lessons can be learned from a little song. this little song is the perfect example of how ten commandments values can be effectively promoted in the public arena. in the united states, the first amendment provides for religious liberty. the first amendment also provides a prohibition from government sanctioned religion. thus, the challenge for those wishing to promote ten commandments values is to figure out a strategy to promote them within the constraints. the song that will be discussed provides a brilliant blueprint.
as this is holiday time, schools, under an ordinary year, would be having holiday celebrations and holiday concerts. christmas is the key focal point of these celebrations. due to first amendment issues, the focus on christmas must be tempered. chanukah, a minor jewish holiday, runs contemporaneously in the winter season and occurs close inn time with christmas. as a result, the two holidays have become attached. they do have some similarities as they share in common notions of gift giving and parties.
public schools walk on a tightrope when it deals with holiday season and not coming off as being an advocate of religion. thus, having an additional non-christmas holidays to be celebrated offers them politically correct coverage from being accused of promoting christianity.
the holiday concert is a staple at public schools. having played an musical instrument, i have fond memories of participating in many of them. at these concerts, along with a number of christmas songs, a chanukah song or two is performed. chanukah songs can be tricky. for those unfamiliar with the hebrew language, it has the dreaded gutteral “chuh” sound. this is the first letter in the hebrew word for chanukah. due to the language issue people just spell it out with a “h.” thus, the spelling “hanukah” solves the problem.
lory jagoda, an american from bosnia, and a folk singer/song writer wrote the perfect song to avoid the dreaded “chuh” sound. she penned a chanukah song in ladino which is a language derived from old spanish. as a result of her brilliance, we have a wonderful spanish language chanukah song entitled “ocho candalikas.” [eight candles.]
the song is simple. it talks about candles, parties and eating pastries. it gets the singers to count to eight in spanish. what could be better? for educators, it is a great song. it is non-offensive and brings people together.
the song, however, is complex. children will wonder “how can a jewish chanukah song be in spanish?” these children, from this song, can learn how two fabulous cultures combined together to produce a beautiful song. the children can perhaps learn about a cultural history that they may have been completely unaware of and would most likely not been taught in a public school.
thus, it is quite possible to take the simple that can have a layer of rich complexity. this is something that is something within the realm of talented artists. within the ten commandments realm, there is the famous spiritual that has been transformed into educational programming. you can click to see how it is being offered up. “let my people go.” to promote ten commandment values in the public arena, we need to find resources or develop resources that can bring valuable messages to students in need of hearing them.
for those who have never heard the “ocho candalikas” song, here are links to various performances of the song. the first is ms. jagoda performing. the second a music video that is a little edgy version. enjoy!
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