrupting the coos of his back-up
singers, “but we still have peace over here. In
this country, we really have Christmas 365
days each year.” The song was written by Vick
Knight, Johnny Lange, and Lew Porter. Can-
tor-- born Edward Israel Iskowitz to Russian-
Jewish immigrants in New York-- delivers its
message with a subtlety and restraint he’s not
usually known for: the gifts that matter most
(family, friends, “loving arms”) don’t come
wrapped in a ribbon and bow.
Sammy Davis Jr.: It’s Christmas All
Over the World
Broadway writer Hugh Martin penned this
rarely recorded ode to Christmas interna-
tionalism (the discography of his “Have
Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” however
is a mile long). Sammy Davis Jr. was one of
the few to take it on, maybe because its poly-
glot jet setting ft easily within his winking
Rat Pack sensibility. After he converted to
Judaism in the late 1950s (inspired by both
31
a car accident and a chat with Eddie Cantor),
Davis told Ebony Magazine, “I became a Jew
because I was ready and willing to under-
stand the plight of a people who fought for
thousands of years for a homeland, giving
their lives and bodies, and fnally gaining
that homeland.” Davis knew that becoming a
Jew also meant recording Christmas songs.
He was named B’Nai Brith’s Man of the Year
the very same year he recorded “It’s Christ-
mas Time All Over the World.”
The Ames Brothers: I Got a Cold
for Christmas
The more familiar Three Stooges version of
this beloved slice of yuletide novelty played it,
as you would expect, for obvious laughs (sing-
ing with a plugged-up nose, for example). The
more staid, serious 1957 version by the four
Ukrainian Jews from Massachusetts better
known as The Ames Brothers, included on
their popular There’ll Always Be A Christmas
LP, almost turned it into a blues. Though they
keep their vocal arrangements locked in the
vanilla croons that made them 1950s princes of
polite pop, there’s a creeping sadness beneath
the sheen. When they sing this line straight,
“All the other girls and boys, ran downstairs to
get their toys, but all I did was sneeze and snif,
and use my Christmas handkerchief,” it’s hard
not to feel their pain.
Eddie Fisher: Christmas Eve in
My Hometown
Between 1950 and 1956, Eddie Fisher, another
Russian-Jewish immigrant son turned nation-
al teen idol, had 35 songs on the Top 40 charts.
This one-of, string-swept slice of Main Street,
USA holiday nostalgia — originally written by
two former NBC pageboys Stan Zabka and
Don Upton — never got that far, but it didn’t
matter. Fisher had already released the 10” al-
bum Christmas With Eddie Fisher, and would
later record the full-length Mary Christmas in
1965, the same year he issued the frst com-
mercial recording of the Fiddler on the Roof
shtetl showstopper, “Sunrise, Sunset.”
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass:
Jingle Bells
On the frst ten mega-selling Tijuana Brass
albums, Jewish Los Angeleno trumpeter
Herb Alpert had mostly posed as either a
bullfghter or a mariachi (or in one case, as
Beethoven), but it wasn’t until 1968’s Christ-
mas Album that he traded the sombreros
and charro pants for a Santa Claus hat and a
fake beard. The album included a take on the
classic Mexican birthday sing-a-long “Las
Mañanitas,” but it was mostly loaded with
Anglo holiday classics like “Jingle Bells,” all
delivered in the “south of the border,” marim-
bas-and-trumpets trappings that by then the
Tijuana Brass had become synonymous with.
Alpert’s version makes sure that we keep mis-
taking a 19th century song originally written
for Thanksgiving for the ultimate soundtrack
to a Christmas sleigh ride.
Mitch Miller: White Christmas
Mitch Miller didn’t include Irving Berlin’s
transformation of the birth of Christ into a
song about snow and sleigh bells (for a movie
about army buddies) on his frst Christmas
album, Christmas Sing-Along with Mitch.
But it did show up on his second, the double
album Holiday Sing Along With Mitch, which
featured the ever-goateed Miller doing a poor
Santa impression on its cover. Don’t let the
title fool you: by “holiday,” Miller meant rein-
deers and boughs of holly. He meant Christ-
mas, not Hanukkah. Like Berlin, Miller was of
Russian-Jewish stock, the son of a seamstress
and an ironworker but instead of songwriting,
Miller became a performer (his much-paro-
died sing-a-longs on national TV were mass
media staples) and became a music industry
titan at Columbia Records, where he was one
of the most infuential A&R men in the history
of 20th century American popular music.
32
Mastered by: Gary Hobish at A. Hammer Mastering, San Francisco
Designed by: Studio Ours
Produced by: The Idelsohn Society: Roger Bennett, Dana Ferine, Courtney Holt,
David Katznelson, and Josh Kun
Cover photo: Courtesy of Maya Benton. Photograph by Ralph Walters for the
Chicago Sun-Times, dated December 25, 1959.
Copyright clearance and licencing by Brooke Wentz, The Rights Workshop
Acknowledgements
The Idelsohn Society also wishes to thank: Jenna Weissman Joselit, Greil Marcus, Seymour
Stein, Brooke Berman and The Rights Workshop, Eddy Portnoy, Lorin Sklamberg and Jesse
Aaron Cohen at the YIVO Archives, the Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University,
The Amazing Maya Benton, Rachel Levin, Yoav Schlesinger, Scott Belsky, Greg Clayman, Ben
Elowitz, Kate Frucher, Jeremy Goldberg, Julie Hermelin, Jed Kolko, Samantha Kurtzman-
Counter, Steven Rubenstein, Jill Soloway, Anne Wojcicki, Amelia Klein, Shane Hankins,
Melissa McCullough, Maria Arsenieva, and all at Reboot, Jennifer Gorovitz, Jef Farber,
Dana Corvin, Alan Rothenberg, Debbie Findling, Shana Penn, Adam Hirschfelder, Danielle
Foreman, Rebecca Popell, Samson, Ber, Zion, and Oz Bennett, Marouane Fellaini and David
Moyes, Samuel Holt, Kaya Katznelson, Cecilia Bastida, Matthew Johnson, Birdman Recording
Group, Dan Schifrin and all the CJM, Gary Hobish, Barb Bersche, Marco and Anne Cibola at
Studio Ours, Cam and everyone at Polar Bear Productions, Steven Greenberg, Regina Joskow
at Missing Piece Group, and Steven Smith of Nerd Elite Design.
Extra special thanks to the American Hebrews, Judah the Maccabee, and Father Christmas.
Der Groyser Kundes, 1921. Reb Hanukah carrying
a bag of Hanukah gelt. Santa carrying a bag of
Christmas presents. Caption below: “Both at once:
‘Go away. It’s my week.’” From the Archives of the
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York
33
The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preserva-
tion is an all-volunteer-run organization. We
are a core team from the music industry and
academia who passionately believe Jewish
history is best told by the music we have loved
and lost. In order to incite a new conversation
about the present, we must begin by listening
anew to the past.

We do this in a number of ways: by re-
releasing lost Jewish classic albums and the
stories behind them; building a digitally-based
archive of the music and the artists who
created it in order to preserve their legacy
for future generations; curating museum
exhibits that showcase the stories behind the
music; and creating concert showcases which
bring our 80- and 90-year-old performers
back onstage to be re-appreciated by the
young audiences they deserve. All of this
work is driven by the passion and energies of
our volunteer supporters and donors across
the country, who share the belief that music
creates conversations otherwise impossible in
daily life.

The Idelsohn Society would love to hear any
memories you have of any of our other artists.
Be in touch at www.idelsohnsociety.com and
see our other albums and gift cards at
www.idelsohnsociety.com. Follow us on
Twitter@idelsohnsociety.
The Idelsohn Society is helmed by Roger
Bennett, Dana Ferine, Courtney Holt, David
Katznelson and Josh Kun, and supported
by the thousands of individuals who have
mailed in their vinyl records, shared their
stories, and attended our events.

The Idelsohn Society is a 501c3 nonproft
dependent on the support of those who
believe in our mission. Make a donation at
www.idelsohnsociety.com.

We are grateful to the following
organizations for their critical support:

The Casden Institute for the Study of the
Jewish Role in American Life
Contemporary Jewish Museum
Jewish New Media Innovation Fund
Jim Joseph Foundation
The Koret Foundation
Kroll Family Foundation
Nextbook/Tabletmag.com
Reboot
Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund
Righteous Persons Foundation
San Francisco Jewish Community Federation
Skirball Cultural Center
The Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and
Culture
34
Various Artists
Songs for the Jewish-American Jet Set: The
Tikva Records Story 1950-1973
This album is a curated collection of the
best of Tikva Records, the fagship inde-
pendent Jewish record label of 20th century
America. Featuring tracks from Leo Fuld,
Leo Fuchs, Martha Schlamme, Marty Levitt,
and many others. RSR 019
Various Artists
Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of
Black-Jewish Relations
A groundbreaking fifteen-track compila-
tion of black artists covering Jewish songs,
exploring the myriad ways that Jews and
African-Americans have coalesced and
clashed, struggled against each other, and
struggled alongside each other. Featuring
tracks from Nina Simone, Jimmy Scott, Billie
Holiday, Johnny Mathis, and others. RSR 018

Juan Calle and His Latin Lantzmen
Mazeltov Mis Amigos
Latin legends Ray Barretto, Charlie Palmieri
and Clark Terry walk into a recording studio
and cut this iconic album resounding Jewish
classics into Latin time. RSR 017
CHECK OUT OUR OTHER CLASSICS AVAILABLE AT WWW.IDELSOHNSOCIETY.COM:
The Barry Sisters
Our Way
Swinging songs such as “Raindrops Keep
Falling On My Head” and “My Way” trans-
lated and improved into perky Yiddish by
this legendary sister act. RSR 008

Various Artists
Jewface
Remastered from wax cylinders, giants of
vaudeville, including Irving Berlin, show-
case lost classics, featuring “When Mose
with His Nose Leads the Band”. RSR 004

Fred Katz
Folk Songs for Far Out Folk
The long-coveted 1959 jazz classic — back by
popular demand. RSR 007

Rocking Idelsohn Cards
For every occasion, an Idelsohn card! These
cards showcase some of our favorite album
covers and celebrate events both major and
minor, from bar mitzvahs and weddings to
good old-fashioned happiness. And check
our line of Hanukkah cards featuring some
of the album covers in this book.
35
Arthur Gilbert and Oscar Tarcov,
Your Neighbor Celebrates, 1957
36
Gerald Marks: Hanukah
Woody Guthrie: Hanukkah Dance
Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt: Yevonim
Cantor David Putterman: Rock of Ages
Klezmer Conservatory Band: Klezzifed
Gladys Gewirtz: A Chanukah Quiz
Ella Jenkins: Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel
Temple B’Nai Abraham of Essex County Children’s Choir: Svivon Sov Sov Sov
Stanley Adams and Sid Wayne: ‘Twas the Night Before Chanukah
Flory Jagoda: Ocho Kandelikas
Mickey Katz: Grandma’s Dreidel
Debbie Friedman: The Latke Song
The Klezmatics: Hanukah Tree
Shirley Cohen: Maccabee March
Sol Zim: Mo’Oz Tsur
Don McLean: Dreidel
Jeremiah Lockwood, Ethan Miller, and Luther Dickinson: Dreidel

Lou Reed: Holiday I.D.
The Ramones: Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight)
Mel Tormé: The Christmas Song
Bob Dylan: Little Drummer Boy
Theo Bikel: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
Richard Tucker: O Little Town of Bethlehem
Ray Brenner and Barry E. Blitzer: The Problem
Dinah Shore: The Twelve Days of Christmas
Benny Goodman: Santa Claus Came in the Spring
Larry Harlow: El Dia de la Navidad
Danny Kaye: O Come All Ye Faithful
Eddie Cantor: The Only Thing I Want For Christmas
Sammy Davis Jr.: It’s Christmas All Over the World
The Ames Brothers: I Got a Cold for Christmas
Eddie Fisher: Christmas Eve in My Hometown
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass: Jingle Bells
Mitch Miller: White Christmas
www.idelsohnsociety.com
© Copyright 2012
Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation

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