The viral Miami Boys Choir is spreading Jewish joy on TikTok


Of course, Chananya Begun was shocked when she saw people on TikTok obsess over a 2008 performance by the Miami Boys Choir, an Orthodox Jewish pop group led by her father, Yerachmiel Begun. But it wasn’t that surprised

After all, everything about it is incredibly good. Voice of couples! Funky sax break! Choreography! Nothing to say about the touching or period-specific song “Yerushalayim.” silk shirts which really ties everything together.

Since the beginning of September, MBC’s video “Yerushalayim” (“Jerusalem” in Hebrew) has attracted more than 8.7 million views, and countless shouts and couples from avid TikTok users. Some have even taken to drawing fan art and picking their favorite soloists, as if this group of young Orthodox Jews were a K-pop sensation.

Watch the screening of MBC’s “Yerushalayim” here

“These are amazing kids,” Begun told CNN. “We want this team to be a vehicle for positivity, excellence and hard work.”

Begun, who runs MBC’s TikTok account and is heavily involved in the group’s leadership, is happy to see that many people from different cultures and places are discovering the appeal of orthodox pop music. Also, Jewish voices on social media are thrilled that the music of their childhood has become a widespread celebration of Jewish joy.

Make no mistake, the Miami Boys Choir is not some unknown group plucked from obscurity by a kaleidoscopic TikTok algorithm.

“For families and children all over the Orthodox world, it’s a big deal to be part of this organization,” says Begun.

MBC was founded in Miami in 1977 by Yerachmiel Begun, a well-known Jewish composer and musician at the forefront of the Orthodox pop genre. The elder Begun, a native New Yorker, moved the entire operation to New York in 1980. MBC’s concerts are major events in the Jewish community, and in 1995 the group made Jewish music history when 15,000 people attended a performance at the Nassau Coliseum. .

Chananya Begun says her father composes all the band’s songs, more than 500 and counting, including 32 full-length albums.

Watching MBC perform songs like “Yerushalayim,” one thing is clear: these kids are very, very talented. But Begun says something more gives the band that stratospheric edge I don’t know what.

“Miami has broad appeal in the pop orthodox world, and there are a few reasons for that. There is definitely a spiritual element, and bringing people closer to God, however they want to define that. It keeps people connected, and it’s very entertaining,” he says.

“But there’s also a real depth of feeling from these performers.”

About 500 performers have been in and out of the Miami Boys Choir, made up of boys between the ages of 10 and 14. According to initial estimates, they have made thousands of other auditions. Considering the level of work and artistry required to be in a band like this, it’s no wonder that many MBC alumni have gone on to have successful music careers. Contemporary Jewish musicians such as Yaakov Shwekey and Ari Goldwag got their start at MBC, as did several members of the Jewish a cappella group The Maccabeats.

The stars of 2008’s “Yerushalayim” video have also been enjoying their newfound popularity on TikTok, repeating their vocal lines and breaking out those adorable satin shirts. David Herskowitz, now 27, was MBC’s solo artist for years, and is entertaining new fans on social media with original compositions from his MBC days and old favorites. Audiences who have tuned in to other MBC shows via TikTok and YouTube have also been exposed to the childhood voice of Jewish recording artist Dovid Pearlman.

While new MBC fans are clamoring for a 2008 crew reunion, MBC performers are playing it cool for now.

“This is an open road,” Herskowitz told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I still don’t draw any conclusions. And I’m seeing where this goes.”

All the glamor of social media eventually wears off, but the Miami Boys Choir’s new cultural footprint means more than catchy tunes and charming characters to the Jewish community.

“These guys talk about Jewish people…in a positive way,” a Jewish TikToker said in a popular video, noting that all the MBC love has, if only for a while, overcome the usual cloud of anti-Semitism that clouds social media. the spaces

Users in her comments section agreed: “It makes me so happy to see people talking about our culture and language in such a positive way.”

Other users were excited, and a little surprised, that the Orthodox music they’ve loved for years is getting so big.

“Yerushalayim” by the Miami Boys Choir.

From the 125th Psalm

  • Jerusalem
  • Hārim sābīb lāh
  • of Yhwāh’s word
  • me’attāh we’ad-owlām
  • Jerusalem
  • It is surrounded by mountains
  • and God surrounds his Nation
  • now and forever
  • “We grew up blasting MBC,” wrote one TikTok user, offering an English translation of “Yerushalayim,” which has been viewed more than 1.6 million times.

    When Chananya Begun started the Miami Boys Choir’s TikTok account three months ago, she knew people would love the content. He knew they would reach new audiences, and perhaps make new fans.

    He, too, is amazed at how universally positive the reaction has been.

    “People always assume that anti-Semitism is going to happen, and it is,” he says. “But here, it is almost completely lacking. There’s all this positivity and love.’

    It’s nice to see a noticeable lack of hate. However, Begun says the whole purpose of this kind of music, from groups like the Miami Boys Choir, is to spread a message of love.

    “This is what we want to show. If you’re pursuing excellence as the true person you’re meant to be, that can change hearts and minds,” says Begun. “That can make all the difference in the world.”