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WRTI Presents Beloved Specials and a Beautiful, Uplifting Soundtrack for Hanukkah

Celebrate Hanukkah with WRTI!

You're invited to experience the music of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, with WRTI. The holiday lasts for eight days, and this year it begins at sundown on Sunday, November 28th —just as you're wrapping up Thanksgiving weekend—and lasts until sundown on Monday, December 6th. So while you're munching on leftover Pumpkin pie, check out our wonderful lineup of Hanukkah specials on Sunday starting at 3 PM.

Warm up with our Swingin' and Singin' Hanukkah Playlist on Spotify!

  • Itzhak Perlman’s Chanukah Radio Party, 3 to 4 PM

Join superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman as he tells the story of the Jewish festival of lights, and shares his favorite recordings for the holiday – some serious, some silly. This engaging one-hour special includes numbers from Itzhak Perlman’s radio-addicted childhood in Israel; evocative songs in Yiddish and Ladino; classical music that revolves around the Maccabee heroes; and Chanukah gems by American folk singers. The master storyteller also regales you with jokes and memories, plus tales of three classic Chanukah symbols: the menorah, the latke, and, of course, the dreidel. A good time for the whole family!

  • Candles Burning Brightly, 6 to 7 PM on the WRTI Classical Stream and HD-2

A one-hour celebration of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights with an exploration of Chanukah foods and traditional activities … and plenty of music

  • Chanukkah in Story & Song, 7 to 8 PM on the WRTI Classical Stream and HD-2

Sung by The Western Wind and narrated by the late Leonard Nimoy. The acclaimed vocal sextet and the renowned actor present 25 eclectic selections, from the Ladino songs of the Spanish Jews and Yiddish melodies of Eastern Europe to modern Israeli tunes and their original version of “I Have a Little Dreydle.” The singers sing a cappella and are also joined by instruments including violin, accordion, bass and guitar. The narration written by Rabbi Gerald Skolnik sheds light on the holiday customs and rituals.

On Monday, November 29th:

  • A Chanukah Celebration with Chicago a cappella, 5 to 6 PM on WRTI 90.1

Join Jonathan Miller, artistic director of Chicago a cappella and a longtime champion of Jewish choral music, for an inspiring and informative show featuring choral music set to Chanukah texts. Familiar tunes include "I Have a Little Dreidel" (both in its original Yiddish form and in a Hebrew/English setting), a swing version of "S'vivon" by Steve Barnett, and a lively setting of the traditional melody for "Al-Hanissim" ("For the Miracles") by Elliot Levine. Heartfelt original compositions by American and British composers provide added depth of expression to celebrating the holiday.

Throughout the week, the festivities continue. Sprinkled in with our regular programming you'll hear traditional music for the Festival of Lights, and some surprises including The Angel City Chorale singing “Maoz Tzur” and “Al Hanissim,”music from harpist Rachel Van Voorhees and The Los Angeles Quartet playing a captivating set of “Klezmer Dances” with clarinetist Leo Chelyapov.

Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital brings his inimitable style to the holiday with klezmer artists Giora Feidman and Richard Galliano, in music of Eastern Europe, “Sephardic Lullaby” by Israeli composer Paul Ben Haim and Handel’s depiction of the Maccabean revolt, with its story of the miracle of the lights, in “See the Conquering Hero Comes,” from his oratorio Judas Maccabeus.

David Ludwig’s Hanukkah Cantata by Choral Arts Philadelphia, tenor Steven Bradshaw, baritone Brian Ming Chu and conductor Matthew Glandorf, and a variety of traditional dances, poems and prayers for the season, including "Hatikva" from cellist Inbal Segev, Danse Hebraique from violinist Maurice Sklar, "Shalom Rav" from harpist Rachel Van Voorhees, and more from Niv Ashkenazi and his album, Violins of Hope.