Dec 20 2011
ABSOLUTELY the best Hanukkah song, written by the Senior Senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch, a Mormon. Go figure!
Some of the world’s most popular Christmas songs, including ‘White Christmas’ by Irving Berlin, were written by Jews, so it’s only fitting that a Mormon would write what has become my all time favorite Hanukkah song. Enjoy!
The Atlantic Hatch said he hoped his song would be understood not only as a gift to the Jewish people but that it would help bring secular Jews to a better understanding of their own holiday. “I know a lot of Jewish people that don’t know what Hanukkah means,” he said. Jewish people, he said, should “take a look at it and realize the miracle that’s being commemorated here. It’s more than a miracle; it’s the solidification of the Jewish people.”
Hatch himself, who sang background vocals wears a mezuzah under his shirt, and like many Mormons, is something of a philo-Semite. Though he is under no illusions about Jewish (left wing) political leanings in America, he likes Barbra Streisand very much, but is very sure she doesn’t like him. Hatch possesses a heartfelt desire to reach out to Jews.
Of course, the Hanukkah story doesn’t belong merely to Jews. Judah Maccabee is a hero to many Christians: If there had been no Judah, Judaism might have disappeared; no Judah and no Judaism would have meant no Jesus.
The song’s producer, Peter Bliss, hired a delightful singer named Rasheeda Azar, who was not only a back-up vocalist for Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson but is a Syrian-American from Terre Haute, Indiana. Rasheeda’s participation closes a circle of sorts, since the Syrian King Antiochus was, of course, the antagonist in the story of the Maccabean revolt.
And no Judah would have meant no Mormon senator in a studio with an Arab singer and a bunch of New York Jewish background vocalists recording a Hanukkah song of his own making. To my mind, at least, this counts as a minor American miracle.