Making Music-Filled Memories this Chanukah

Music can have such an amazing emotional impact and create memories that last a lifetime. I grew up in a musical family, and for us, so many Jewish holidays revolved around music and song. Lighting the Chanukah menorah included blessings and a 5-10-minute song session after dinner.  I have vivid memories of sitting in my parent’s living room with my father at the piano, our electric menorah shining in the window, as we sang Light One Candle by Peter, Paul, and Mary. That song, to this day, brings tears to my eyes.

If you have never heard the song, I highly recommend it.  Light One Candle charges people to light one candle in honor of justice, peace, and freedom. It explains that the holiday of Chanukah is about honoring the Maccabees for allowing us to live in peace and freedom.

Light one candle for all we believe in
That anger not tear us apart
And light one candle to find us together
With peace as the song in our hearts

Don’t let the light go out!
It’s lasted for so many years!
Don’t let the light go out!
Let it shine through our hope and our tears.

The holiday of Chanukah is about so much more than latkes, gifts, and sufganiyot.  By lighting the candles each night, we remember those who came before us who fought for our right to celebrate these holidays in freedom.

My parents have always been big fans of Peter, Paul, and Mary, so to have a song by them for Chanukah is incredibly special.  After searching for years for the sheet music for the song (long before the days of Google), my father wrote to Peter Yarrow, asking if sheet music was available.  Peter Yarrow not only responded, he sent my father a copy of handwritten sheet music.  This sheet music is cherished to this day in my father’s piano bench.

At the Katz JCC, we want to help you create these family holiday memories in any way that we can.  We have created a Spotify playlist with some of our Chanukah favorites for you to enjoy at home or in the car with your families (spoti.fi/2PqsAeY).  We hope you love the music and that singing these songs together brings you great joy over the holiday season!

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