November 30, 2004

Take Off Your Yamacha

Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song” should be abandoned immediately as a cultural touchstone, according to JewishWorldReview editor-in-chief Binyamin Jolkovsky. Jolkovsky, quoted in a Washington Times piece, believes that the song is “an embarrassment,” in part because it doesn’t touch on the actual Hanukkah story- although if he shared any type of substantive critique, the Times reporter did a pretty awful job of putting it across.

I’m no Sandler fan and never have been. But I recognize the valuable role of “Hanukkah Song” and its sequels in instilling Jewish pride among Hebraic youngsters, who may not have been aware that, say, David Lee Roth lights the Menorah, that Harrison Ford is a quarter Jewish, or that numerous other celebs are just as Jewish as they are.

In fact, this is a pretty bad article in general- it mistakenly refers to Sandler’s animated film “Eight Crazy Nights” as “a made-for-TV Hanukkah movie” (it was released theatrically), while attributing the recent parody “Hanukkah Hey Ya” to “a Jewish hip-hop group called Outkast.”

Jolkovsky favors replacing “The Hanukkah Song” in pop culture with a song I’ve never heard of (“Color Candles” by Eli Nathan). I vote for two Hanukkah songs that actually do reference the Maccabees’ story: either the Peter Yarrow standard “Light One Candle” or, even better, Rabbi Joseph Black’s “Judah Maccabee.”

Posted by Stephen Silver at November 30, 2004 11:56 PM

Like you, I'm no fan of Sandler's, but I think that song is pretty funny. If this person has issues with that song, I wonder what they'd say about Kyle's whole "it's hard to be a Jew on Christmas" jingle on "South Park" ("I can't sing Christmas songs/Or decorate a Christmas tree/Or leave water out for Rudolph 'cause there's something wrong with me...")

Posted by: Emily at December 1, 2004 02:40 PM

I never did the research, but wasn't Sandler wrong on a significant number of "jews" in both songs?

Anyway, even as a teen I felt some connection even with just Sandler.

Posted by: Jeff S at December 1, 2004 07:54 PM

Hmm. My comments on this? Glad you asked:

Posted by: Esther at December 1, 2004 10:17 PM

Found your blog while looking to correct misinformation about my song, "Hanukkah Hey Ya!"

I agree with you about the article in the Washington Times. I don't expect the writer to know the song was by me, but Outkast? Come on! My name is even posted below where she got the flash at

Anyway, read the press release on my site at for more info.

Happy Hanukkah!

Posted by: Eric Schwartz at December 7, 2004 04:46 AM

Your all jewish.

Posted by: Habib at April 17, 2006 03:14 PM
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