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Chanukah Briefs

Jack Black and Haim among those to join Hanukkah album

(JNS) A holiday-inspired music album titled “Hanukkah+,” released on Nov. 22, features a collection of Jewish classics and originals from artists including Haim, the Flaming Lips, Jack Black and Yo La Tengo, Rolling Stone reported.


The album, produced by Grammy-winning music supervisor Randall Poster, will be released via Verve Forecast, with a vinyl release following on Dec. 13.

Among the songs with be a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s 1984 track “If It Be Your Will” by Haim and Woody Guthrie’s “Hanukkah Dance” sung by Watkins Family Hour. Other artists wrote and recorded original songs for the album. 

The collection was inspired in part by
Yo La Tengo’s annual eight-night concert series “Hanukkah Run.”

“When our old friend Randy Poster asked us to contribute to an album of Hanukkah songs he was putting together, we were kind of stumped,” Yo La Tengo said in a statement. “As non-practicing Jews (and non-Jews), truthfully the holiday has little meaning for us, but we were open to inspiration. We thought maybe another friend, Sam Elwitt, could crack the code, and we think he did a fantastic job with his composition ‘Eight Candles.’ ”


Canadian mail gets a little brighter this Hanukkah

(JNS) Canadians hoping to add a little Hanukkah decor to their envelopes or gift packages this year are in luck, as Canada Post has issued a new holiday stamp to its roster this year.

The new stamp was created by Lionel Gadoury, principal and director of strategy and creative services at Context Creative in Toronto.

His illustration features a white menorah on a background shaded in blues and purples, and flickering yellow flames.

It is meant to explore “the relationship between light and dark,” Canada Post explained in a release. “Combining a stylized menorah with layered patterns and nuanced hues that range from bright yellow to deep purple, the intent is to evoke a sense of reflection and contemplation.”


This isn’t the first time that Canada Post has issued a Hanukkah-themed stamp.

They did so back in 2017 and, prior to that, had a limited number of Hanukkah stamps, created through the company’s “Picture Postage” custom stamp service. Those, however, were available only in select markets.

The Hanukkah stamp (CNW Group/Canada Post)

In addition to Hanukkah and Christmas stamps, which have been offered in Canada since 1964, Canada Post also offers stamps for the Muslim and Hindu holidays of Eid and Diwali, respectively.

“We are very much aware of the changing demographics in Canada, and our stamp program is continuously evolving to ensure that we reflect the cultural diversity of our country,” said a spokesperson.

As for postal customers in the United States, the U.S. Postal Service continues to make Hanukkah-themed “Forever” stamps available.

Two designs are currently available for purchase, including a 2018 design featuring a silver menorah on a blue background and framed with green motifs that was issued in conjunction with Israel Post. The other design, from 2016, features lit menorah in front of a window set against a snowy winter backdrop.


Hallmark Channel set to premiere Hanukkah movies for first time

 (JNS) The Hallmark Channel will premiere its first two Hanukkah-themed movies next month in honor of the eight-day Jewish holiday, which this year starts on Dec. 22, the New York Post reported.

“Our audience is very vocal, and they tell us when they’d like to see more of something,” said Michelle Vicary, Crown Media’s executive vice president of programming. “We’ve heard over the years that they would like to see [a Hanukkah movie] if a script came in that we liked. And that happened this year—twice.”

The first film, “Holiday Date,” airs on Dec. 14 and follows Brooke, a woman who experiences a breakup shortly before a trip to introduce her boyfriend to her family for Christmas. She instead goes home with Joel, a Jewish actor who will pose as her boyfriend. Since he has never celebrated Christmas, drama, of course, ensues.

“Unfortunately, they have not discussed if he knows all the traditions,” said Vicary. “As the family becomes more suspicious whether he knows how to celebrate, our two leads begin to fall for each other.”

The second Hanukkah movie, “Double Holiday,” airs on Dec. 22. It’s about a Jewish woman named Rebecca whose Hanukkah plans are disrupted when her boss asks her to team up with her rival to plan their office holiday party together.

Vicary said about the characters, “They learn that while the traditions and celebrations are different, the feelings of holiday and celebration and family and togetherness are the same.”

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