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Finally, we can move on from ‘Dreidel Dreidel’ — a true Hanukkah bop has dropped

In the past few weeks, I’ve written about everything wrong with Hanukkah today — kitschy merchandise, Christmasification, the Maccabees. So as we approach the end of the eight nights, I wanted to finish on a sweeter note: a pop anthem made for the holiday that, in my humble opinion, does everything right.

“Hanukkah” comes from Static and Ben El, an Israeli pop duo that produces reliably danceable and substance-free bangers which regularly top the charts in Israel. To be clear, their music is not “good” in any elevated sense, musically or lyrically. But they are fun, which is all they’re ever trying to be.

There are ugly Hanukkah sweaters and bad dancing. Everyone is constantly sprinkling powdered sugar onto sufganiyot. Ben El sits in a bathtub filled with chocolate gelt. A whole verse of the song confusingly mentions every Jewish holiday but Hanukkah. It’s unapologetically trashy and goofy and brightly colored and perfect.

But there’s actually a little — just a little — bit more substance to the song than usual. The opening scene, before the song begins, sees Static and Ben El watching TV together. “Stat — there’s nothing to watch, it’s all Christmas,” says Ben El, sounding dejected. He heaves a sigh and gets up. “Come on, let’s light the Hanukkah candles.”

Static looks up. “This year, I wish Hanukkah would be the coolest holiday,” he says.

Cue the pop music, mansion and backup dancers. Throughout the song, they compare Hanukkah to Christmas, and say they don’t need gifts and a tree to have fun; they have chocolate gelt and the whole country lit up in celebration. Who knows if they’re being ironic — is it all a dream sequence? — or if they truly believe lighting the hanukkiah is incredibly fun, but honestly, who cares? The song is a romp.

It’s somewhat surprising that even in Israel, where very few people celebrate Christmas, people still feel its encroaching pressure. But Static and Ben El are doing their part in the war on Christmas — thanks to them, Hanukkah might actually be the coolest holiday this year.


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