Maccabeat Mania: I Know What Jews Like
12/19/2010 - 11:13
Jonathan Mark

Girls know what boys like (the great song by The Waitresses about being shomrei negiya).

But back in 2007, when Michael Greenberg and Julian Horowitz founded the Maccabeats as freshmen in YU, could they have ever imagined that so many girls would like the Maccabeats (as objects of desire), that they'd be stirring the midnight dreams of not only girls and women from the yeshiva high schools, Israeli seminaries and Stern, but non-Orthodox women, too?

Gaby Dunn, a blogger who clearly is from the non-Orthodox world, with her references to Ramah and USY dances, writes, "Listen, I went to a secular hedonistic homo-loving feel-goodery for college. I dated an Irish Catholic who I lived with IN SIN for two years. Turkey and cheese sandwiches complete me. But I have to admit it. These Yeshiva University boys singing about Chanukkah are literally everything I want in a man.

"I have resisted this type of guy for a long, long time. But I think there’s some kind of insane, innate switch in a Jewish girl’s bosom that, no matter how much she wants to rebel and date people who are different than her and experience the world or whatever, makes her turn to absolute mush around a dude with dark eyebrows and a yarmulke. This Maccabeats acapella group is like porn for girls with Adam Brody fetishes."

By the way, here's my tip to the Maccabeats for their next parody, a YU guy's "I Know What Girls Like."

One last point about the Maccabeats' success. At a time when so many young Jews are whining about being unable to support Israel because of the ADL or AIPAC or because of one Israeli policy or another (as if these complainers ever enthusiastically supported Jewish causes -- I don't count Darfur or the downtown mosque -- or supported Israel even when Israel had the most Oslo-loving prime ministers); at a time when assimilated Jews increasingly complain that synagogues don't do enough to attract them, even though too many synagogues have done nothing but hand them the keys, catering and appeasing the Detached with little to show for it other than a dumbed down davening and empty pews; at a time when so many Jews in their narcissistic splendor feel incapable of loving the Jewish People without selfishness, as that unselfish love was understood by Zionists (left and right) and the Soviet Jewry movement  just a generation ago; here come the Maccabeats, the Holy Opposite, who give the refreshing sense of being Kennedy Jews: "Ask not what the Jewish People can do for you, ask what you can do for the Jewish People."

I know it has nothing to do with their music, but attitude always had a lot to do with a musical group's appeal. Here are guys who are real Jews in the best sense, it is the core, the essence of their identity, let alone their music. They are happy and confident with who they are -- Jews, They are cerebral and soulful and now it turns out they're sexy, too; happiness and confidence always is. Happy, confident and serious Jews are a rarity in the popular culture and media, even in the Jewish media, and the Maccabeats' natural Jewish pride is what real Jews, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, like. 

I know what Jews like. 

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