Nice Jewish Bad Boys

The New Black: Nice Jewish Bad Boys

For some younger, hipper members of the hat-conscious, ultra-Orthodox crowd, the old black is also the new black. But in the Israeli-made streaming series The New Black, set in a prestigious Jerusalem yeshiva, the debate over fedora fashion is Borsalino vs. Barbisio, rather than over those huge, furry shtreimels. It’s easy to understand the exotic appeal of recent shows about the various Haredi sects, to Jews and non-Jews alike. Both audiences are likely to view them as our quaint version of the insular, anachronistic Amish—but with a sharper, more caustic sense of humor. I enjoyed the critical and critically praised Unorthodox, but I gave up on Shtisel after two episodes, finding the patriarchy insufferable. And I have purposely eschewed popular, Israeli-made espionage series. My previous viewing interest has focused on series aimed at general, secular audiences, with some...

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Fierce Competition for Yeshiva A Cappella

By Charles Kopel Just when you thought the Maccabeats craze was finally over, a new a cappella group is making strides in Washington Heights. The Y-Studs is performing at Yeshiva University (YU) events, posting videos on Youtube, and giving the competition a run for its money. More surprisingly, the suggestively-named group at the Orthodox school is exploring non-Jewish themes. Among its repertoire are renditions of the gospel tune This Little Light of Mine, The Lion King classic Be Prepared, and Bruno Mars’ Marry You (first performed for a public marriage proposal on the Yeshiva campus). It’s rolling out the Jewish hits as well, including remakes of Rabbi Isaac Hutner’s Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh and Naomi Shemer’s Lu Yehi (the Israeli response to the Beatles’ Let it Be). Ironically enough, the presentation of non-Jewish themed music to YU...

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