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Chagall's Menorahs (Chanukah)

The presence of God is represented almost universally in light and flame. Chanukah is a celebration of the miracle of the early temple's Eternal Flame continuing to burn for 8 days on only 1 day's supply of oil. Ergo, the Festival Of Lights. Strangely, the story of Chanukah does not appear in the Old Testament but instead in the post-Biblical Apocrypha (Book of Maccabees and in the New Testament (John:22-23). Jewish/Russian-born painter Marc C...

Dreidel Song, The

A Chanukah standard sung by Jewish children worldwide. In the original Yiddish version, the dreidel itself sings of being made of "blay" (lead), not "clay" as in the English version.

Hatikvah (The Hope) (Chanukah)

Translated as "The Hope," Israel's national anthem(officially as of 2004); words drawn from an 1877 poem by Ukrainian Naphtali Herz Imber, music inspired by a 16th century Italian song "La Mantovana," adapted to "Hatikvah" by Samuel Cohen in 1888. This theme is strikingly similar to the stirring Czech tone poem, "The Moldau" by Bedrich Smetana.

Hava Nagila! (Chanukah)

Romanian/Ukrainian folk dance(hora); lyrics attributed to Jewish ethnologist Abraham Zevi Idelsohn, 1918, derived from the Old Testament, Psalm 118:Verse 24.

Raisins And Almonds (Chanukah)

"Rozhinkes mit Mandlen," Raisins and Almonds, metaphorically, the sweet with the bitter. Classic folk song written by Abraham Goldfaden (1840-1908), Ukrainian-born poet, playwright, actor, reputed producer of world's first professional Yiddish theatre. Emigrated to NY where, at his death, he was dubbed "the Yiddish Shakespeare."

Rock Of Ages (Jewish) (Chanukah)

Original 14th century Hebrew text entitled "Ma'oz Tzur," now translated and set to an old German folk tune. One of the few traditional Hanukah songs sung regularly in America. Like its Christian counterpart of the same name (see Occasions/Sympathy), the song celebrates the persistent, unshakeable survival of people through religious faith.