President Richard Joel on the Power of New Media and The Jewish Week on How YU’s A Capella Group is Rewriting Musical Expectations

By President Richard M. Joel

From zoot suits to flagpole sitting, the university campus has always been a source of fads and fun that spread beyond the campus. As young people focus on their education they also look to affirm their youth and push the envelope of tomorrow.

Yeshiva University's MaccabeatsDuring the last 10 days or so Yeshiva University’s men’s a cappella group, the Maccabeats, and their Hanukkah-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, dozens of stories broadcast on local radio and TV, and even a live performance on national television.

A cappella is a long tradition at universities. It reflects a love of music, shared fun and the ability to create and concoct harmonies. Add to that a catchy, popular song like “Dynamite,” a star willing to be spoofed and an eight-day holiday that offers ample time for momentum to build, and a group of young men can suddenly discover that they have captured lightning in a bottle.

Read full op-ed in The New York Jewish Week.

Plus, The New York Jewish Week’s Jonathan Mark on how YU’s a capella group, atop the Billboard charts, is rewriting musical expectations.