‘The Maccabeats’ and the power of new media

Posted On December 20 , 2010
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Category - Opinion
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Richard M. Joel

New York Jewish Week

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(Richard Joel is president of Yeshiva University.)


During the last 10 days or so Yeshiva University’s men’s a cappella group, the Maccabeats, and their Chanukah-themed video, “Candlelight,” have found themselves at the center of what one television reporter called a “spontaneous YouTube sensation.” Millions have heard and seen this catchy creation online. The result has been dozens of feature stories in print, including in this newspaper; dozens of stories broadcast on local radio and TV; and even a live performance on national television.

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The reality of social media is that it helps good things (and bad ones) to spread quickly. The Maccabeats have gotten this fantastic response because the video is great, but I think this phenomenon is about something more.

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“Candlelight” reaffirms that we can joyously assert a life that is both joyous and illuminating, and that our collective story can still, in the darkness of winter solstice, bring light to civilization.

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The 14 men who comprise the Maccabeats fashioned their harmonies out of a desire to tell their sacred story. People are looking for pride, and in this group they see young men who are cool and wholesome, who take life seriously but don’t take themselves seriously, who convey fun but also pride in their values, in their story and in their comfort as Jews and Americans.
I couldn’t be prouder of the window on Y.U. and our community reflected in these young people.

Comments (2)

  1. SERGIO says:

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