Playlist: A Happy Hanukkah
Compiled By: PRX Editors
Hanukkah is Dec. 24, 2016 - Jan. 1, 2017.
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel... Check out our Holiday Music Specials and Christmas Editors' Picks as well. For more pieces about Jewish history and culture, take a look at our Jewish History Editors' Picks.
From RadioArt(r) | 58:10
A conversation between Rabbi Ismar Schorsch and Host Larry Josephson about the history, rituals and meaning of Hanukkah--and its importance in our time. (Revised 2013)
"A Great Miracle Happened There: A Hanukkah Special," is a conversation between Rabbi Ismar Schorsch and Host Larry Josephson about the history, rituals and meaning of Hanukkah--and its importance in our time. Cantors David Lefkowitz and Elisheva Dienstfrey sing the music of Hanukkah. Rabbi Ismar Schorsch explains that Hanukkah is really about a Jewish civil war, a war between assimilated, Hellenized Jews and a pious band of zealots, the Maccabees. The well-known "miracle of the oil," occurs at the end of the story--after the Temple has been retaken by the Maccabees, and rededicated and cleansed. Rabbi Schorsch also talks about Hanukkah as "the Jewish Christmas." Dr. Ismar Schorsch is Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Larry Josephson is a veteran public radio host and interviewer, whose programs have been heard in New York, and nationwide for over 35 years. Glorious music of Hanukkah is sung by Cantor David Lefkowitz of The Park Avenue Synagogue in New York, and by Cantor Elisheva Dienstfrey, now of Congregation Agudas Achim in Alexandria, Virginia. Both are graduates of the Seminary. Additional music from "Voice of the Turtle" and the Zamir Chorale of Boston.
From The WFMT Radio Network | 58:30
Join Jonathan Miller, artistic director of Chicago a cappella and a longtime champion of Jewish choral music, for an inspiring and informative show featuring choral music set to Chanukah texts. Familiar tunes include "I Have a Little Dreidel" (both in its original Yiddish form and in a neo-funk Hebrew/English setting), a swing version of "S'vivon" by Steve Barnett, and a lively setting of the traditional melody for "Al-Hanissim" ("For the Miracles") by Elliot Levine. All selections are performed by Chicago a cappella, the virtuoso vocal ensemble now in its 23rd season.
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This special is available free of charge to all affiliate stations and will be available for two broadcasts from November 1, 2016 through January 15, 2017.
A Chanukah Celebration with Chicago a cappella
Join Jonathan Miller, artistic director of Chicago a cappella and a longtime champion of Jewish choral music, for an inspiring and informative show featuring choral music set to Chanukah texts. Familiar tunes include "I Have a Little Dreidel" (both in its original Yiddish form and in a neo-funk Hebrew/English setting), a swing version of "S'vivon" by Steve Barnett, and a lively setting of the traditional melody for "Al-Hanissim" ("For the Miracles") by Elliot Levine. Heartfelt original compositions by American and British composers provide added depth of expression to celebrating the holiday. Such works include "Lo Yisa Goy," a plea for peace by Stacy Garrop; Bob Applebaum's stirring new version of "Haneirot Halalu"; and movements from the majestic "Hallel Suite" by London-based Daniel Tunkel. All selections are performed by Chicago a cappella, the virtuoso vocal ensemble now in its 23rd season. Jonathan Miller provides liturgical and cultural background as part of this unique look inside old and newer choral Chanukah traditions.
Chicago a cappella
An ensemble of professional singers founded in 1993 by Jonathan Miller, Chicago a cappella presents an annual Chicago-area subscription series, creates studio recordings as well as live and broadcast-media musical content, produces educational outreach programming, and gives performances on tour and in special engagements. Long recognized for vocal virtuosity and innovative programming, the ensemble enjoys a reputation as a leader in the choral field.
With more than 350 performances to its credit, Chicago a cappella has produced more than 200 concerts on its Chicago-based series. On tour, the group has appeared in 13 American states and in Mexico. The ensemble has been heard frequently on WFMT radio and through broadcasts distributed by American Public Media, including the nationally-syndicated Performance Today. The ensemble has produced nine CD recordings of music ranging from Renaissance masses to contemporary works.
From its inception, Chicago a cappella has been a champion of living composers. Since 1993 the group has presented more than 100 works in their world, national, or local premiere. Chicago a cappella has commissioned new music from composers including Joseph Jennings, Chen Yi, Stacy Garrop, Rollo Dilworth, Tania León, and Ezequiel Viñao.
Chicago a cappella is also active in educational and community engagement. The ensemble produces an annual Youth Choral Festival for young singers from the Chicago area, and leads an innovative High School Internship program, a multi-faceted immersion for selected students in the worlds of performance and arts administration.
Jonathan Miller, Host and Chicago a cappella Founder and Artistic Director
Known for innovative programming of choral concerts, Jonathan Miller has guided Chicago a cappella through more than 300 performances and nine commercial CD releases since he founded the ensemble in 1993. He is the recipient of the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal from Chorus America. When Jonathan was a teenage bass in the Chicago Children’s Choir, he was bitten hard by the choral bug. He was fortunate to be exposed to a wide range of repertoire by a remarkable group of mentors, including Christopher Moore, Lena McLin, Max Janowski, Howard Mayer Brown, Richard Proulx, John Nygro, and Anne Heider. Eager to learn research tools for choral music, Jonathan earned his doctorate in historical musicology at UNC-Chapel Hill. After returning to the Chicago area, Jonathan led the choir at Unity Temple in Oak Park for nine years and began composing new music for that ensemble. Jonathan has taken a leadership role in Jewish choral music, composing, arranging, narrating programs on stage and on radio, and leading workshops at the North American Jewish Choral Festival and elsewhere. A champion and publisher of the music of the late Max Janowski, Jonathan conducted the culminating concert of the Janowski Centenary at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation; he also was the recipient of the 2013 Perelmuter Award at KAMII and was Scholar in Residence at Lakeside Congregation in Highland Park, Illinois, in November 2014. Jonathan is honored to serve as high-holiday cantor for Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Hyde Park. He has written more than 75 choral works in a variety of genres and languages; his music has been sung at venues including St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Pentagon; his mashup Jingle Bells Hallelujah Chorus is a minor hit; and his series of Wacky Christmas Carols continues to mix words and tunes in new combinations. He also serves as Director of Choral Catalog at Musicnotes.com. Jonathan is married, has an adult daughter and two step-grandsons, and dotes on his English Cocker Spaniels, Higgins and Moseley.
Let the rituals begin! Inspirations for Hanukkah music vary from celebratory & sacred to traditional. This is Part 1 of 2.
'The Blizzard', a mystery thriller by David Ives, features Jesse Eisenberg as a snowed-in screenwriter facing unexpected guests. Ryan brings his new girlfriend home to celebrate the holiday in 'The Miracle of Chanukah.' And in our third short play, 'Christmas Breaks', a girl and a guy exchange some unexpected Christmas gifts. Lively group interviews follow each.
Mystical tales & teachings & Jewish sacred music from around the world.
The Kabbalah of Chanukah: An Inspirational Program for the Festival of Lights A jazz-virtuoso cantor and a kabbalistic psychotherapist bring their respective talents together, to provide new inspiration for Chanukah! Weaving a tapestry of tales and teachings from the Kabbalah together with sacred music from around the world, this dynamic duo reveals some of the hidden treasures of this ancient spiritual tradition. This program is being offered for Chanukah programming in 2006. (Chanukah is from after nightfall on 12/15, ending at nightfall of 12/23.)
From Sound Portraits | 58:59
Two self-contained hours of special programming based on the acclaimed ten-part ATC series, with a Web site filled with photos, features, background, and sound at YiddishRadioProject.org. View Hour Two here.
From Aaron Henkin | 49:27
Nine people of nine different faiths and philosophies attempt to answer a deceptively simple question: What does it mean to you to believe?
This is a one-hour, talk-clock-formatted documentary special that might make a nice addition to your program schedule if you're looking for some holiday programming or just wanting something contemplative to put on your airwaves. Here in Baltimore, my friend Jason and I set out on a simple mission: We criss-crossed our city and met with nine people of nine different faiths. We asked them each a set of identical questions about what it means for them to 'believe.' We talked with an Orthodox Muslim, a Buddhist monk, a Christian minister, a Jewish cantor, an atheist, a Quaker, a United Methodist / Episcopalian, a Catholic, and a Keetowah Cherokee. They all spoke eloquently about how their beliefs give them strength and comfort, and also about how those beliefs can sometimes give way to doubt when tested. We ended up with nearly nine hours of audio, and when we finally whittled it down and cut it together into this radio special, we realized there's a pretty incredible amount of common ground beneath the religious differences that often seem to divide us. If you're interested in licensing this special, I'd be happy to custom-tailor a promo for you and help you out with whatever else you might need. Just click the 'contact me' button and send me an email.
From Claire Schoen | Part of the ILLUMINATIONS: Jewish Culture in the Light of the World series | 59:01
What happens to the children when Jews and Christians marry? An Open Gate looks at this question with humor and sensitivity. Jews and Christians speak about growing up within their faith and how intermarriage has redefined their perspective. Interfaith couples grapple with the challenge of celebrating holidays as a family as they attempt to instill a sense of religion, community and holiday spirit. This program also digs deep into the historical underpinnings of these two religions, exploring Jewish fears of Christian anti-Semitism and Christian desires to share Jesus' love with people they care about.
What happens to the children when Jews and Christians marry? "An Open Gate" explores this question with humor and sensitivity. Jews and Christians speak about growing up within their faith and how intermarriage has redefined their perspective. Interfaith couples grapple with the challenge of celebrating holidays as a family as they attempt to instill a sense of religion, community and holiday spirit. This program also digs deep into the historical underpinnings of these two religions, exploring Jewish fears of Christian anti-Semitism and Christian desires to share Jesus' love with people they care about. As couples in this program struggle with these questions, they shed light on the broader issues we all face in trying to preserve our own culture while becoming part of the global village. (Each of the 3 shows in this series can be broadcast as stand-alone programs.)
From Camino Real Productions, LLC | 53:39
Happy ChallaDAY! An original musical comedy for Hanukkah. Book, music and lyrics by Charles Moster.
Inspired by the rather odd fact that the most famous Christmas song ever written, “White Christmas,” was composed by Irving Berlin, a Jew, Charles Moster has composed this light-hearted spoof parodying the old Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye movie “White Christmas.” General Waverlystein, retires from the Israeli army and opens a B&B on the Red Sea. Two of his old army entertainment corps buddies, now big stars known as the Sinai Schlamazels, join forces with the Schwartz Sisters to save his business by putting on a big holiday show.
From Julie Subrin | 14:22
Profile of Flory Jagoda, an 83-year-old Sephardic folk singer from Sarajevo.
Flory Jagoda grew up in a family of singers. Her childhood, in a mountain village outside of Sarajevo, was filled with songs, sung in Ladino - the language passed down by Jews expelled from Spain during the Inquisition - that told of the loves, lives and rituals of her community. With the horror of World War II, all that changed. She and her parents were the only survivors of the 42-member Altaras family. Since then, Jagoda, winner of a 2002 NEA National Heritage fellowship, has dedicated her professional life to composing, performing and teaching songs that preserve her memories of that lost life. Her songs, sung in Ladino, echo the Spanish and Bosnian melodies and rhythms of her past. This piece combines Jagoda's stories - told unflinchingly, and with humor and warmth - with music from her 4 recorded CDs. "La Nona Kanta" could air anytime, but might be especially appropriate during Hanukkah, as Jagoda is perhaps best known for what has now become something of a Hanukkah standard, her original composition, "Ocho Kandelikas." This piece was recorded and produced in 2007.
It's not Christmas. It's not Hanukkah. It's Schnartzenholler! When Emily Pearlman was a child her Jewish father and Christian mother created their own unique holiday celebration.
Schnartzenholler It's not Christmas. It's not Hannukah. It's Schnartzenholler! When Emily Pearlman was a child her Jewish father and Christian mother created their own unique holiday celebration to bridge the gap and give the family something to celebrate together. As Emily and her brother grew up Schnartzenholler lost its appeal. Now, as adults, can the family revive and reinvent it? by Emily Pearlman Producer: Steve Wadhams Outfront Opening and Closing Theme available - (see Timing and Cues section for more details) SEE ADDITIONAL LICENSE TERMS
From Terin Mayer | 08:54
Celebrating Chanukah in a dingy dorm lounge with an unlikely companion.
Emma Cohen finds herself working on campus during the winter holidays, living in a dingy little room in your quintessential college dorm. For a practicing, but non-beliving Jew, Chanukah is a particularly important holiday for Emma. Its about tradition and ritual. But this winter, she doesn't go home. Instead, and by complete coincidence, she spends the festival of lights with Byron White. He's a big personality on campus, the kind of guy who's friends with everybody, but that nobody really knows. This is the story of their dorm-lounge Chanukah, and how they got to know each other. Every night, after the candles were lit, there was nothing to do but talk.
As Jews around the world prepare to celebrate Hanukah, some in Boston are singing in Ladino, a language UNESCO rates as "severely endangered" in its 2009 Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger. Ladino has been traveling with the Jews since they were expelled from Spain in 1492.
The endangered Ladino language, also called Judeo-Spanish, is a language without a country. Ladino has been traveling with the Jews since they were expelled from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. It has been kept alive in pockets of culture around the world, including Israel and Turkey, and some places in the U.S., such as New York, Florida and Seattle, Washington.
Some universities in Israel have established programs on Sephardic culture and the Ladino language, but in the United States, the longest-running - and many say the only consistent - Ladino instruction at a university is by Professor Gloria Ascher at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, near Boston. Ascher is Co-Chair of the Judaic Studies program at Tufts and initiated Ladino classes 10 years ago. Some students, professors and people from the community have studied up to four semesters of Ladino.
Besides Ascher, others find Ladino calling to them. Vocalist Julia Madeson has performed many styles of music, and now performs Ladino with area musicians, some of them students at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she is Coordinator of the Guitar Department.
As Hanukah approachs and Jews prepare to commemorate the miracle of oil supposed to burn for one day -but lasting eight days - the singing of Ladino songs is also a reminder of the endurance of Jewish culture, despite the Jews' often forced scattering around the globe.
As the candles of Hanukkah connect Jews around the world, holiday songs in Ladino shine a light on a language UNESCO rates as “severely endangered.” An increasing number of musicians in many countries are singing in this Judeo-Spanish language, which means it is no longer just your grandmother's Ladino.
From Eric Molinsky | 04:58
Hanukkah can be seen as a holiday about assimilation.
Hanukkah has become the pinnacle of assimilation for American Jews. Dreidels and Menorahs hang in holiday displays alongside Christmas trees and wreaths. But the real history of Hanukkah is sometimes forgotten. The ancient war that Hanukkah celebrates was very much a civil war between religious and secular Jews. A former Orthodox Jew explains (while cooking latkes) how this 2,000 year old struggle over assimilation has affected her life.