The Maccabeats transform song into anti-bullying message

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By Elyssa Morris
Bullying is a very unique message that is not typically thought of when Hanukkah comes to mind. This holiday season the signers of the group, The Maccabeats, an all-male Jewish a cappella group, tackled the seriousness of this issue while also relating it to the story of Hanukkah.
The Maccabeats formed in 2007 at Yeshiva University, and are known for their videos and covers of pop songs. The group gained fame on YouTube and has received international attention and coverage for its performances.
In addition to it’s a cappella covers, the group also re-writes the lyrics of popular songs to incorporate Jewish themes and holidays. Since the group released their first video, “Candlelight,” a Hanukkah themed song to the tune of “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz, they have continued to re-write these popular songs into holiday hits.
Their newly released song, “Burn-Hanukkah” is a cover of Ellie Goulding’s “Burn.” Although the words themselves are not changed drastically, this years Hanukkah’s song is very much focused on the music video. In the music video, it features a Jewish boy who is ashamed and made fun of in school because of his religion. When he spends Hanukkah with his family he gains the strength to be proud that he is Jewish and stand up to the bullies at school.
The Jewish people have been faced with years of anti-Semitism and still are strong to this day and have mustered up the ability to stand up for themselves.
Dana Tarnopal, a junior education major, enjoyed the video but was put off by its message.
“I think bullying is definitely an issue today and needs to be addressed. I do not think that it should have been brought up in this music video. Hanukkah is supposed to be festive and enjoyable. The holiday seasons are all about appreciating what you have.”
This powerful music video also parallels the story of Hanukkah. The Greeks bullied the Jewish people and thought that because the Jewish people were so small in number compared to the mighty Greeks, that they would not be able to defeat the Greeks in battle. In the end, even though the Jews were smaller than the Greeks, they were still able to defeat them and regain the temple.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a good message but I would say that it does parallel the message of Hanukkah in some ways,” said sophomore journalism major Jaclyn Turner in reaction to seeing the music video for the first time.
As we all know the story of Hanukkah progresses from there. The rabbis find just a small amount of oil to light the menorah for just one day but by a miracle, it lasts for eight nights. May the miracle of Hanukkah continue and spread joy and strength to victims of bullying on both large and small scales and may the find the courage to rise above it.
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