A new Chanukah song-video production comes with a holiday twist -- performed by The Yeshiva Boys Choir and marketed through a division of Universal Music, a non-Jewish label.
The song “Those Were the Nights’ features 50 boys and was filmed in a Boro Park home with Chanukah decor lining the walls, Chanukah “soofganiyot” (doughnuts) on the table and a Menorah in the window.
The lively, rambunctious group of about 50 boys, ranging in age from 7-14, excitedly prepared for the film shoot in a local synagogue, getting dressed up in costumes and singing in little groups as they waited for the filming to begin.
Jewish music producer Eli Gerstner landed a unique partnership with a Universal Music record label.
The 11-song holiday CD was primarily composed, arranged and directed by Gerstner, with the rhythm recorded in Israel, vocals recorded in New York and strings and brass recorded in New Jersey.
"This deal for us is not about the money," says Gerstner. "We would have to sell thousands of CD's to make a penny back from the money we invested. For us it's about reaching unaffiliated Jews who are searching for something Jewish."
Using the choir of day-to-day yeshiva students instead of employing professional helps “break the stereotypes of what the 'outside' world thinks of Orthodox Jewish kids," according to Gerstner.
The lyrics of the chorus are:
Those were the nights of Chanukah
I remember long ago
When our family got together
Little eyes aglow
Multi-colored candles burning
As the joyous songs were sung
How I miss the Menorah light
When we were all so young