Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Chanukah Rap, Unwrapped


I love, love, love words. But - - boy howdy - -  an image will really grab you. Like this one:

Rows of lights shine down. An ovoid shape, rather like a chalice, hovers over the scene, topped by what looks like the candle flames of a menorah. Out of those flames a man in a white suit with a black hat and a microphone is holding forth. Preaching? Singing? 

I don’t know.

Chabad Lubavitch of Howard County presents 

Chanukah On Ice at Color Burst Park

Thursday, December 22nd at 5 pm.

Over at the Chabad Lubavitch of Howard County Facebook page I learn that this year’s Chanukah On Ice will feature rap artist Nissim Black. Ah, so he’s the central figure in the image above. Chanukah rap? I’m going to admit ignorance on that front. Off to Google I go.

Well! Someone has Chabad has been doing their homework. The first entry on the page is their Chanukah event.

 And here’s an article from The Times of Israel online:

Jewish hip-hop royalty take ‘Chanukah song’ to NY streets, Philissa Cramer, November 2021

Yes, that Chanukah Song. The one by Adam Sandler. Only this is an entirely new take. 

Nissim Black and Kosha Dillz are two of the best-known Jewish rappers making music today. Black is a Black American and Hasidic Jew who moved to Israel in 2016, while Dillz is the stage name of Israeli-American rapper Rami Even-Esh.

Take a listen. It’s The Chanukah Song 2.0. 

Black is a convert to Judaism. His conversion story, which begins in Seattle, Washington and brings him to Jerusalem, sounds like a compelling life journey. It also has appeal to the folks at HBO Max who are developing a comedy series based on his life. Honestly, there’s a lot going on here.

Nissim Black is a superstar in the world of Orthodox Jewish Rap. He’s described as a Hasidic hip-hop star. And he’s coming to Columbia, Maryland on December 22nd. Learn more at the event page. Register for tickets here.

I’m a bit confused by their categories for what is billed as a free concert, but, maybe this makes sense to you.

(It does say that the VIP Ticket includes an invitation for two to a VIP Chanukah Dinner and a photo with Nissim Black.)

There’s so much in this story that is new to me. I don’t know very much about how Chanukah is celebrated other than family celebrations at home. I’m unfamiliar with Jewish rap music. And, while I knew that Black people are sometimes Jewish, that’s about all I know. Period.

Most Americans make the assumption that Jewish people are not Black. Clearly that’s not the case.  I’ve realized that my initial reaction to this event had a lot to do with my own assumptions or lack of prior knowledge. The poster which looked rather alien and otherworldly to me may make complete sense to someone else who is able to put all that usual information in context.

Just for fun, here are photos from last year’s Chanukah On Ice

Wait, there was one last year, too? There sure is a lot going on in Columbia/HoCo. 

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