Sunday, December 21, 2008

Honk, If You Hanukkah

As today is the first day of Hanukkah, it's time to celebrate the fact that many Jews are willing to help out with the Christmas experience.

Many of the greatest Christmas “standards” were written by Jewish songwriters. I’m talking about Christmas classics such as “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)”, “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow", “Santa Baby”, “Silver Bells”, “White Christmas”, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, and trust me, our beloved “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was no gentile.

If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em seems to be the attitude here and we’re all the better for it. It’s tough to compete with Christmas and the best way to cope with the holiday is with humor:

Jewish Jingle Bells - Jimmy Haskell with the Jackie Ward Singers (1967)

“Have A Jewish Christmas...?” was a comedy album by Brenner & Blitzer (sounds like bench-warming Reindeer) that made fun of fellow Jews who secretly celebrated Christmas. Ray Brenner & Barry Blitzer were a successful comedy-writing team for such shows as McHale’s Navy, Andy Griffith, Get Smart, and Gomer Pyle.

My favorite cut from the album is entitled “Christmas Cards” and features the mysteriously named Reginald X. Carlisle as Hall Markowitz. Supposedly, the pseudonym was to protect the identity of popular comedian, Arte Johnson who was under contract to “Laugh-In” at the time.

Christmas Cards - Brenner & Blitzer (1967)

Now go out and enjoy the 25th day of Kislev commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE., because really...why not?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would really love to listen to these tracks, but the links have died. Any hope of you renewing the availability?