From the very beginning we have struggled with what to call this documentary. Originally, it was titled The Jews Who Stole Christmas – kind of a riff on How the Grinch Stole Christmas (You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch was written by a Jew: Albert Hague) – but of course these Jewish songwriters didn’t really steal anything.
What they did was write. And in writing the music and/or lyrics to so many classic songs – White Christmas, The Christmas Song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Rudolph-the-Red-Nosed-Reindeer and Silver Bells to name but a few – they actually helped to shape and even create the modern image of Christmas.
These were the children of immigrants, and some even immigrants themselves: people like Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn, Mel Tormé, Jay Livingston, Felix Bernard and many more. They were new to North America, and in their attempts to integrate into their new home, they were able to observe, articulate and even invent much of what is most-loved about a holiday they did not even celebrate.
Here are a few links where you can read more:
Image: Writer/producer Jason Charters on set during the filming of The Jews Who Wrote Christmas