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A Christmas Carol for the Close of Hanukkah

LUKE BURBANK, host:

Well, the little gelatinous Menorah is stuck to Alison's window.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Yup.

BURBANK: That can only mean one thing: We are in the waning hours of Hanukkah. Now, the other day, we had a musical act in here called Good for the Jews. GFTJ, as I like to call them, is Rob Tannenbaum and David Fagin. And this holiday season, they're touring all of the Jew hotspots: New York, Boca Raton, Denver - all right, two out of three.

STEWART: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: For this we flew across the country? The other day, they were on the show and they ran out of time, but after the show, they were gracious enough to play us a bonus song titled "It's Good to Be a Jew at Christmas."

Mr. ROB TANNENBAUM (Musician, Good for the Jews): The title is a little bit of a lie. The fact is, December is a really alienating experience if you're a Jew, which Christians don't understand. And so I try to explain it this way to my Christian friend.

Imagine you lived in a country that was mostly Muslim. And in December, every time you walked in a store, someone said Happy Ramadan, and every time you walked into the mall, you would hear Cat Stevens songs. And I don't mean the good songs he did in the '70s, I mean, the crap he's doing now. Well, you would start to feel like an outsider in your own country. So this is sort of a protest song, a propaganda song. It's a song that expresses an undue amount of enthusiasm for our holiday because of the inferiority complex we feel to Christmas.

(Soundbite of song, "It's Good to Be a Jew This Christmas")

Mr. TANNENBAUM: (Singing) I've never known the giddy joys of other Christmas girls and boys. I've never sat on Santa's knee. I've never tasted Christmas ham or caroled winter wonderland. I'm just not down with Christianity.

Mr. TANNENBAUM and Mr. DAVID FAGIN (Good for the Jews): (Singing) You see.

Mr. FAGIN: One, two, three.

Mr. TANNENBAUM and Mr. FAGIN: (Singing) It's good to be a Jew at Christmas. It's nice to be a Jew this time of year.

Mr. FAGIN: (Singing) It's clear that we're the chosen ones.

Mr. TANNENBAUM: (Singing) We got eight nights, and they got just one.

Mr. TANNENBAUM and Mr. FAGIN: (Singing) It's good to be a Jew at Christmas.

Mr. FAGIN: (Singing) Yes, it is. On Christmas day, we'll eat Chinese, walk empty streets until we freeze. Once a year, the city is ours alone.

Mr. TANNENBAUM: (Singing) True. Anyone you see must be a Jew, why not say…

Mr. TANNENBAUM and Mr. FAGIN: (Singing) Hi.

Mr. TANNENBAUM: (Singing) I'm a Jew, too.

Mr. TANNENBAUM and Mr. FAGIN: (Singing) The goyim are all getting drunk at home. Oh, yes, it's good to be a Jew at Christmas. I like to be a Jew this time of year.

Mr. TANNENBAUM: (Singing) You know that Christ was born a Jew.

Mr. FAGIN: (Singing) Which means that Mary was one, too.

Mr. TANNENBAUM and Mr. FAGIN: (Singing) It's good to be a Jew. Don't you want to be one, too? It's good to be a Jew at Christmas. Good to be a Jew.

BURBANK: Rob Tannenbaum and David Fagin - you may know them as Good for the Jews. Their Web site is GoodForTheJews.net. Now there is GoodForTheJews.com - this sounds like the last segment we did - and it is not theirs.

STEWART: No.

BURBANK: It's kind of a weird Web site, so they are GoodForTheJews.net.

STEWART: And if you were entertained by that, they are currently on tour tonight in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall. They're going to be at the Knitting Factory in L.A., then Denver, and then at The Social in Orlando, and then that big Boca date on December 18th.

BURBANK: Mm-hmm. Boca.

STEWART: And you can also see a video performance of that on our Web site, npr.org/bryantpark.

BURBANK: Speaking of which…

STEWART: That's a segue.

BURBANK: Nice work. Nice work. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.