Bubby, Let’s Celebrate – Not Baby, Let’s Dance

Like a lot of you I have just heard about the sixteen year old pop singer Lauren Rose who has made a remake of the the song Hava Nagila. She is hoping that it will win a contest in Britain to be held on December 25.

I saw a video of it thanks to Ezzie. At first I laughed – the song I remember being played at Bar Mitzvah’s and weddings when I was a kid being done in a modern beat was intriguing. Then I stopped laughing. Rose has added a few “additions” to the song – namely, “baby, let’s dance” and a few references to “moving your body” and “letting go”. Add to this the fact that she is dancing in a miniskirt, and a number of the other female dancers are not modestly dressed either – and it becomes rather upsetting and not funny.

Hava Nagila means “let’s celebrate”. It was traditionally performed at family celebrations like weddings and bar mitzvahs for a reason – because it reflected the honest happiness of marking another milestone, with family and friends. For Jews who appreciate life and the moments of joy that go with it, in contrast to the many tragedies both personal and collective that we have had to suffer, this song was symbolic. And it had absolutely nothing to do with sex.

I remember my bubby dancing to this song at a family simcha when I was a teenager. I remember rolling my eyes when the orchestra started playing it, because at that age it seemed embarrasingly old fashioned. At the same time I could not ignore the genuine joy that this song reflected.

The song is supposed to be about simcha (happiness), not sleaze. I, for one, hope that the song doesn’t win any contests.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jack
    Dec 21, 2007 @ 17:32:56

    I didn’t see it as being sleazy. In fact I found it relatively boring. Obviously we sit on different sides of the mechitza about some things, but…

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