Are Jewish composers of classic Christmas songs resented by Christians?

Darlene Love fronts Saturday Night Live's, Rob Smigel's Phil Spector-esque, "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer-style music video," from Saturday TV Funhouse - "Christmas-time for the Jews"

Since Bing Crosby crooned Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" in 1941, Jewish songwriters and singers have played an integral role in the creation of new Christmas music year in and year out.

Writer Nate Bloom has run down the roster of classic Christmas songs written or co-written by Jews for the Judaic website Interfaithfamily.com, and beyond "White Christmas," the list includes "Winter Wonderland," "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Sleigh Ride," "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!," Johnny Marks' "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and "A Holly Jolly Christmas," among dozens of others. Books have been written on the topic as well. (L.A. Times)

Nate Bloom addresses Christian-voiced dis-satisfaction with this news:
"This year, two op-ed pieces have directed attention back to Jewish writers of Christmas songs. First, Michael Feinstein, a singer and pianist who works to keep the songs of the Great American Songbook alive, wrote "Whose Christmas Is It?" for the New York Times. At a recent Christmas concert, the board of the orchestra with whom he was singing complained that Feinstein's program was "too Jewish," because the singer had mentioned the Jewish background of some of the songwriters. His reflective article contains more information about which Jewish songwriters did not write Christmas songs, and why.  ...
In a spasm of curmudgeonly upset over a revised version of "Silent Night" he encountered in a Unitarian Universalist Church in Cambridge, Mass., Keilor took it on himself to insult Unitarian beliefs in a more comprehensive way, and while he was at it, to complain about:
...all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write "Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we'll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah"? No, we didn't. Christmas is a Christian holiday - if you're not in the club, then buzz off.
Not sure what this has to do with one church's rendition of "Silent Night," which, though rumors have floated around about it, was not written by a Jew. Perhaps the culture wars are not quite over. Happy holidays, Mr. Keillor. (IFF's editor is hoping for the loafers/shofar song to get wide airplay in September--though with that kind of slant rhyme, Keillor is clearly no Irving Berlin)."

No comments: