A New Hanukkah Miracle!

By Amy Goodman,
How a small college a cappella group became a viral sensation

What do Adam Sandler and the Yeshiva University a capella group, The Maccabeats, have in common? A hit Hanukkah song!

The only Hanukkah song that could be considered modern was Adam Sandler’s "The Chanukah Song." Until now.

This year, a few fresh-faced college students put out a music video to their song, "Candlelight," a spoof of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite.” It features the singers of the group in multiple screens, as well as a battle between the Jews and the Greeks, and a Hanukkah get-together.

The video, directed by medical student Uri Westrich, went viral with over two million hits in 10 days. The group has been featured on The Early Show and Today, and has been played on Z100 and WPLJ. They are also being asked to join a record label.

The group, now nationally known, is not exactly new. The four-year-old group already has a CD out, available on iTunes, that sold about 5,000 copies. It includes traditional religious songs, the Disney classic “Go the Distance,” and original songs, including a religious song to the tune of “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley.

What’s been one of the best aspects of the experience for the group? They seem to be fulfilling a mitzvah -- a religious good deed. As lyricist Immanuel Shalev puts it, “One of the central components of Hanukkah is to publicize the miracle that happened.”



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