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Eight Nights of Joy

Liner Notes

This CD captures the magic of a unique live concert with Rabbi Joe Black and the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band that took place on the 6th night of Chankah, 5767 – (December 20, 2006) at Temple Shalom in Chicago.  The concert was a benefit for the Chicago Jewish Day School and was the culmination of many years of conversations between Rabbi Joe and Lori Lippitz, Director of Maxwell Street that always began with the words:  “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do a concert together…..?”

The end result is an exuberant synthesis of Rabbi Joe’s music and the energy and creative genius of one of the world’s  premier Klezmer Ensembles. On this CD you will find everything from Rock N’Roll to Bluegrass, Funk to Jazz Fusion, Traditional Klezmer to country yodeling.  And it all works seamlessly in a joyous celebration of Chanukah.

"I’d like to thank the fabulous musicians of Maxwell Street.  In particular, Lori Lippitz for her absolute dedication to this project from start to finish.  Thanks to Steve Brodsky of Transcon and Soundswrite. Steve, you have carried on the remarkable vision of Randee Friedman to its next logical step.

Thank you to my colleagues and friends at Congregation Albert in Albuquerque  New Mexico. Your willingness to allow me to share my music means everything to me.  To my amazing wife, Sue, and Elana and Ethan – thank you for the joy you bring to my life." - Rabbi Joe Black


Eight Nights Of Joy   

Words and Music – Rabbi Joe Black

© 2006 – Lanitunes Music. All Rights reserved.


12345678 nights of joy

From the streets of Tel Aviv To Chicago, Illinois

Chanukah is fun for Moms and Dads and girls and Boys   ..... yes it’s

12345678 nights of joy


Each night we add a flame

Menorahs burning bright

The blessings we proclaim

As we celebrate the light

Spin the Dreydl to remember

How our people were set free

We sing and tell the story

Of Judah Maccabee


8 small candles Standing in a row

Put ‘em in the window So all can see their glow

And though it’s dark outside Our faith, it will abide

Remembering those miracles That happened long ago....


Yes we’re goin’ Door to door – lighting the menorah

There’ll be latkes galore – lighting the menorah

7 days plus one encore  - lighting the menorah

On the ocean or the shore-lighting the menorah



Words and Music – Rabbi Joe Black.    

© 1989 – Lanitunes Music


Soufganiot, Soufganiot, Oh how I love those Soufganiot


Go into the kitchen, Heat up the oil,

Wait until its Ready to boil

Roll up the Dough,

put the Jelly in the middle,

Drop em in the pot and listen to them sizzle those...


Some like em hot, some like em cold,

nobody likes em when they get too old.

Raspberry. Strawberry, Chocolate too,

Soufganiot are so good for you those....


Dreydl Yodel

(Well I….)  Had a little Dreydl

I made her out of clay

And When She’s dry and ready

Oh Dreydl I shall play


Dreydl Dreydl Dreydl Dreydl

I made her out of clay

And when she’s dry and ready.

Oh Dreydl I shall play


Well she has a lovely body

With legs so short and thin

And when she gets all tired

She drops and then I win.



Music by Joe Black

Lyrics by Joe Black, inspired by the Yotzeir Or prayer

© 1997  LANITUNES Music


A Universal idea:  Our world is not completed - we are completing it in partnership with God.  To say that we are finished is to say that there is nothing left to do. Nothing is ever truly finished - that’s the beauty of the creative process.


In the pueblos of northern New Mexico, the artists show their wares

Sitting on their blankets with their baskets and their bowls

On display in the pure desert air

Look very closely, you will see…a tiny flaw in their perfect symmetry

For nothing that we do is ever finished

We are all diminished by our own mortality.



So whatever you do, leave a little bit undone

Don't think that you're the only one who can bear the heavy load

Wherever you go, never journey to the end,

There's always another bend further down the road.


In Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem, in every vender’s stall

If you look very closely you can see it there

Up high on the eastern wall

The painter left a spot of bare plaster, as if to say, “I am not the master

I cannot complete this task

Until my feet lie firm on holy ground.”




M’chadeish b’chol yom tamid ma-asei v’reishit

(Day by day God renews the work of creation)


And the world begins anew each day with the rising sun

And nothing’s ever finished, nothing’s ever done




Who Led  The Slaves Out?  

To the Tune of “Who Let  the Dogs Out?” by Anslem Douglas – recorded by The Baja Men

Words by Rabbi Joe Black (Inspired by Jake Gorman)

© November, 2000 LANITUNES music


Well Egypt was hot, Egypt was smokin….. (Dai dai-ya-nu)

The Israelites were laboring hard

Pharoah was mean – man I’m not jokin’

Said “Build me pyramids in my back yard”


When Moses saw the bush that was burnin’

God told him what he had to do.  

“Tell Pharoah-man the tide it is turnin’…’”

“Tell him to to Let  my people go”


And Pharoah shouted:

Who Led  the Slaves out?  (Moses, Moses, Moses)


Pharoah Laughed when Moses demanded

To let his people go again….

Said Moses: “do what God commanded

Or be prepared  to count to Ten.”


Blood and frogs

and lice and flies and plague

boils and  hail and locusts, darkness,

Then the slaying of the first born..


A Pharoah’s nothing if he don’t got no Slaves…

(Poor Pharoah’s got no Slaves )–2x                   


After the plagues it moved in a hurry

The rest is all just history

No time to bake any bread for the journey

They had to dine on Matzah and tea.


And Pharoah shouted:

Who Led  the Slaves out?  (Moses, Moses, Moses)



Music by Joe Black

Lyrics by Joe Black based on Psalm 118:19, 22

© 1997  LANITUNES Music


Open the gates of justice

Open the gates for me

Open the gates of righteousness

Pitchu li.


Open the gates of freedom

(Tell me) what are we waiting for?

Pitchu li sha-arei tzedek, avo vam odeh Yah.  (2x)

(Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them and give thanks to God)


Lock up the gates of hatred

Throw away the key

Open the gates of justice

Pitchu li


Open the gates of tomorrow

Yes, we’ve traveled oh so far

Pitchu li sha-arei tzedek, avo vam odeh Yah.  (2x)


Even ma-asu habonim, haytah l’rosh pinah.  (2x)

We’re all in this together, oh we’ve got to keep on going.

‘Til the stone that the builders rejected becomes the chief cornerstone.  (2x)



Words and Music by Sue and Joe Black

(C) Copyright, 1990  Lanitunes Music


You get the boards,  I'll get some gourds

Put some leaves on the roof on top of 2 by 4's...



Build a Sukkah

Build a Sukkah

We're gonna build a Sukkah

Gonna live in it all week long


You get the chiles, I'll get the string

When we build our Sukkah yeah, we'll dance and sing


Shake your lulav to the ground

Shake your lulav in the air

You know you shake it north, you shake it south

You shake it east, you shake it west

God is everywhere


We sleep in our Sukkah, see the stars up above

It makes us thankful for all God's love




Words and Music Rabbi Joe Black

© 2005 Lanitunes Music (ASCAP)

All Rights Reserved


If you stand in the center of the Duomo of Perugia

And cast your eyes up soaring towards the heights

The massive wooden beams that support the dazzling ceiling

Hide a secret that is hidden from our sight.

Some common unknown laborer

In awe of his Creator

Carved an offering of praise to God above

Pointing skyward to the heavens

Like a prayer that ascends

With Humility, passion and love



Faith is not a flag you can wave

Faith is not a soul you can save

For when our earthly days are done

And we face the setting sun

We give thanks not for what we had but what we gave.

Faith is not a flag you can wave


There’s a woman that I know who never likes to show

The fact she’s struggling with each breath that she takes

Her days are filled with meaning – while she stares up at the ceiling

She longs to find a way to ease her aches

But no matter how her body lets her down

No matter the threshold of her pain

She tries to give back to those around her

Giving thanks for each day she wakes again.



Each day we build our masterpiece

The vision of our dreams

The answer to our own caprice

Is never what it seems –

It’s carved above  the beams


Standing in the center of an overcrowded classroom

In a part of town that knows no other way

He opens doors of learning in the minds of his students

He helps them find the words they need to say

And he knows the odds against him

And that no will defend him

But he’s never given in to his despair

He believes in what he’s doing

And the souls that he is grooming

Like a sculptor carving high up in the air.



Words and music by Joe Black

© 1990 – Rabbi Joe Black – Lanitunes ® Music


A long time ago, in a land called Modin

Lived a young man named Judah - brave and serene.

When Antiochus the tyrant said the Jews could not be free

He didn’t count on Judah - the one called Maccabee



In the window, shining so bright

I can see those (the) Chanukah light(s).

And it gives me such a warm, friendly glow

When I think of Judah Maccabee, so long ago.


Now Judah and his brothers they said it wasn’t right

To take away their freedom - they knew they had to fight.

They fought three long years till the king could take no more,

They rebuilt the holy temple, its beauty they restored.




Now when the Temple was restored,

The brothers searched and searched in vain

For oil to light the lamps, but not enough remained.

Except for one small vial, enough to last one day

But instead it burned for eight - they proclaimed a holiday, and...




Tonight we light our lamps,

Sing our songs and play our games

We remember that great miracle hidden in the flames.

And today throughout the world we rejoice that we are free

To carry out the mission of Judah Maccabee.





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