The last few weeks have seen the Miami Boys Choir go from a niche musical group known only by Orthodox Jews to international TikTok sensations. The choir, led by Yerachmiel Begun, released their first album 45 years ago, and little did they know that The Day Will Come when they would release their first TikTok video, which happened only 4.5 months ago. But it was the release of a clip in August that garnered them the attention Around the World not seen by a Jewish musical group since the Maccabeats released “Candlelight.”
As of now, their top video, a forty-second clip of four soloists singing their song “Yerushalyim” from a 2008 concert, has garnered 8.6 million views on TikTok, and the full version of the song has another 1.1 million views on YouTube. I Want to Know how many times this clip has been used in a Duet (TikTok’s term for creating a side-by-side video with the original sound), and I’m sure there’s an easy way to find out, but I’m a millennial, and TikTok isn’t really my jam.
There is not much that unanimously brings Klal Yisroel Together, but whenever a frum Jew, or in this case, a group of us, garners international attention, you can be sure that the rest of us will Stand Up and show the world how proud we are to be represented by these children who Live a Life of Torah and are not afraid to show it.
There are a few points that make the success of MBC even more improbable. First, we have to acknowledge how the song was not much of a hit in our world. While diehard MBC fans probably were quite familiar with “Yerushalayim,” it’s not like you ever heard it outside an MBC concert. But that is the power of TikTok. This is an app that was responsible for “Jiggle Jiggle,” in which someone dug up a twenty-year-old British interview that discussed a rap, and set it to music. That song now has over 7 million views. So you could say that it is simply The Hand of Hashem that decides what is successful on this app.
Secondly, there has been almost no antisemitism (save one Rolling Stone article) surrounding the virality of this video. This is all despite the overt understanding of what the song is about. The definition of the song is not a secret, and people understand what those singing it believe about Jerusalem, and the big takeaway from this is that nobody cares. One By One, TikTok users post videos dancing, singing, translating, and commenting on their favorite, but none really care to comment on the geopolitical implications of the song. They just enjoy the talent on display.
This is one of those feel-good stories that we always want to have to represent our community, and should Never Give Up trying to earn. The leibedik singing and dancing these kids have shown B’simcha Rabah are a terrific way to represent our One Torah Nation. The now-adults from that viral video have enjoyed their fame and used it to show that one can be famous and still Be A Mentch in doing so.
So as we go into Sukkos, Would You Please Lift Up Your Candle and help the MBC Light Up the Nights with their music. Their success has clearly been Min Hashamayim, and if you are a frum person who is just as talented as the four soloists in that clip, We Need You to help add onto their success by sharing your talent with the world.
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.