Chag sameach! It’s officially Hanukkah and it’s time to take out the dreidels, fry some latkes, and light the candles.
Sometimes, however, it can be hard to get in the Hanukkah spirit — especially if you’re away from friends and family this season — when you hear Christmas music blasting everywhere you go. While some are bops, we wanna know where the Hanukkah songs are at!
Well, here they are! We are ranking the best Hanukkah songs of all time to keep you vibing and jamming all eight days.
8. Hanukkah Medley By Julia Lester (High School Musical The Series: The Holiday Special)
Wow! I am just grateful that I didn’t get carpal tunnel syndrome just from writing that title. I am not going to lie here, the grip that this show (and the Olivia Rodrigo/Joshua Basset drama) had on me in 2020 is tighter than the grip the Greeks had on the Jews (see I know the Hanukkah story…).
I like what they tried to do here, I do. And Julia Lester is a Haunukkah sweater rocking, singing Jewish queen of coolness. Yet, something about it falls short. It just isn’t a fresh enough take of the same old Hebrew school songs I’ve sung over and over and over again. Somehow it feels that all Julia Lester has done was make them more difficult to sing with her impressive powerhouse notes and vocals.
Ugh, I hate when I compliment something when I’m trying to insult it, but you see my point. “Hanukkah Medley” is good for listening to — not so good for singing along to. That’s why it’s number eight on our list.
7. The Hanukkah Song By Adam Sandler
I know this take is going to get me kicked out as a blog writer for Lost Tribe, but if there is one thing I learned from the Hanukkah story it’s that I’ve got to be true to myself — and I can’t get into this song.
Who celebrates Hanukkah in Santa Monica? Rhyming Marijuana with Hanukkah is such a cop-out! Listen, if I wanted a list of famous Jewish celebrities, I would just look at my list of potential husbands: Timothee Chalatmet, Pete Davidson, Logan Lerman, Paul Rudd… You see — no song required!
6. White Christmas By Irving Berlin (AKA Israel Beilin)
Making bank off writing delightful Christmas music as a Jew? We stan an entrepreneur. Ok? So I do not want to hear any complaints about me including Christmas songs in my Hanukkah playlist. I like snow! Just change the word Christmas to Hanukkah in your mind — you won’t even notice the difference!
5. Puppy For Hanukkah By Daveed Diggs
This song is such a bop and I am such a fan of Daveed Diggs (if you don’t know he is then I am so sorry that you do not know that the unbelievable original Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in the musical Hamilton is a proud Jew!
The only reason why this song is not higher on the list is because I have asked my parents for a puppy for Hanukkah for every year of my whole life and I have never gotten one, so yes, maybe I am a little jealous of Daveed Diggs…
4. If It Be Your Will By Haim
I am a big believer that we deserve our pretty, somber, Hanukkah tunes just as much as our fun jamming out tunes — think our “Silent Night” as compared to “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” both great songs just highly different.
Haim, my favorite all female Jewish rock-band, covers “If It Be Your Will” beautifully. I highly recommend you go give this one a listen.
3. Happy Hanukkah By Matisyahu
I must confess I have only heard this song because my non-Jewish friend (I have more than one, I swear, but you get what I mean) sings it non-stop and I finally had to check it out for myself. Matisyahu, notable singer of “One Day,” has hit the mark with this one. It is upbeat, catchy, and festive. I am ready for this one to hit the radio!
2. Hanerot Halalu By Josh Warshawsky
Hanerot Halalu (הנרות הללו), which translates to “these candles,” is taken directly from the ancient text of our Talmud (Soferim 20:6) and seeks to sanctify the nature of the Hanukkah candles because they symbolize the miracle of Hanukkah.
Josh Warshawsky has written and sings an absolutely remarkable tune to these words. Now, I know this one can be hard to get behind — it is the only one of the songs included not sung in English — but please trust me when I say that whether or not you understand Hebrew this song is absolutely lovely to hear.
I first heard Josh Warshawsky sing when he visited my camp at Camp Ramah in the Poconos and I have been an avid fan ever since. I highly recommend that you start listening to him and become a fan as well. You won’t regret it.
Honorable Mention: Candlelight By Maccabeats
The Maccabeats have become a cultural icon thanks to their incredible acapella talent. They were formed in 2007 as a student vocal group at Yeshiva University but have exploded online. They currently have 20 million views on YouTube, with this song being the viral hit that got them international recognition. From synogauges to JCCs to jazz clubs, The Maccabeats have continued to have sold out performances thanks to their blend of Jewish humor and innovative acapella techniques.
1. Xmas Fomo By Jordana Lily
This song really feels like it comes straight from my sad Christmas music listening, string lights adoring, Chinese food eating Jewish American self. I mean, Jordana Lily gets it.
Not only that, but this song is such a blast to listen to. One listen and you’ll be singing it all day long! So long to your days of wishing “Last Christmas” and “Santa Baby” were written for us — instead vibe to the playful, catchy, pop song that was! Jordana Lily is here and ready to take the crown as the Mariah Carey for Hanukkah.
So what are you waiting for? Blast these songs as you hang up your Hanukkah decorations or at your next ugly Hanukkah sweater party! Intermingle a few of these with your favorite Christmas songs! We don’t care! And please remember to keep in mind the real miracle of Hanukkah, that I hopefully managed to spell Hanukkah the same way throughout this blog post…
Like what you heard? Hungry for latkes and more music? Check out all of the songs listed here and more at this link: Lost Tribe Hanukkah.