I admit it, I am joking about my rage and my delay in writing was more a function of time than anger. I found the whole presentation quite hilarious. You see Orrin Hatch has written songs for many groups and people, including Senator Ted Kennedy and now included his latest tribute to the Jewish people. I did find it funny that Conan picked the portion of the video where Orrin looked the most out of his element. Orrin wrote the lyrics to the song and lyrics were written by Madeline Stone. The piece was supported by Tablet Magazine a Jewish publication.
To conclude I quote from the article written about the stories:
And so it was a very American day in a recording studio on West 54th Street in Manhattan when we gathered to hear Rasheeda sing. In one small room were Bliss; Madeline Stone, a Jewish songwriter who writes contemporary Christian music in Nashville; a crew of downtown Jews from Tablet Magazine; Hatch's chief of staff, Jace Johnson, who didn't seem to know exactly what he was doing there, but was very nice about the whole episode; and Hatch himself, who sang background vocals and even showed us the mezuzah he wears under his shirt. Hatch, like many Mormons, is something of a philo-Semite, and though he is under no illusions about Jewish political leanings in America--he told me that though he likes Barbra Streisand very much, he's fairly sure she doesn't like him--he possesses a heartfelt desire to reach out to Jews.
Hatch said he hoped his song would be understood not only as a gift to the Jewish people but that it would help bring secular Jews to a better understanding of their own holiday. "I know a lot of Jewish people that don't know what Hanukkah means," he said. Jewish people, he said, should "take a look at it and realize the miracle that's being commemorated here. It's more than a miracle; it's the solidification of the Jewish people."
He's right. Without Judah Maccabee's militant intervention in 167 BCE, the Syrian program of forced Hellenization might have brought about a premature end to the Jewish story. But, for such a pivotal figure, Judah Maccabee is one of the more misunderstood leaders in Jewish history. He was not, for one thing, a paragon of tolerance. One of contradictions of Hanukkah--an unexplored contradiction in our culture's anodyne understanding of the holiday--is that the Maccabee brothers were fighting not for the principle of religious freedom but only for their own particular religion's freedom. Their understanding of liberty did not extend even--or especially--to the Hellenized Jews of Israel's coastal plains. The Maccabees were rough Jews from the hill country of Judea. They would be amused, if they were capable of amusement, to learn that their revolt would one day be remembered as a struggle for a universal civil right.
But Hanukkah doesn't belong simply to Judah Maccabee. Each generation finds new meanings in this holiday. The Zionist revolution, for instance, led to a revolution in the way the story of the Maccabees--previously a source of ambivalence in the Diaspora--was interpreted. And of course, the Hanukkah story doesn't belong merely to Jews. Judah Maccabee is a hero to many Christians: If there had been no Judah, Judaism might have disappeared; no Judah and no Judaism would have meant no Jesus.
And no Judah would have meant no Mormon senator in a studio with an Arab singer and a bunch of New York Jewish background vocalists recording a Hanukkah song of his own making. To my mind, at least, this counts as a minor American miracle.
Here is the entire episode:
Here is the complete article behind the song by Orrin Hatch: