Michael Greenberg, 23
They are the Backstreet Boys of the Jewish world. Since their YouTube debut last December, the Maccabeats, an a cappella group of Yeshiva University students, have watched their hit single, “Candlelight,” go viral with 7 million YouTube hits, a performance for President Obama at the White House, and coverage in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and more.
But the student who founded the Maccabeats in 2007 describes himself as “just an average guy who likes to sing.” Michael Greenberg, a psychology major at Yeshiva University, is also the founder of the Miracle Match Campaign, a campaign that has raised over $85,000 for the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation through ticket sales and online donations. “We just found out in April that our first bone marrow transplant is set to take place,” said an enthusiastic Greenberg.
“I had always been looking for the right way to remember my mom,” said Greenberg, who ran this campaign to commemorate his mother who passed away from cancer. “When I had this idea, I knew it was right.”
What’s in store for the Maccabeats? “We’re sticking together, even though most of us are married — we’ve had so much fun so far, why stop now?” And feelings towards the new kids on the block over at YU — the new a cappella group (the Y-Studs)? “I'm a huge fan. It’s nice to be able to listen for a change.”
Fighting for agunot: Besides for the music that has inspired millions (one notable YouTube post saying, “Yo, thanks guys for reminding me how cool it is to be Jewish!”), Greenberg worked for the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot (ORA). Raising awareness about religious OCD: Greenberg works for a Yeshiva University program educating students about obsessive-compulsive disorder in religious people and mental health.