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Don’t Call It a Comeback, Hava Nagila

Aly Raisman may have revived a tune

Adam Chandler
August 14, 2012

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman may be sparking a renaissance for the song “Hava Nagila,” to which she performed her masterful floor exercise routine. I’ve now received multiple e-mails this week hyping a Beatles-style cover of the famous song and seen it posted along the various social media apparatuses. Whether this constitutes a trend is impossible to tell; I may just have really nerdy friends.

Two warnings: Apparently this video is neither new, nor actually of The Beatles. But then again, “Hava Nagila” is rumored to be from the 15th century so I suppose it’s all cyclical, right?

With some light digging across the internets, I also found this grainy video of Bob Dylan and Harry Dean Stanton (both in kippot!) jamming out to the tune at a Chabad telethon. The slight discomfortable alone is worth your time.

Tablet’s Songs of Songs, a list of the 100 greatest Jewish songs, adds Dick Dale, The Boss, and Harry Belafonte to the list of famous people who’ve made the song worthy of its #2 all-time spot.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.