|A still from Judy Garland Christmas Special|
|The incomparable (and Jewish) Mel Torme, singing here with Judy Garland. Torme penned the iconic "The Christmas Song."|
As an American Jew in December, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. After all, Christmas is a very important Christian holiday, while for Jews, Hanukkah isn't even in the top three. Everywhere you look there is a light display, nativity scene, or TV whacko reminding you that the vast majority of your fellow countrymen don't share your religious beliefs. But turn on the radio, and the sappy "Christmas" songs you hear every year are mostly secular. And guess what? Many of those songs were written by Jews, who were often recent immigrants or their children. So these Jewish songwriters, while trying ton integrate into an at-times hostile society, wrote some of the most timeless holiday songs, focusing not on divinity but on universal experiences like missing loved ones during the holidays and the sweet smell of roasted chestnuts. So the following songs, all written by Jews, are not just celebrations of the most unifying parts of the holiday season -- family and togetherness -- but a triumph of the American melting pot immigrant experience. In honor of the first night of Hanukkah, here are the eight best Christmas songs written by Jews.
P.S.: The worst Christmas song ever, "Do They Know It's Christmas," was not written by a Jew. One of the song's writers, Bob Geldof, has a Jewish paternal grandmother, but Geldof told a magazine that he currently practices no religion. Whew.More »