Joyous Hanukkah

by Karl Hitzemann

For Jewish people, Hanukkah is considered to be more of a minor holiday and therefore, a bit more lighthearted. With that in mind, we created a fun song that celebrates that tradition. "Joyous Hanukkah" is a terrific mix of major and minor (a great opportunity to discuss and listen to the difference between major and minor keys, by the way), but the really neat twist is that as the song is sung, the tempo gets faster and faster. It would be very fun to have a group of singers dance the Horah, which could be as basic as joining hands in a circle and skipping clockwise during the minor section and counterclockwise during the major section. This could be as simple or elaborate as you like, but keep in mind that as the song progresses, the tempo will increase. So, please be careful!

The song itself is very simple and most students should be able to sing it, even your youngest. And because it's unison and repetitious, it probably won't take long to learn it.

Referring to the lyrics of the song, be sure to explain to your singers that "shalom" is a term of greeting or farewell and can mean "peace," "be well," "be safe," etc. And "Nes gadol haya sham" means "A great miracle happened there." It also refers to the Hebrew letters n, g, h, and s, that are found on the sides of a dreidel.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.