Do You Know What I Know? [PHIL-OSOPHY]
The title is a take-off on the Christmas song, "Do You Hear What I Hear?" You can hum it while I tell you about one of my favorite guests, Maestro Yaniv Dinur, Music Director of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra.
We were talking about the family holiday pops virtual concert Saturday, December 19 at 3:30 pm. I was mentioning various Christmas songs, and Yaniv, who is celebrating Hanukkah, agreed that many of the classics were written by Jewish songwriters. Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas" and Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn co-wrote "Let It Snow."
It just wouldn't be the same without the sounds of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Holly Jolly Christmas," and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," all written by Johnny Marks, who was Jewish.
But then, I happened to mention that "Do You Hear What I Hear," written by the husband-wife duo of Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne – with Christmas sounding names to boot – was actually about the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, not a little drummer boy! The part about the star with "a tail as big as a kite" isn't about the Star of Bethlehem, but rather the tail of a flying missile across the night sky.
That's when Yaniv asked me a very interesting question about whether or not there's a takeaway that Jewish songwriters created some of the most favorite Christmas tunes, and that a carol we've always affiliated with the Star of Bethlehem was verily about infernal war rockets?
I answered by saying that from the dawn of time, everyone has been a part of the identic race of humanity and that if we practiced a little more, we could eventually grow in symphony with one and the same.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.