“national anthem of jewishness”

by tobybee

There’s a new doco coming out, called ‘Hava Nagilah: What Is It?’ And they have an excellent, highly entertaining (and educational!) short clip that can be watched. It looks like a super-interesting doco, with some great lines (the song represents ‘Jews [being] willing to leave their food to go to the dancefloor’), some interesting speakers and some amazing clips of all sorts of people singing and vamping their way through hava nagilah. The premise of the doco is to explore where the song came from (it was originally a hassidic song, sung lowly and mournfully, it turns out), and how it has achieved the level of dominance that it has in America today (they claim that it is one of the most covered songs of all time). I do wonder how transnational this dominance is: I’m not sure that the song has achieved the same level of prominence in Australia. But as a window into the ways in which jewish things have moved into the American mainstream, and at the ways in which cultural products can (and necessarily do) have their meanings changed in different historical times and places, this looks like it’s going to be an excellent doco…

They’re looking for money to help, so if you’d like to donate, or want to find more info, go here

*hat-tip to Dave Slucki