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Classical Music

Classical Classroom, Episode 31: The Music Of Hanukkah (Chanuka? Hanuka?) With Cantor Benjamin Matis

It’s the last day of Hanukkah. Celebrate one last time by learning about the music of Hanukkah in this episode of Classical Classroom.



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2013 was – I think we can all agree – a magical year. It was the year of the arthouse film Sharknado, the year of the Harlem Shake, and the year that Justin Bieber was separated from his pet monkey. But more important than any of those moments? Thanksgivukkah happened. Learn all about this phenomenon, about the history of Hanukkah, and about the music of the holiday in this Classical Classroom episode from the vault.


Cantor Benjamin Matis
Courtesy of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center website.
Cantor Benjamin Matis

Happy Thanksgivukkah everyone! That’s right: the Julian and the Hebrew calendars have aligned this year to create a day even more amazing than Hanukkah and more delicious than Thanksgiving. There won’t be another until the year 79811! To honor this rare occasion, Cantor Benjamin Matis of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center in Roslyn, New York in Long Island schools us on the history and music of Hanukkah.

Audio production by Todd "Toddfurky" Hulslander with a side of help and gravy from Dacia Clay.

Music in this episode includes:

  • John Williams' Star Wars (Main Theme)
  • Ma'oz Tzur (Ashkenazi and Sephardic versions)
  • George Frideric Handel's Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63)
  • Richard Tucker singing "Sound an Alarm" (Judas Maccabaeus)
  • David Paskin, The Ballad of Thanksgivukkah
  • Aaaand, of course, this gem: