Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

The Guide to the List

The easy way to navigate our list of the 100 greatest Jewish songs

Print Email

Today Tablet Magazine published Jody Rosen and Ari Y. Kelman’s immense compendium of the 100 best Jewish songs of all time. It’s a comprehensive and detailed collection, covering holy music and hiphop, Broadway standards and rock. You can find their exhaustive explanation here, but for a quick view, The Scroll offers a straightforward list of Rosen and Kelman’s 100 top songs. Hate our choices? Love our choices? Click on each title to read their argument for the song’s greatness and then tell us what you think.

1. “Over the Rainbow” (1939)
2. “Hava Nagila” (1918)
3. “Highway 61 Revisited” (1965)
4. “Kol Nidre” (13th century)
5. “Hatikvah” (1888)
6. “My Mammy” (1918)
7. “Shema Yisrael” (19th century)
8. “White Christmas” (1942)
9. “Be My Baby” (1963)
10. “I Got Rhythm” (1930)
11. “Adon Olam” (11th century)
12. “God Bless America” (1938)
13. “The Internationale” (1871)
14. “Blitzkrieg Bop” (1976)
15. “Avinu Malkeinu” (1st century)
16. “Strange Fruit” (1936)
17. “In My Country There Is Problem (Throw the Jew Down the Well)” (2004)
18. “My Funny Valentine” (1937)
19. “Eli, Eli” (1896)
20. “I’m Against It” (1932)
21. “Ol’ Man River” (1927)
22. “If I Were a Rich Man” (1964)
23. “Oseh Shalom” (1974)
24. “Der Heyser Bulgar” (1923)
25. “Hallelujah” (1981)
26. “On Broadway” (1963)
27. “Summertime” (1935)
28. “Lekha Dodi” (16th century)
29. “Bei Mir Bist Du Shein” (1932)
30. “What the World Needs Now Is Love” (1965)
31. “Dayeinu” (9th century)
32. “I Wanna Be Black” (1978)
33. “Somewhere” (1957)
34. “Im Nin’alu” (1968)
35. “Walk This Way” (1986)
36. “The Way We Were” (1973)
37. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1948)
38. “Rozhinkes mit Mandlen” (1882)
39. “Mayim Mayim” (1946)
40. “Nature Boy” (1947)
41. “Some of These Days” (1910)
42. “Rumania” (1925)
43. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (1966)
44. “Los Bilbilicos” (Medieval Spain)
45. “Talkin’ Hava Negiliah Blues” (1963)
46. “Hound Dog” (1952)
47. “Tzena, Tzena” (1951)
48. “There’s No Business Like Show Business” (1946)
49. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” (1964)
50. “Lechi Lach” (1986)
51. “Mein Shtetele Belz” (1932)
52. “September Song” (1938)
53. “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” (1987)
54. “Ich Hob Dich Tzu Fil Lieb” (1934)
55. “I Say a Little Prayer” (1967)
56. “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (1932)
57. “I Have a Little Dreidel” (20th century)
58. “Hallelujah” (1979)
59. “Oifn Pripitchik” (1899)
60. “America” (1980)
61. “You’re So Vain” (1972)
62. “Manhattan” (1925)
63. “La Rosa Enflorece” (16th century)
64. “Popcorn” (1969)
65. “Exodus (This Land Is Mine)” (1960)
66. “Yo Ya” (1973)
67. “The Chanukah Song” (1994)
68. “Copacabana” (1978)
69. “Je T’aime … Moi Non Plus” (1969)
70. “Yidl Mitn Fidl” (1936)
71. “My Yiddishe Mamme” (1925)
72. “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” (1967)
73. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1908)
74. “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (A Letter From Camp)” (1963)
75. “Flash Light” (1977)
76. “Still Crazy After All These Years” (1975)
77. “Shir LaShalom” (1969)
78. “Pata Pata” (1967)
79. “King Without a Crown” (2004)
80. “Di Griene Cusiene” (1920s)
81. “Ray of Light” (1998)
82. “Tumbalalaika”
83. “Rehab” (2006)
84. “A Brivele Der Mammen” (1932)
85. “Rock and Roll All Nite” (1975)
86. “They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore” (1974)
87. “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” (1977)
88. “Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu” (1998)
89. “Dunkin’ Bagel” (1946)
90. “Funkytown” (1980)
91. “Bashana Haba’ah” (1968)
92. “Second Hand Rose” (1921)
93. “I’ve Gotta Be Me” (1968)
94. “Neighborhood Bully” (1983)
95. “Eli’s Coming” (1968)
96. “National Brotherhood Week” (1965)
97. “This Undoing World” (1997)
98. “Dixie Flyer” (1988)
99. “Joseph, Joseph” (1923)
100. “Loser” (1993)

Songs of Songs [Tablet]

Print Email
Bruce Tabackman says:

What about the song “I am a stranger to the world” from the Ruckert Lieder song cycle by the Jewish composer, Gustav Mahler. For me, this is the greatest song.

Fredi Engelberg says:

No Shlomo Carlebach? Mizrachi or sephardic songs?

Susan Levine says:

No Simon? No Garfunkle? No Simon & Garfunkle?

The them from the film “Exodus” was co-written by Pat Boone, one of the earliest Evangelical Christian supporters of Israel

Cary Rosenzweig says:

Where is David Broza’s “Yihye Tov?”

The TWO BEST Jewish songs of all time are Leaving Mother Russis and World of Our Fathers by Safam. Nothing compares.

are you serious? Where is “Tradition”, “Sunrise, Sunset”.

what makes Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer a Jewish song. Ditto for Natural Woman and lots of others on that list. Just because a Jew wrote the song, doesn’t mean that the song is Jewish.

R. Fellman says:

Most likely, more songs could be added to the list. It would be nice to be able to purchase a set of CD’s.

Art Beckerman says:

This is a list of 100 songs by Jewish composers. Hound Dog a Jewish song???? Please!!!!

B.Spack says:

With all due, this list is sad. Jewish music has such a rich tradition and contemporary fullness, very few of which are represented here. As for the junk you have on this list, shame,shame.

Moshe Pesach Geller says:

Oy Vey! Like everything else, American Jews are insistent on blurring lines of distinction and uniqueness. If a song does ot have lyrics that are Jewish both in meaning and intent and whose music has no legacy in the continuum of Jewish music from before America. Indeed if it lacks any recongnizable and indentifying Jewish content, IT AIN’T JEWISH!

There is almost no synagogue on the PLANET that does not employ the music of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. And you list not one. This is only another glaring example of confused identity in America. And you all back there kvetch about ‘Jewish Continuity’, about lack of committment in being Jewish, in empty temple pews and the lack of identification with Israel? What do you expect when you define “Walk This Way” and the “Internationale” as ‘Jewish music.’

You all back there is America devote your energies to evicerating 4,000 years of unbroken-chain Yiddishkeit and you wonder why American Jewry is in a free-fall. You emasculate Yiddishkeit to the empty dominant culture and as you lose Yidden, you shift the goal posts and call it a touchdown! Oy!. To quote another ‘Jewish song’: “When will it ever end!”

No Debbie Friedman?
Erev Shel Shosahnim?

Songs by Jewish composers are not the same as Jewish songs.
You guys can do better than this – I hope!

First of all, I love music and really enjoyed going through the list. Secondly, I appreciate that this is a completely subjective project. That said, it was obviously meant to be representative, so I share the following thoughts.

It should have been entitled “Jewish Music from an American Ashkenazi Diaspora Point of View.” Besides the lack of Sephardic music which the authors could have researched a bit, asked friends etc. the modern Israeli music sampling is embarrassingly limited and ends around 30 years ago. You can ask any young American Jew who has been on an Israeli youth program, and they will mention Idan Reichel’s “Boi” and Hadag Nachash’s inspired bumper sticker song. Ever hear of David Broza? Chava Alberstein? Arik Einstein? It is instructive, however, on the yawning cultural divide between American Jews who are engaged with Israel and those who are not. Thanks for the material for a future talk.

Helayne says:

Where’s TRex? Bolan’s included in John Zorn’s Great Jewish Songwriters series along with Bachrach and Gainsbourg, who are represented on this list. Also, what about John Zorn?

Leonardo says:

Geez, what’s the deal with the lack of Ladino/Sephardic music? Not even an inclusion of a more contemporary group like the Latino-Jewish crew Hip Hop Hoodíos and their cult favorite “Havana Nagilah” ?

Lynne T says:

I’d forgotten Dylan’s Talkin HN Blues, and would nominate Hwy 61 revisited for opening with “Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin’ you better run”
Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
God says, “Out on Highway 61”

Then there’s Jokerman with “You’re going to Sodom and Gomorrah
But what do you care? Ain’t nobody there would want to marry your sister
Well, the Book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy…”

Stanley S. says:

Steve Lawrence (nee Sidney Liebowitz) recorded a wonderful ‘anthemic’ song called “Tell Me Where Can I Go!” I used to know it in Yiddish but that was long, long ago! Deserves to be on the list (IMO)!

J F Levin says:

Hard to believe that Steve Goodman’s City of New Orleans isn’t on the list. He got a Country Grammy for lifetime achievement!!

What about the fetching Jill Soboule? Her “Jesus was a Dreidle Spinner” is wonderful, if not exactly historically correct. And don’t forget that Fran Landesman – Tommy Wolf masterpiece “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.” I could come up with 100 great Jewish songs each from Rodgers and Hart, Harold Arlen, the Gershwins or Sondheim. To me what makes a song “Jewish” is it’s sense of irony. We Jews generally have a tragic view of life, but that doesn’t keep us from laughing. I also agree with the folks who mention Mahler’s Rückert Lieder and Joseph Kosma’s lovely “Les feuilles mortes.”

Linda Cedarbaum says:

I’d love to see the lists from some ambitious folks for:
100 greatest Jewish songs from:

– synagogues (inclusive of all types and origins)
– pop, jazz & folk songs – American & Israeli
– written by Jews about Christmas
– show tunes
– comedy (from any era, anywhere)

Alyza Salomon says:

I appreciate everyone’s comments about what else to include. So here’s a whimsical plug for “It’s not Easy Being Green” which stirred my Jewish soul the first time I heard Kermit the Frog sing it.

Maybe one of you ambitious folks can start a larger, more inclusive list.

dan singer says:

Leo Fuld’s “Where Can I Go” indeed was a song that I can call “Standard”.
Dan

David says:

What, no spirit in the sky – Norman Greenbaum or isn’t he
Jewish?

JCarpenter says:

A favorite instrumental album/cd is David Grisman’s-Andy Statman’s “Songs of Our Fathers”

Don’t forget “Rock Around the Clock” by Harry Freedman

dan singer says:

The score’s of “Yentel”the film and “The Rothchilds” the show must be added.
Dan Singer

Barbara Uziel says:

Glad to see at least one Debbie Friedman (may her memory be a blessing) song here (Lechi Lach) during this time of mourning.

S. Malkah Cohen says:

What? No Lenny Solomon?!

Interesting list. probably compiled by Ashkenazi Jews, since there’s no Sephardic melodies on it. But I want to know how they left out the best of all….. Oscar Hammerstein’s “Carefully Taught” from South Pacific. It backs 90 percent of this list right off the map in terms of relevance even today. And it isn’t silly like some of the useless tunes on the list.

So sorry that Shlomo Artzi or Idan Reichal aren’t even mentioned.You have to update yourself!

dazysimone says:

I’m surprised that nothing by Sean “Jewmongous” Altman made the list. No “Hanukah With Monica”? No “Reuben the Hook-Nosed Reindeer”? No “They Tried to Kill Us, We Survived, Let’s Eat”? Oy!

It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

I’ve said that least 3331027 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

The Guide to the List

The easy way to navigate our list of the 100 greatest Jewish songs

More on Tablet:

The Real Story Behind Those Fliers in Ukraine

By Batya Ungar-Sargon — Leaflets telling Jews to register with authorities not actually from ‘authorities’