idelsohn society

Hanukkah commemorates the reclaiming of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt. It is not some kind of Jewish Christmas.

Still, with lights, prayers and gifts in December, Hanukkah tends to get wrapped up in the ball of snow and tinsel as Christmas. But Hanukkah has its own songs — though maybe not nearly as many as Christmas.

On Saturday, the eve of Hanukkah, NPR’s Scott Simon took the opportunity to open up the songbook with Josh Kun, co-founder of the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation. They talk the history of the Hanukkah song — from its 19th-century rebranding to the rethinking of old standards today.

Beyond The Dreidel: The Songs Of Hanukkah — And How They’ve Changed

Photo: George Pickow/Getty Images