Eight new videos for eight nights of Hanukkah

I can't remember the last time that non-Jews have made so many of the year's best Hanukkah videos.

Leni (blonde hair) and Tali lighting the last candle of Hannukah, 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Leni (blonde hair) and Tali lighting the last candle of Hannukah, 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
 Is it just me, or has Hanukkah taken over the world? 
I have been a casual observer and critic of Jewish holiday songs and parody videos for at least ten years, and I can't remember the last time that non-Jews have played such a prominent role. Two of this year's top eight were made by stars from the Broadway musical Hamilton, and one of my favorite rock bands from the 90's is on the list as well. Whatever the reason, here are my picks for this year's best new offerings. 
1. Daveed Diggs - Puppy for Hanukkah
Everyone is talking about Tony Award winning actor Daveed Diggs' original and hilarious rap about a boy who wants a puppy as his holiday gift. Diggs, who is best known for his roles in Hamilton, sings over a klezmer-style clarinet melody, and the song is fun to spin again and again, just like a dreidel. 
2: The Maccabeats - K-POP Candlelight 
The Maccabeats get most of the credit for the whole genre of holiday parodies. Their 2010 hit Candlelight, which parodied Taio Cruz's "Dynamite," is still arguably the best Chanukah video ever on Youtube. This year, the a cappela group's Hanukkah entry, Candlelight 2020, is based on a new "Dynamite," by K-POP sensation BTS. But the similarity ends there: The two songs sound nothing alike. 
3: Foo Fighters: The Chanukah Sessions
Legendary rock band The Foo Fighters decided to get in on the action this year. Greg Kurstin, who is Jewish, teamed up with Dave Grohl, who isn't, for eight covers of songs by bands with Jewish members, one per day. So far, they've done the Beastie Boys, Drake, Bob Dylan, and others. It's not exactly music for your family Hanukkah party, but it rocks. Watch them all here.
4: Israel Philharmonic performs the classics
Also releasing one video per day is Israel's symphony orchestra, performing eight nights of traditional holiday tunes you recognize. You can watch them all here
5: Leslie Odom Jr. - Ma’oz Tzur
Actor, singer and Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr.'s version of Maoz Tzur is sultry, smooth and romantic. Wow.
6: Gad Elbaz: Hanukkah Jingle
Israeli singer Gad Elbaz has been making music for more than 20 years, often walking along the borders between religious and popular genres. Hanukkah Jingle centers around a young girl who receives a magical gift from her absent grandfather, teaching her a powerful lesson while filling her heart with the spirit of Hanukkah.
7: Y-Studs - My Own Miracle- Hanukkah

Y-Studs, who like the Maccabeats came together as an a cappella group at Yeshiva University about 10 years ago, wrote an original song this year in collaboration with Gift of Life Marrow Registry. Nice. 
8: All the rest
Capping this list at eight has been really hard, so I'm going to call "Hanukkah miracle" and make it last a lot longer. All of these videos are excellent.