This year, Hanukkah starts on the night of Sunday, December 2. And, as Jewish families all over the world celebrate the holiday, they’ll have a new song to sing along to.
Sure, there are traditional Hanukkah tunes like “The Dreidel Song” and “Oh Hanukkah,” but arguably the most popular song about the Festival of Lights is Adam Sandler’s modern “The Chanukah Song.”
The comedian first performed the now-legendary ditty during the “Weekend Update” segment on the December 3, 1994, episode of Saturday Night Live. Before belting out the funny lyrics, which pay homage to many Jewish celebrities, Sandler said that he always felt “left out” because they would sing Christmas carols in school, but none for the holiday he celebrates. “So, I wrote a brand-new Hanukkah song for you Jewish kids to sing,” he explained.
Now, Jewish a cappella group Six13 have thrown their yarmulkes into the ring with a parody of the classic Queen tune “Bohemian Rhapsody” called “Bohemian Chanukah.”
“Is this just fantasy? No, it’s our Chanukah tribute to one of the greatest and most epic songs of all time,” the group wrote on YouTube on November 27 when they uploaded the music video — which was filmed at the Workmen’s Circle School in East Meadow, New York — for the creative song.
Created with nothing but the six member’s voices, “Bohemian Chanukah” tells the story of the holiday in both English and Hebrew and also references some of the things people do during Hanukkah such as spinning dreidels, receiving gelt, lighting candles, and eating latkes.
“Some songs come out and they scream us or Hanukkah — it’s a slam dunk, gotta do it. With the movie Bohemian Rhapsody out, someone said we should just go for the jugular,” Six13 singer Mordy Weinstein told the Times of Israel.
“It is so long, it is a beast of a song. It ends four times, and then even at the end, you think it’s over, but each ending is a musical movement. It’s an opera plus a rock song.”
The video for “Bohemian Chanukah” has been viewed more than 1.8 million times on Facebook and more than 777,000 times on YouTube. Watch the clip below.
Six13 — Mike Boxer, Eric Dinowitz, Phil Kaplan, Lior Melnick, Craig Resmovits, Nathaniel Ribner, Josh Sauer, Jacob Spadaro, and Mordy Weinstein — is “anchored by a strong Jewish identity and driven by a mission to connect Jews around the globe with their heritage through music.” The vocalists have performed at the White House for Barack and Michelle Obama and were finalists on NBC’s The Sing-Off. The award-winning group has released seven albums so far.
While Six13 sing regular songs as well, they have written numerous other parody tunes over the years, including 2014’s “Chanukah” set to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” the 2015 adaptation of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” called “Uptown Passover,” and 2017’s “That Shabbos Feeling!” based on Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”