What Would Jesus Do? (Hint: He was Jewish)
There you are, snuggled up under a blanket in your favorite jammies. The fireplace is casting enchanting shadows on the wall – or for those less privileged, the fireplace loop on YouTube is streaming remarkably smooth. The stockings, branded with each family members’ name, hang patiently on the wall, waiting for Christmas day. Towering over the rest of the decorations – the Christmas tree, adorned with ornaments. You take a sip of your steaming hot holiday drink of choice and feel the peace of winter break wash over you. This is perfect, you think to yourself…
Ever so slowly, a bubbling arises from the inner most part of your bowels. You try to fight the uneasy feeling that you are forgetting something. What could you have? Everything is picture perfect! You desperately try to find the source of your unease. The Spotify Christmas playlist streaming from your laptop – the one you created from Danielle’s top 5 Christmas albums article – is now a distant lull as your mind begins to whirl. The bubbling has made its way to your chest; you can feel it closing in around your heart.
Then it hits you: HANUKKAH!!!!!!!!!!!
Your millennial politically-correct spider-sense finally kicks in. Between finishing your 8-week course finals and decorating the house, you have completely wiped the sensitivity of other cultures and lifestyles from your mind! But fear not, my dear collegiate friends, I have just what you need to scratch that Happy-Holiday-Itch. Here are the top 5 Hanukkah albums to listen to this Christmas season! Feel free to use it to soothe the cognitive dissonance that comes from ignoring the holiday that our savior, Jesus Christ, celebrated. Enjoy!
“Erran Baron Cohen Presents: Songs in the key of Hanukkah” by Erran Baron Cohen
I didn’t put these albums in order of best to worst, but this is a great one to start with. It’s the equivalent of an appetizer sampler for Hanukkah music. It will give you the variety of styles that Jewish artists create their music in: Salsa, HipHop/Rap, Chill Acoustic, Alt-Pop – all with a Middle Eastern twist. Once you hear your favorite, you can follow that trail to find more of that genre!
“Hanukkah” by Jon Simon
I recently delved into jazzy Christmas music instead of sticking to my usual playlist (Mariah and prepubescent Bieber… no shame). Hanukkah by Jon Simon is filled with beautiful instrumental pieces that are perfect for reading or downtime with family. Relax like you would with Christmas jazz… The only difference is it’ll be Jewish!
“The Chanukkah Collection” by Six13
We all know that no winter holiday is complete without a cappella music. The Chanukkah Collection is basically Straight no Chaser meets Judaism. They kick off their album with “Chanukkah,” which is a rendition of good ol’ T-Swift’s “Shake It Off,” and keep that momentum going with “A Hamilton Hanukkah,” a mash-up of several Hamilton tracks describing the history of Judah Maccabee instead of Alexander Hamilton. Finally, near the end of the album they have “Watch Me (Spin / Drey Drey)” – “Watch Me Whip” meets “Hotline Bling.” Need I say more?
“Hanukkah Swings” by Kenny Ellis
But! What if you’re not in the mood for jazz, due to Wednesday night Swing Club withdrawals? Not a problem! Hanukkah Swings is compilation of big-band swing music mixed with Hanukkah topics and Jewish culture. Perfect to get any swinger swinging.
“HipHop Hanukkah: The Best of Jewish Rap” by Various Artists
Yes, you did read that right. One of the key points of Hanukkah – and Jewish culture in general – is singing, dancing, and celebrating with family. These dope beats will be sure to get you out of your seat to holla at your homies! #WordYo
There you have it! The top 5 albums that will fulfill your culture fix. Have fun celebrating Christmas – but don’t be afraid to branch out! Share these albums with your friends! Or show off to prove that you’re more cultured. It’s up to you.
Joél Casanova is a Staff Writer for The Daily Runner.