Idina Menzel Releases Holiday Album With Two Hanukkah Songs
A new holiday album by Jewish singer and actress Idina Menzel includes two Hanukkah songs, one of which she performed last week at New York’s famous Carnegie Hall.
The Tony Award winner and “Frozen II” star recently released an album called “Christmas: A Season of Love,” her second holiday album to date.
One Hanukkah tune on the 18-track album, titled “Walker’s 3rd Hanukkah,” is the audio of Menzel and her 10-year-old son, Walker, saying the Hebrew blessing for lighting Hanukkah candles.
Menzel, who also stars in this month’s film “Uncut Gems,” explained in the track description, “I was trying to teach him what the prayer was to light the candles for the menorah at Hanukkah. I want people to feel that it’s very personal and they can relate to it no matter what religion and how they celebrate.”
She told the Jewish Journal that although she’s “not too religious,” she tried to continue practicing Jewish traditions with her family.
“It was always a special time when the family would get together and light the menorah,” she added. “There were tough times in my teenage years when my parents divorced and the holidays became a little more complicated for my sister and I. I get to sort of rewrite all of that now that I’m a mother and define what those traditions are with my son, which is really a gift.”
The second Hanukkah song on the album, “Ocho Kandelikas,” is in Ladino, a Jewish language of Latin origin also called Judeo-Spanish.
The song’s title translates to “Eight Little Candles” and it was written by Sephardic composer Flory Jagoda in 1983, according to the website Hey Alma.
Menzel performed “Ocho Kandelikas,” which has some English verses, live during her Carnegie Hall concert on Dec. 11 and showed off some of her dance moves on stage with her husband Aaron Lohr.
Menzel talked in a recent interview about celebrating Christmas, saying, “Even though I’m a Jewish girl, I grew up being envious of Christmas. My husband celebrates Christmas, so now I get to celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.”