There’s a long history of Jewish artists releasing parody songs for Hanukkah, but this year’s most catchy addition to the holiday canon may be Oakland native Daveed Diggs’ new rap, “Puppy for Hanukkah.”
The song — about a kid hoping to receive a puppy as a present — is set against a klezmer-style clarinet melody and includes a recitation of the blessing over the menorah.
“I don’t know what it means but I learned it phonetic,” Diggs says after reciting the blessing in Hebrew.
Diggs is best known for his starring roles as the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the original cast of the megahit musical “Hamilton,” which also premiered in a recorded stage version on Disney+ this summer. Diggs is Jewish and attended Hebrew school as a kid.
“My mom is a white Jewish lady and my dad is black,” Diggs told Broadway.com in 2015. “The cultures never seemed separate — I had a lot of mixed friends. When I was young, I identified with being Jewish, but I embraced my dad’s side, too.”
“Puppy for Hanukkah” stars three kids lip-syncing the lyrics sung by Diggs. The song follows the eight days of Hanukkah as the kids hope for a puppy and instead receive gifts of socks, hats, mittens and even an umbrella. Finally on the eighth night, the kids receive the prized puppy, which they name Monica because, of course, it rhymes with Hanukkah.