Saturday, December 27, 2014

Gladys, Naomi and My Great Hanukkah Memory

When I was around 9, Mrs. Korman, our Music teacher taught us the Hanukkah song at PS 41.  That year during the Hanukkah season, my Aunt Harriet, who was also my tap dance teacher took me and a few other students to do a performance at a primarily Jewish nursing home.  She insisted my cousin and I sing the Hanukkah song for the residents.  I’m not sure how Aunt Harriet even knew that we knew that song, it may have been because I was always singing anything and everything all the time!  And that song was so joyful and bouncy.

I remember we sang the song with great gusto and got a standing ovation afterwards.  The lovely people there hugged us afterwards and gave us cookies.  They said we made their day and brought smiles to their faces.  Here we were, two little black girls from the Bronx who had no idea what we were really singing about joined hands with elderly Jewish people in a time of cross cultural celebration – a song really can bring people together.  Maybe we should sing more and talk less!  Well today I know the true meaning of Hanukkah, and I am blessed because of it.  

Music has the ability to transcend all... The Lord Himself, sings over us as stated in scripture.  Right after I posted this on Facebook, a friend sent me this amazing video of a Jewish woman so determined to be a blessing to those who were suffering from Alzheimer that she would sing to them. Naomi Feil even sang Christian songs to Gladys Wilson a woman with no memory, locked inside her own mind, due to the ravages of the disease.  But through Naomi's singing a miracle occurred...

The power or music and the power of love, and the ultimate power of God.  Over 30 years later I still remember every lyric to the Hanukkah Song...

The Hanukkah Song

Hanukkah oh, Hanukkah
Come light the Menorah
Let’s have a party will all dance the Horah
Gather round the table,
We’ll give you a treat!

Shiny tops to play with
Latkes to eat!

And as we are playing
The candles are burning low
One for each night,
They shed a sweet light

To remind us of days long ago…