Irving Berlin Aboard the USS Arkansas 1944
I’m dreaming of a white . . . Hanukkah? No, that’s not how the most popular song ever written goes. Thanks to a Russian Jewish immigrant, we’re all dreaming of a white Christmas. So why was this Yiddish-speaking fellow not dreaming of a light Hanukkah instead?
Irving Berlin—the man we have to thank for the nostalgic sentiment and imagery invoked by this beloved song—came to the United States as a child before the turn of the 20th century. He went on to become one of the most prolific composers of his time, writing close to a thousand songs and memorable hits that became a centerpiece of our American culture. Catchy songs like “Blue Skies” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business” are tunes that most of us can belt out for at least a line or two. And “God Bless America,” who doesn’t know that one?