Wednesday, November 18, 2009
It's the first of the Jewish month of Kislev. The 25th of Kislev is the first day of Channukah, an eight day festival which commemorates the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem, as well as the miracles and battles connected to it.
This year, Chanukah starts the night of December 11 and ends in the 19th of December. This means that it does not over lap Christmas at all.
As I get older, eating potato pancakes and jelly donuts makes me more nervous. I dread the sugar readings I will get afterwards. But I still have a little for the sake of the holiday. What I really prefer is to have a couple of cold beers as I watch the menorah every night. A good Pilsner is conducive to philosophical and religious reflection.
There are those who don't like their religious holiday mixed with entertainment that obscures the spirit of the season. I have heard Christians talk about that. The same theme is sounded around Hannukah and other Jewish festivals.
But there are certain tacky songs that I look forward to every year. There is the one of dogs barking "Jingle Bells" But my absolute favourite of the comic variety is "Granma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. The deadpan quality of the video contrasts in an interesting way with the words and imagery of the song.
There used to be a senior citizen's punk rock band known as Gefilte Joe and the Fish. My wife bought it for me as a Hannukah present the first year we were married. almost 30 years ago. She was lulled into buying it by the clear blue vinyl and the fact that it was cut in the shape of a Star of David. I reveled in its total tastelessness. My wife was delighted when my oldest son broke the record two years later. The most famous cut from that album was "Channukah Rocks". It became somewhat of a hit, although the album is very hard to locate. I am able to present a You Tube recording of it below.
One effect of Hannukah and Christmas falling out in the same month is that one is reminded that there are other beliefs and cultures in the world. When I hear the chanting from my local mosque or shop at a Hindu news stand, I get almost daily reminders. Its humbling to realise that billions of people think you are a heretic or at the very least, badly mistaken.
The song that handles "diversity" with the total lack of good taste that I find indespensible in life is "National Brotherhood Week" by Tom Lehrer. This guy graduated from MIT and ended up being an internationallly famous musical satirist. It is well worthwhile checking out his other songs as well.
I wish my readers happiness in the midst of whatever holiday you all might be celebrating. I hope these songs add to your enjoyment.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6RbfaoX5Hw Sphere: Related Content