Rolling Stone’s Antisemitic Take On Miami Boys Choir

When it comes to going viral, anything is fair game. One day it’s about a kid eating corn, the next it’s an Orthodox Jewish music group.

The Miami Boys Choir shocked the Internet when young boys in yarmulkes performing their song, “Yerushalayim Harim Saviv La,” became head-bopping content for both Jews and non-Jews alike on TikTok. Religion and race didn’t discriminate when it came to dancing around in your living room to the tune of these sweet voices.

Tweets were fired, most in amazement at how much they genuinely loved the boys’ voices and the song. Coverage reached national widespread news outlets.

Unfortunately though, not all news was positive. There was a moment when I noticed that Rolling Stone had covered the story — it was cool to see an Orthodox group on such a mainstream music mag’s site. Then, I got about halfway down, and my stomach churned.

“Despite the seeming inevitability of one or more of these boys getting Milkshake Duck’ed (probably not a great idea to ask any of them about their opinions on Israel and Palestine)…” the article read. Ummmmmm, excuse me?

In an attempt to remain refined, I’m not going to use any of the blasphemous words that came to mind here, but that dig at Orthodox Jews is more than a little concerning.

If you’re not familiar, as I was not, “Milkshake Duck’ed” means a person who gains popularity on social media for some positive or charming trait, but is later revealed to have a distasteful history or to engage in offensive behavior, according to Wikipedia.

So in an article when the writer is attempting to praise the amazement she has about how talented these young singers are, she deemed it necessary to presume that later in life they’ve obviously engaged in distasteful behavior simply because they’re religious Jews? The amount of discrimination in just a couple sentences is deep, and the fact that it passed through editing without so much as a red flag also has me throwing up my hands in both disbelief and disgust.

I used to work in the mainstream magazine industry. When I did, there was an emphasis on diversity — we worked hard to show different races and body types on the page. Why doesn’t that same focus apply to the Orthodox Jewish community? Why are so many people so quick to judge when it comes to a group that they don’t know much about and make assumptions based on external appearances or rumors flying around?

Later, on a podcast discussing the article, the author says further, “I know enough about the Orthodox Jewish community…It’s more likely than not that some of them grew up to be anti-vaxxers who won’t shake women’s hands because they could possibly be menstruating. That is a very large possibility.”

The sheer irony of starting the sentence with “I know enough about the Orthodox Jewish community,” and ending it with assuming an entire mass group of people are anti-vaxxers who don’t shake hands with women because they are menstruating is almost comical. The amount that is misunderstood in that presumption alone is vast and completely obvious to anyone who actually has learned about Orthodox Judaism. (Read the actual reason here.)

If this was an article about a Muslim group, would the writer have brought up the Israeli/Palestinian conflict or Muslims laws of modesty? At what point is that all relevant to a group of innocent child singers performing more than 10 years ago? How are these not antisemtic and deeply troubling statements?

I had an incident at one magazine when a coworker made a comment about how a husband isn’t allowed to sleep in the same bed as his wife when she’s menstruating because she’s “dirty.” I quickly stepped in, explaining what’s really going on at the time a woman has her period and why certain laws are in effect, and actually why so much of it is a really beautiful thing. My coworkers just didn’t know about it and had never heard it explained in more detail. They heard bits and pieces from who knows where that were just picked up because they sounded a bit salacious. That needs to end. 

I’m going to judge this Rolling Stones incident favorably, (we are just coming off of Yom Kippur, after all) because despite the writer’s attacks on a community I am a part of and feel strongly about, I also can imagine they are coming from a place of hurt, and ignorance.

As in any group — black, white, asian, and yes, Jewish, there are people of all types with all different beliefs. I’m not sure how when talking about the Jewish community, there is free rein to say whatever one might want. We need to support minorities, and that also needs to include Jews.

Are you unsure about something? Educate yourself more. Maybe actually speak with an actual Orthodox person before making assumptions about something or taking a dig when you really know nothing about what you’re saying. Words have serious effects – especially when amplified in large media outlets. The rise of antisemitic incidents is there to prove it. 

Orthodox Jews aren’t just people who look different — with curled payot and black hats or long skirts and tights. These are real people with real souls and feelings and they come in many different forms. As an Orthodox Jew, I can say that we all look different. No one in this world is perfect, no one group and no single individual, so can we please stop making it okay to hate on the Jews?

The more people stay silent and the more we allow these disgusting anti-semitic comments to continue, the more we allow hate to exist. 

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  • Avatar photo Rafael says on October 14, 2022

    “knows enough about orthodox Judaism. . ” not to notice that none of the boys have peiyos or tzitzit?

  • Avatar photo Rachel says on October 21, 2022

    “probably not a great idea to ask any of them about their opinions on Israel and Palestine”
    So, Rolling Stone writer, only antisemitic takes on Israel and Palestine are valid?


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