Saturday, October 31, 2020 -
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Chanukah songs from across the globe

It’s halfway through Chanukah, so maybe by now you’ve had your fill of holiday treats — after all, latkes and sufganiyot aren’t exactly known for being light (no pun intended). But there are plenty of other Chanukah traditions, from dreidel spinning to handing out gelt.

National Library of Israel has collected Chanukah favorites from across the world. What’s fascinating is how what we know of as standards aren’t necessarily standard. For example, did you know that there are many different tunes for Maoz Tzur (“Rock of Ages”)? Or that there are seemingly endless cantillations for reciting the blessing over the Chanukah candles?

If you’re looking for more of a Chanukah song, there is “Ir Kleyne Likhtelekh,” written by Morris Rosenfeld and sung by Louis Danto, a 20th-century North American cantor born in eastern Poland. Rosenfeld was also a Polish Jew who moved to the US. His poetry foucsed on the experience of Eastern European Jewish immigrants.

Another good resource for Chanukah tunes is a “Top Ten” list put together by Kveller. This one’s more contemporary than the National Library’s more liturgical collection, so expect more upbeat, poppy tunes.

And if you still have room, enjoy a sufganiyah while you listen to these tunes!

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