A friend of mine recently pointed me in the direction of an online magazine entitled Tablet: a New Read on Jewish Life. Our conversation focused on their recent list Song of Songs, or the 100 greatest Jewish songs ever. I was happy to hear that old standbys like Hava Nagila and If I were a Rich Man made the list. But what was the all-time top Jewish song? “Number one,” he told me, “is Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” A fantastic choice from a classic movie! – though we weren’t exactly sure why. “Maybe,” he offered with a shrug, “they just liked it?”
Well, it turns out the song was written by a Jew- a cantor’s son no less!- and has been used as an allegory for a Jewish longing for a homeland. But the question stuck a bit- if a Jewish magazine REALLY likes a song, and relates to it in a Jewish way… has the song become Jewish?
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