Monday, November 29, 2004

SANDLER SONG DEMEANS HANUKKAH?

So saith Binyamin Jolkovsky, founder and editor of Jewish World Review. (JWR is a source of major content of Jewish interest and features syndicated columns by writers such as Charles Krauthammer and has provided a home and expanded audience for pieces by bloggers like Chayyei Sarah and, um, My Urban Kvetch.)

In this piece in the Washington Times, Jolkovsky says that the song is an "embarrassment" and that "Hanukkah is about a lot more than menorahs or potato latkes."

His latter point is well-taken. I would say that many Jews are unaware of the military victory component of the holiday--the miracle of the oil, and the consequent "license to fry," gets all the buzz. There should be more of an emphasis on the "true meaning" of Hanukkah. (Certainly there are enough movies about the "true meaning" of Christmas, but that kvetch is for another post.)

But I am going to respectfully disagree with his assessment of Sandler's "Hanukkah Song." In a season where the airwaves are completely saturated with 47 different versions of "Santa Claus is Coming To Town," if all we have in our Jewish holiday music arsenal is the annoying and oft-lampooned "I Have a Little Draydel," then the musical iteration of the season is lost on us.

Whether or not you liked Big Daddy (and I did, even though Jon Stewart played only a minor role), I think Adam Sandler's done something important. He created a song to fill the radio niche and inspire Jewish pride, however raunchy and irreligious. It's hard to make meaningful Jewish music that's catchy and Top-40 ready. (Some people might say that's a good thing, that it prevents us from becoming Godless Americans.)

But living as Jews in America, the reframing of Judaism in a contemporary pop context lends a relevance and resonance to our tradition, as vital to Generation X as it is to Generation Y, Z and whatever Generation comes after Z (do we go back to the beginning?). The union between contemporary and traditional is the constant mission of webzines and blogs like Jewlicious, Jewsweek, Jewschool and the soon-vanishing Protocols, print mags like Heeb and JVibe, and the proliferation of T-shirt companies who emblazon apparel with slogans both shocking and pride-inducing.

Some may count it as an intermarriage of sorts, an assimilation into American culture that will inevitably mark the demise of the Jewish people as a definable entity, but I prefer to think of it as incorporating American culture into traditional Judaism in a way that resonates and inspires the New Jew of 2004 and beyond. But I tend toward the radical that way.

Do I think that Adam Sandler is the emblem of all things Jewish and American? Hardly. And, for all the Jews in entertainment, I'm not sure who our pop role model should be. But this is one thing Sandler did right. Like it or not, he's left a legacy to the Jews in America who were always flipping the channels on their radio, hoping to hear someone playing their holiday song.

7 Comments:

At 1:09 PM, November 29, 2004, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

I think that old Ben needs to take a deep breath and relax. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that I havem't heard all of his thoughts on this but he is missing a lot.

If his biggest beef is that most American Jews do not publicize the miracle of Chanukah he needs to take a harder look at what most American Jews know about Judaism, which I would argue is not much.

And it is nice to have a break from the Christmas music, even if it is something that is a little off and irreverent.

 
At 1:33 PM, November 29, 2004, Blogger Lyss said...

I'm with Esther. Adam Sandler really has made an effort to plow through the department store Santas and endless reruns of A Christmas Story and bring a little bit of Judaism to the mass media world.

 
At 3:56 PM, November 29, 2004, Blogger Z said...

I completely agree. Why not take it and make it our own? Christmas in America has so little to do with religion that it's ripe for the picking so to speak. So why not take what we like and leave what we don't and if that means that we "jewify" it a little, what's the problem? We define who we are and if we pick and choose from the surrounding culture to define ourselves, how does that dilute us? If the glass is half full, it actually makes us stronger nu?

 
At 1:25 AM, November 30, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Some may count it as an intermarriage of sorts, an assimilation into American culture that will inevitably mark the demise of the Jewish people as a definable entity..."


You guys survived the Babalonians, I think you'll survive this. :)

 
At 8:49 PM, December 02, 2004, Blogger dan said...

FYi in NEW YORK TIMES today.., another take on Hannukah. see my blogspot. and i invite all to write to bubbie and zadie here. kids and adults. free. non commercial public service by danny bloomy, EMAIL me at
bubbie.zadie@gmail.com

Bubbie and Zadie,
NYTimes ONLINE DIARY,
Circuits
section
by Lisa Napoli. dec. 2, 2004

Jewish children have no Santa Claus, but thanks to a
man in Taiwan,
they have Bubbie and Zadie
(bubbieandzadie.blogspot.com).
>
> Who? Daniel Halevi Bloom, a freelance editor and
reporter, invented
> these Jewish grandparents (the names are Yiddish for
Grandma and
> Grandpa) in 1983 to bring Hanukkah alive for
children, particularly
> those without living grandparents. Back then the
medium was snail
> mail, but Mr. Bloom reckons that today's Bubbie and
Zadie are e-mail
> users.
>
> With Hanukkah days away, Mr. Bloom has been busy
corresponding with
> visitors to his site. Zipporeh Cohen, 13, wrote: "My
own bubbie and
> zadie passed away last year, and I am very sad. I
live in Cleveland.
> Did you by any chance know my bubbie and zadie,
Hannah and Joe
> Freedman? They were so sweet and kind, and I miss
them terribly."
>
> It is not just children who are inspired to write.
Mr. Bloom shared a
> letter from a 45-year-old New Yorker who wrote,
"Thank you from a
> grown-up child who has never forgotten his own
bubbie and zadie."
>
> Mr. Bloom, 55, a Boston native who has lived in
Taiwan since 1996,
> says he has received 10,000 letters from children
over the last 21
> years. He claims to have answered every one.
>
>
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/02/technology/circuits/02diar.html

 
At 9:29 PM, December 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

:)

 
At 11:04 PM, November 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Friends of Bubbie and Zadie,

A year ago, we were in the news, and you wrote to us. Now it's almost
Hannukah 2006, just a few more weeks, and we're in the news again. Our
publisher, Rudy Shur, a mensch if ever there was one, agreed to issue
a new edition of our book "BUBBIE AND ZADIE COME TO MY HOUSE" for the
2006 publishing season and beyond. There is beautiful new artwork in
the book by Israeli artist Alex Meilichson, a new cover, and a brand
new format for the book. The story is now 25 years old, almost, and
gaining new readers each year. Take a look at the cover here:

http://bubbieandzadiefiles.blogspot.com

If you want to order the book, you can order it online, with a nice
discount, from amazon.com and other order sites, like Barnes &
Noble.com and booksamillion.com
...and of course, you can find the book at your local bookstore or
synagogue bookstore can order it for you. Details below.

Here is the new address for children to write to us this year. The
letter writing program is free and every kid will get a letter back in
return from Bubbie and Zadie, too. Free. How do we do this? We have
angels helping us.

Here is the address:
BUBBIE AND ZADIE'S MAILBOX
115 Herricks Road
Garden City Park, New York 11040

send the letters before December 15, if possible, but anytime is okay.
even after Hannukah. Bubbie and Zadie love to read your letters. And
email from adults is okay too. Sure.

Anyway, enjoy! Write to us soon. Tell us what's new with YOU!

Shalom aleichem from,

BUBBIE & ZADIE

here is a news release for you to read too:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Info: Anthony Pomes, Director of Publicity

Square One Publishers
TelPhone in NY state #: (516)-535-2010... ext.# 105



The Great "Bubbie and Zadie" Letter-Writing Campaign
A Hanukkah book publishing story that first traveled from Bubbie and
Zadie . . . to Rudy in New York . . .
to Alex in Israel . . . and now on to you!


New York―

This Hanukkah, Square One Publishers will present its first children's
book―''Bubbie and Zadie Come to My House''. This brand-new edition of
Daniel Halevi Bloom's charming Hanukkah tale was signed by Rudy Shur
of Square One who felt the story deserved to be shared with a new
generation of young readers. The project was an international labor of
love, worked on across three countries at the same time with the
author Daniel Halevi Bloom; publisher Shur in New York; and
illustrator Alex Meilichson in Israel.


Designed as a gift to be given by grandparents to grandchildren on the
first night of Hanukkah, the book also invites readers to write
letters to the "Bubbie and Zadie" characters who appear in the story.
But here's the interesting twist: every letter written to "Bubbie and
Zadie" by child or adult alike will be answered in return mail― free
of charge―by author Daniel Halevi Bloom himself, and also by some
real-life bubbies and zadies ("Grandma" and "Grandpa" in Yiddish) who
reside at Bubbie & Zadie's House, a senior citizen's home nestled in
the hills of San Rafael, California.


In many ways, the letter-writing aspect of the book is what excited
Bloom the most about having his book available again in a newly
illustrated and revised edition. Having read thousands of letters from
children (and adults) over the years, Bloom has experienced first-hand
the joy that these letters bring to everyone. "The magic and loving
feelings of the Hanukkah holidays," says Bloom, "as passed down to me
and those of my generation by our own bubbies and zadies when we were
children, is one of the greatest gifts that can ever be given. And
it's wonderful that these elderly people now want to share the
tradition of the holidays with the children by helping to write
letters to them. I truly love them for it."


Any children and/or adults who want to write to Bubbie and Zadie can
send their handwritten letters to them at the following address:
Bubbie and Zadie's Mailbox c/o Square One Publishers, 115 Herricks
Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040.


For more information, feel free to contact Anthony Pomes by phone
(516-535-2010 x 105), fax (516-535-2014), or email (
Sq1Marketing@aol.com). Thank you.


BOOK SPECS: $16.95US / $19.95 CAN / 32 PAGES / ISBN 0-7570-0298-4
(978-0-7570-0298-4)

\ CHILDREN'S HARDCOVER

 

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My Urban Kvetch: SANDLER SONG DEMEANS HANUKKAH?

Monday, November 29, 2004

SANDLER SONG DEMEANS HANUKKAH?

So saith Binyamin Jolkovsky, founder and editor of Jewish World Review. (JWR is a source of major content of Jewish interest and features syndicated columns by writers such as Charles Krauthammer and has provided a home and expanded audience for pieces by bloggers like Chayyei Sarah and, um, My Urban Kvetch.)

In this piece in the Washington Times, Jolkovsky says that the song is an "embarrassment" and that "Hanukkah is about a lot more than menorahs or potato latkes."

His latter point is well-taken. I would say that many Jews are unaware of the military victory component of the holiday--the miracle of the oil, and the consequent "license to fry," gets all the buzz. There should be more of an emphasis on the "true meaning" of Hanukkah. (Certainly there are enough movies about the "true meaning" of Christmas, but that kvetch is for another post.)

But I am going to respectfully disagree with his assessment of Sandler's "Hanukkah Song." In a season where the airwaves are completely saturated with 47 different versions of "Santa Claus is Coming To Town," if all we have in our Jewish holiday music arsenal is the annoying and oft-lampooned "I Have a Little Draydel," then the musical iteration of the season is lost on us.

Whether or not you liked Big Daddy (and I did, even though Jon Stewart played only a minor role), I think Adam Sandler's done something important. He created a song to fill the radio niche and inspire Jewish pride, however raunchy and irreligious. It's hard to make meaningful Jewish music that's catchy and Top-40 ready. (Some people might say that's a good thing, that it prevents us from becoming Godless Americans.)

But living as Jews in America, the reframing of Judaism in a contemporary pop context lends a relevance and resonance to our tradition, as vital to Generation X as it is to Generation Y, Z and whatever Generation comes after Z (do we go back to the beginning?). The union between contemporary and traditional is the constant mission of webzines and blogs like Jewlicious, Jewsweek, Jewschool and the soon-vanishing Protocols, print mags like Heeb and JVibe, and the proliferation of T-shirt companies who emblazon apparel with slogans both shocking and pride-inducing.

Some may count it as an intermarriage of sorts, an assimilation into American culture that will inevitably mark the demise of the Jewish people as a definable entity, but I prefer to think of it as incorporating American culture into traditional Judaism in a way that resonates and inspires the New Jew of 2004 and beyond. But I tend toward the radical that way.

Do I think that Adam Sandler is the emblem of all things Jewish and American? Hardly. And, for all the Jews in entertainment, I'm not sure who our pop role model should be. But this is one thing Sandler did right. Like it or not, he's left a legacy to the Jews in America who were always flipping the channels on their radio, hoping to hear someone playing their holiday song.

7 Comments:

At 1:09 PM, November 29, 2004, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

I think that old Ben needs to take a deep breath and relax. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that I havem't heard all of his thoughts on this but he is missing a lot.

If his biggest beef is that most American Jews do not publicize the miracle of Chanukah he needs to take a harder look at what most American Jews know about Judaism, which I would argue is not much.

And it is nice to have a break from the Christmas music, even if it is something that is a little off and irreverent.

 
At 1:33 PM, November 29, 2004, Blogger Lyss said...

I'm with Esther. Adam Sandler really has made an effort to plow through the department store Santas and endless reruns of A Christmas Story and bring a little bit of Judaism to the mass media world.

 
At 3:56 PM, November 29, 2004, Blogger Z said...

I completely agree. Why not take it and make it our own? Christmas in America has so little to do with religion that it's ripe for the picking so to speak. So why not take what we like and leave what we don't and if that means that we "jewify" it a little, what's the problem? We define who we are and if we pick and choose from the surrounding culture to define ourselves, how does that dilute us? If the glass is half full, it actually makes us stronger nu?

 
At 1:25 AM, November 30, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Some may count it as an intermarriage of sorts, an assimilation into American culture that will inevitably mark the demise of the Jewish people as a definable entity..."


You guys survived the Babalonians, I think you'll survive this. :)

 
At 8:49 PM, December 02, 2004, Blogger dan said...

FYi in NEW YORK TIMES today.., another take on Hannukah. see my blogspot. and i invite all to write to bubbie and zadie here. kids and adults. free. non commercial public service by danny bloomy, EMAIL me at
bubbie.zadie@gmail.com

Bubbie and Zadie,
NYTimes ONLINE DIARY,
Circuits
section
by Lisa Napoli. dec. 2, 2004

Jewish children have no Santa Claus, but thanks to a
man in Taiwan,
they have Bubbie and Zadie
(bubbieandzadie.blogspot.com).
>
> Who? Daniel Halevi Bloom, a freelance editor and
reporter, invented
> these Jewish grandparents (the names are Yiddish for
Grandma and
> Grandpa) in 1983 to bring Hanukkah alive for
children, particularly
> those without living grandparents. Back then the
medium was snail
> mail, but Mr. Bloom reckons that today's Bubbie and
Zadie are e-mail
> users.
>
> With Hanukkah days away, Mr. Bloom has been busy
corresponding with
> visitors to his site. Zipporeh Cohen, 13, wrote: "My
own bubbie and
> zadie passed away last year, and I am very sad. I
live in Cleveland.
> Did you by any chance know my bubbie and zadie,
Hannah and Joe
> Freedman? They were so sweet and kind, and I miss
them terribly."
>
> It is not just children who are inspired to write.
Mr. Bloom shared a
> letter from a 45-year-old New Yorker who wrote,
"Thank you from a
> grown-up child who has never forgotten his own
bubbie and zadie."
>
> Mr. Bloom, 55, a Boston native who has lived in
Taiwan since 1996,
> says he has received 10,000 letters from children
over the last 21
> years. He claims to have answered every one.
>
>
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/02/technology/circuits/02diar.html

 
At 9:29 PM, December 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

:)

 
At 11:04 PM, November 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Friends of Bubbie and Zadie,

A year ago, we were in the news, and you wrote to us. Now it's almost
Hannukah 2006, just a few more weeks, and we're in the news again. Our
publisher, Rudy Shur, a mensch if ever there was one, agreed to issue
a new edition of our book "BUBBIE AND ZADIE COME TO MY HOUSE" for the
2006 publishing season and beyond. There is beautiful new artwork in
the book by Israeli artist Alex Meilichson, a new cover, and a brand
new format for the book. The story is now 25 years old, almost, and
gaining new readers each year. Take a look at the cover here:

http://bubbieandzadiefiles.blogspot.com

If you want to order the book, you can order it online, with a nice
discount, from amazon.com and other order sites, like Barnes &
Noble.com and booksamillion.com
...and of course, you can find the book at your local bookstore or
synagogue bookstore can order it for you. Details below.

Here is the new address for children to write to us this year. The
letter writing program is free and every kid will get a letter back in
return from Bubbie and Zadie, too. Free. How do we do this? We have
angels helping us.

Here is the address:
BUBBIE AND ZADIE'S MAILBOX
115 Herricks Road
Garden City Park, New York 11040

send the letters before December 15, if possible, but anytime is okay.
even after Hannukah. Bubbie and Zadie love to read your letters. And
email from adults is okay too. Sure.

Anyway, enjoy! Write to us soon. Tell us what's new with YOU!

Shalom aleichem from,

BUBBIE & ZADIE

here is a news release for you to read too:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Info: Anthony Pomes, Director of Publicity

Square One Publishers
TelPhone in NY state #: (516)-535-2010... ext.# 105



The Great "Bubbie and Zadie" Letter-Writing Campaign
A Hanukkah book publishing story that first traveled from Bubbie and
Zadie . . . to Rudy in New York . . .
to Alex in Israel . . . and now on to you!


New York―

This Hanukkah, Square One Publishers will present its first children's
book―''Bubbie and Zadie Come to My House''. This brand-new edition of
Daniel Halevi Bloom's charming Hanukkah tale was signed by Rudy Shur
of Square One who felt the story deserved to be shared with a new
generation of young readers. The project was an international labor of
love, worked on across three countries at the same time with the
author Daniel Halevi Bloom; publisher Shur in New York; and
illustrator Alex Meilichson in Israel.


Designed as a gift to be given by grandparents to grandchildren on the
first night of Hanukkah, the book also invites readers to write
letters to the "Bubbie and Zadie" characters who appear in the story.
But here's the interesting twist: every letter written to "Bubbie and
Zadie" by child or adult alike will be answered in return mail― free
of charge―by author Daniel Halevi Bloom himself, and also by some
real-life bubbies and zadies ("Grandma" and "Grandpa" in Yiddish) who
reside at Bubbie & Zadie's House, a senior citizen's home nestled in
the hills of San Rafael, California.


In many ways, the letter-writing aspect of the book is what excited
Bloom the most about having his book available again in a newly
illustrated and revised edition. Having read thousands of letters from
children (and adults) over the years, Bloom has experienced first-hand
the joy that these letters bring to everyone. "The magic and loving
feelings of the Hanukkah holidays," says Bloom, "as passed down to me
and those of my generation by our own bubbies and zadies when we were
children, is one of the greatest gifts that can ever be given. And
it's wonderful that these elderly people now want to share the
tradition of the holidays with the children by helping to write
letters to them. I truly love them for it."


Any children and/or adults who want to write to Bubbie and Zadie can
send their handwritten letters to them at the following address:
Bubbie and Zadie's Mailbox c/o Square One Publishers, 115 Herricks
Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040.


For more information, feel free to contact Anthony Pomes by phone
(516-535-2010 x 105), fax (516-535-2014), or email (
Sq1Marketing@aol.com). Thank you.


BOOK SPECS: $16.95US / $19.95 CAN / 32 PAGES / ISBN 0-7570-0298-4
(978-0-7570-0298-4)

\ CHILDREN'S HARDCOVER

 

Post a Comment

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