This post is brought to you by Ron Gold.
Would you believe someone if they told you that a Mormon senator from Utah just wrote a Hanukkah song? Well, it’s true:
Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a solemn-faced Republican with a soft spot for Jews and a love of Barbra Streisand, has penned a catchy holiday tune, “Eight Days of Hanukkah.”
The video was posted Tuesday night on Tablet, an online magazine of Jewish lifestyle and culture, just in time for Hanukkah.
Known around the Senate as a prolific writer of Christian hymns and patriotic melodies, Mr. Hatch, 75, said this was his first venture into Jewish music. It will not be his last.
As far as I can tell, this is the first time a Christian has written a Hanukkah song (though granted, the only other Hanukkah song I know is “The Dreidel Song.”) On the surface, this doesn’t seem that strange; after all, Irving Berlin, a Jew, wrote “White Christmas.” But with Senator Hatch, his fondness for Judaism is a bit creepy:
“Anything I can do for the Jewish people, I will do,” Mr. Hatch said in an interview before heading to the Senate floor to debate an abortion amendment. “Mormons believe the Jewish people are the chosen people, just like the Old Testament says.”
In short, he loves the Jews. And based on an early sampling of listeners, the feeling could be mutual.
Mr. Hatch speaks of “Eight Days of Hanukkah” as a gift to the Jewish people. “This song means more to me than most of the songs I have ever written,” he said. “People need to know the story of Hanukkah. It was a miracle.”
Hatch went on to say “I feel sorry I’m not Jewish sometimes.”
Am I the only one who finds that comment unsettling? Maybe it’s my atheistic perspective, but I find it very odd that a committed Mormon would have such a huge crush on another religion. It’s one thing to respect another religion, though it’s quite another thing to get all giddy over it. And as far non-believers go, I’ve know some who respect faith, but never one who acts like a groupie towards a religion.
Or maybe, to be more cynical, Hatch supports the Jews because he thinks they need to control the Holy Land as a prerequisite for the Second Coming. I really don’t know.
(Don’t forget to watch the “Eight Days of Hanukkah” music video. It’s actually not so bad.)