Updated November 2018
Adam Sandler’s The Chanukah Song is popular with Jewish people for many reasons. While Christmas music is played everywhere in malls, on radio stations and in doctors office‘s during the holiday season, there are no Hanukkah songs to add to the mix. Adam Sandler’s The Chanukah Song fills in a much needed void-one that I Had a Little Dreidel simply does not fill.
Many of the most popular and beloved Christmas songs were written by Jewish songwriters. Most of these well known composers were trying to assimilate into American society and separate themselves from their first generation immigrant parents. For example:
White Christmas was written by Irving Berlin
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was written by Johnny Marks
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow was co-authored by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne
Silver Bells was written by Livingston and Evans
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) was composed by Mel Torme
While these are all very beautiful songs that stand the test of time in American culture, none of these Jewish artists wrote a popular Hanukkah song. While they were trying to run away from their Jewish roots, Adam Sandler embraced them.
Image from Pixabay and altered by the author in Canva
Even some of the best selling Christmas albums of all time were performed or played by Jewish artists:
Kenny G - Miracles
Barbara Streisand - A Christmas Album
Barry Manilow - Because it's Christmas
Neil Diamond - A Cherry Cherry Christmas
Bette Midler - Cool Yule
Talented Jews sing Christmas classics, but where is an album with Jewish holiday songs? This is a reason why The Chanukah Song is popular among Jewish people during the Christmas season. It is a song for our holiday. While Chanukah is minor in significance on the Jewish calendar, it does take place during the same season.
It is hard for people to understand the alienation Jewish kids feel when they have to explain over and over again why they do not have lights or a Christmas tree. Adam Sandler grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, with almost no other Jewish kids. He lived it, which was one of the inspirations for writing this funny little ditty.
This movie was inspired by Adam Sandler's childhood.
The Very First Song of the Trilogy
Another reason this song is popular with Jewish people is because it lists those artists in movies, television, sports and music who are also Jewish. In the past, most show business performers changed their Jewish sounding names because they were deemed “too ethnic” and would not be embraced by Middle America. It delighted Jewish people to find out that some of these Hollywood icons were one of their own!
Here is Part 2
Warning- a few cuss words in this version!
Also, many artists do not embrace their religion or discuss it in public, no matter what religion they practice. This song “outed” many these people and brought their Jewish identity to light. In fact, the original song led to two other sequels, but the one that is the most popular is the first version of the song.
Finally, Part 3!
The bells may jingle and the chestnuts will roast in front of an open fire, but Adam Sandler’s The Chanukah Song will remain a popular one for Jewish people.