Religion & Beliefs

The Jewish Week Toots Maccabeats’ Orthodox Horn

Okay we get it: your mom, your rabbi, your cousin who wants to be Rachel from Glee and about 80,000 gentiles really love the Maccabeats.  We’ve seen this pointed out sooooo many times in the last month that, at this … Read More

By / December 15, 2010
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Okay we get it: your mom, your rabbi, your cousin who wants to be Rachel from Glee and about 80,000 gentiles really love the Maccabeats.  We’ve seen this pointed out sooooo many times in the last month that, at this point, we’re kinda sick of it.

But you know what?  Since there is really no such thing as a good mainstream Hanukkah song, we will take whatever we can get.

Jonathan Mark at The Jewish Week really thinks that the success of the Maccabeats video is partially due to their overt Orthodoxy, and points out that the Macabeats video scored over three million views on Youtube, versus the 960,000 views Judd Apatow’s AJWS video scored.

The Apatow AJWS video represents all that is trendy in Jewish communal life, a search for a non-threatening, non-religious entry into Jewish life for the unaffiliated. As Mark Oppenheimer reports in the Times, “Mr. Apatow’s video offers Judaism detached from synagogue observance or ritual piety…”

There is more than one gate into Jerusalem. The Maccabeats are proving that the oldest gate — the Orthodox gate — is still wide open enough to let three million through.

What Mr. Mark fails to realize is that statements like this are what tend to make people avoid any and all organized Judaism.  Even worse, this divisive position has the potential to deter those already trying to find their own way into the Jewish world outside of the traditional classifications and labels.

“[A] non-threatening, non-religious entry into Jewish life for the unaffiliated” could easily be translated to “if you want to take baby steps into a more spiritual life, we don’t want you,” and is the sort of stance that should be frowned down upon by Jews (of all sorts!) that hope to participate in a community of inclusion.