Smokey Robinson goes viral for mispronouncing Chanukah as ‘cha-new-kah’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Smokey Robinson goes viral for mispronouncing Chanukah as ‘cha-new-kah’

Motown legend delivers message for the Festival of Lights with a 'strange twist'

Screenshot from Twitter of Smokey Robinson giving his 'Cha-New-Kah' message
Screenshot from Twitter of Smokey Robinson giving his 'Cha-New-Kah' message

Jeff Jacobson paid Motown legend Smokey Robinson £299 ($399) to record a Chanukah  greeting for his mother, but things didn’t go quite as planned.

Jacobson tweeted out the video Robinson sent him on Sunday, which Jacobson noted “takes a strange twist.” At the end of his greeting, Robinson pronounced the Jewish holiday, which is sometimes spelled Chanukah, as “cha-new-kah,” with a hard “ch” sound.

As of Monday afternoon, the video has been retweeted nearly 30,000 times.

I have no idea what ‘chanooka’ is, but happy ‘chanooka,’ because they said so,” Robinson says in the video, referencing the request from Jacobson and his brother.

The brothers reached out to Robinson through Cameo, a service that connects fans with celebrities for this type of short paid recorded greeting. Jacobson said his mother grew up on the same street that Robinson did in Detroit.

“Anyway, god bless you babe, and enjoy ‘chanooka,’” Robinson adds at the end.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: