Man bites dog!?!
Could it be? An uprising, an out-and-out backlash against one of the most popular songs in the Western world? And I don't just mean the Jewish world.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a growing number of Jews are banning "Hava Nagila" from their weddings and other simchas. This comes just as a seemingly unprecedented wave of publicity has erupted about the long-hallowed—and, at times, hated—song of celebration.
"'Hava Nagila' at a wedding is like pouring sour milk on cereal," the mother of the groom told the WSJ reporter. "It is the cliché of Jewish music," declared the orchestra leader, who won't play it, except by request. He also sidesteps "The Macarena," "YMCA" and "Sunrise, Sunset."
The experts quoted in the Journal story, however, are confident the song isn't going away. In the '50s and '60s, it burst out of American banquet halls and synagogues and became part of the repertoire—sometimes a central part—of non-Jewish singers such as Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis and Chubby Checker. There were dozens, if not hundreds, of versions, including highly customized re-creations by Lena Horn, Allan Sherman and even Bob Dylan.
Today, despite the revolt, "Hava Nagila" is about to get its own exhibit at New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage, and—perhaps explaining much of the recent publicity—a documentary about the song premiered July 19. Even the Journal did a separate video report on its cross-cultural appeal.
And then there were the billion or so people who heard it provide powerful backdrop to U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman's dazzling floor-exercise routine at the London Olympics last Sunday night.
Elsewhere in the music world…
The not-exactly tranquil strains of heavy metal band AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" reportedly blasted from the computers at two of Iran's nuclear facilities two weeks ago, and not because the scientists there are major headbangers.
A Finnish cybersecurity expert said he received several emails claiming that a cyberattack shut down part of the automation network at the Natanz and Fordo plants.
According to a report by the Times of Israel, one message noted that "There was also some music playing randomly on several of the workstations during the middle of the night with the volume maxed out. I believe it was playing 'Thunderstruck' by AC/DC."
The cybersecurity expert said he could not confirm details of the report, but was certain that the emails came from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. The head of the organization, however, reportedly called the information "incorrect."
Funny, he didn't look Jewish
The former protocol chief for the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi told an Arab newspaper that Gadhafi's mother was Jewish—which, if true, would make him a Jew under Jewish law.
JTA, citing a story in the Israeli newspaper Maariv, said Gadhafi's mother married a Muslim man and converted when she was 18.
Last year, a 76-year-old woman in the Israeli city of Netanya claimed that Gadhafi was her cousin, and that their grandmother would visit the family and give them money to "donate to the Jews."
There she goes, Miss ???
Beauty pageants are held all the time, to much fanfare and ridicule. What made the recent one in Haifa different was the "contestants"—each of the 14 finalists, selected from hundreds of applicants, was a Holocaust survivor, ranging in age from 74 to 97. Each strode down a red carpet and shared tales of their wartime experiences.
JTA reported that the organizers described the event as a "celebration of life," highlighting participants' stories and their lives after making it to Israel. Critics condemned it as "macabre," trivializing the Holocaust.
The winner, 79-year-old Romanian native Hava Hershkovitz, told the Associated Press that it isn't easy being in a beauty contest at her age. "But we're all doing it to show that we're still alive."
Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher from North Carolina hold the Guinness world record for the longest marriage for a living couple—86 years, 'til death do they part. But how about the longest divorce?
The world record no doubt goes to an unidentified Israeli couple who opened divorce proceedings back in 1973, but got bogged down bickering over allocation of their joint assets ever since and never finalized their divorce.
In the meantime, the kids have grown up (with hubby paying child support). Over the years, the divisive pair have separated and made up, split up and again reunited under one roof, only to part ways—with one constant over the past 39 years: come rain or shine, and without fail, the two, now in their seventies, have continued to battle over division of their growing assets, while their original lawyers have gone on to become judges.
Will this go on 'til death do they part? Who knows…