I’m Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas

“White Christmas” . . .

. . . was written by Irving Berlin (Israel Isidore Baline), who was Jewish.

“The Christmas Song” (AKA “Chestnuts Roasting on and Open Fire”) . . .

. . . was written by Bob Wells (Robert Levinson), Mel Tormé (Melvin Howard Tormé), both of whom were Jewish.

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” . . .

. . . was written by Kim Gannon, an Irish-American, and Walter Kent, who was Jewish.

Johnny Marks, another Jewish songwriter, wrote several Christmas songs, including “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” based on a character his brother-in-law, copywriter Robert Lee May, also Jewish, created to promote the Montgomery Ward department store.

Marks later produced a sequel, “Run Rudolph Run,” which I always thought was written as well as performed by Chuck Berry:

Marks also wrote “A Holly Jolly Christmas” . . .

. . . and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”:

In 1963, Jewish producer Phil Spector released A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, a whole album of seasonal songs, new and old, including “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home Soon)” . . .

. . . written by Ellie Greenwich (though her father was Catholic, she has said she was raised Jewish by her mother and her extended family),  Jeff Barry and Phil Spector, all Jewish.

Granted, these are all secular, not religious, songs associated with the holiday, but why shouldn’t Jesus’s birthday party have music by fellow Jews?

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One thought on “I’m Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas

  1. Great post, Mark.
    There is also, if I might add, the beloved hymn “Cantique de Noel” – O Holy Night, that was written by French wine merchant and poet, Placide Cappeau in 1847. Cappeau was believed to be an atheist and professing socialist. The music that accompanied the poem was composed by his friend, Adolphe Charles Adams – a Jew. The song was embraced initially, until details about the writer and composer were discovered; then it was regarded as unfit for church services.
    Today, everyone from Mariah Carey to Sufjan Stevens performs O Holy Night. I’ll stick with the classic by Josh Groban https://youtu.be/MIFH0TUWcBA

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