Jews and Christmas Music – it ain’t Chinese Food by Debra H. Goldstein
I’m Jewish, but I have a confession to make. I love Christmas music. There is something about listening to the songs that makes me feel good. Apparently, I’m not the only Jewish person who feels this way about these holiday songs. According to the American Society of Composers and Publishers, almost half of the top twenty-five Christmas songs have music or lyrics written by Jewish composers.
Most people are aware that White Christmas was written by Irving Berlin. Irving’s given name when he was growing up on the Lower East side was Israel Baline. Although he wasn’t observant and didn’t deny his Jewish heritage, it is ironic that he wrote the music for perhaps the most well-known Christmas song, as well as Easter Parade.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Holly Jolly Christmas, and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree were all written by Johnny Marks. Jay Livingston and Walter Evans are responsible for the words and music of Silver Bells. Walter Kent composed the music for I’ll Be Home for Christmas, which was written as a tribute to the soldiers stationed overseas who dreamed of being home for Christmas. We also wouldn’t think about chestnuts roasting on an open fire if Mel Torme and Bob Wells hadn’t penned The Christmas Song.
My point is simple. No matter what our religion, race, sexual preference, we can find points of commonality that can lead to everlasting things of joy. Whether you are celebrating Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or anything else, here’s Chinese food and Christmas music. Happy Holidays!