This time around, the Maccabeats are getting serious.
Instead of dressing up like brutish Greek philosophers in togas with undershirts and Nikes, they’re sporting dark jackets and serious expressions to take on bullying.
With more than 10 million YouTube hits proving that they weren’t just a flash-in-the-pan viral sensation, the all-boy a cappella group has decided to use its vast platform to take a stand on social issues.
Three years after their song “Candlelight,” a take on Taio Cruz’s hit “Dynamite,” caught fire and made the Maccabeats a (Jewish) household name, the group hopes that its latest effort will give strength to young students who face abuse — be it physical or emotional.
“Bullying is an important social issue that means a lot to the members of the group, and we seized the opportunity to take it on in our video,” said Maccabeat Michael Greenberg. “We have the opportunity to help, and so we also have the responsibility to do so.”
The Chanukah-themed “Burn” (see below) takes a somber tone compared to the celebratory “Candlelight” and its 2011 follow-up, “Purim Song,” a parody of Pink’s “Raise Your Glass.” Gone are the Brady Bunch-esque checkerboards with group members exchanging high fives while switching squares. The new video features the Maccabeats at night, singing in front of an ominous-looking 15-foot chanukiah, and interspersed scenes of a high school-aged boy wearing a hat to hide his kipa from menacing jocks.
As they have with past songs, the Maccabeats, which originally formed at Yeshiva University, are using “Burn” to raise money for bone marrow testing. Through the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, they founded the Judy Greenberg Miracle Match Campaign in 2011 in memory of Michael’s mother, who died from leukemia.
Each bone marrow testing kit costs $60 to process and the foundation doesn’t charge anyone to be tested, according to Ruth Miller, special projects coordinator for Gift of Life. The Maccabeats’ 2011 rendition of Matisyahu’s “Miracle” included a link to donate money toward paying for the kits.
“We had no idea what to expect, but the next thing we know, they raised over $90,000 in two weeks,” Miller said. Since then, the Miracle Match Campaign has paid for over 2,700 kits and 45 matches.
The Maccabeats were honored at Gift of Life’s 2012 annual gala, an event in which Mayim Bialik, star of TV’s “The Big Bang Theory,” herself a fan of the group, served as master of ceremonies. As she did in 2012, Bialik appears in a corresponding video on the Maccabeats website urging people to donate to Gift of Life.
To make a donation to the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, go to http://www.makesomemiracles.com