Melody Macher


Yeshiva of Rock

By Mordechai Shinefield

Four years ago, I received a burned CD copy of an unreleased album. Hastily written on the disc in black marker was the band’s name, The Marcus Brothers. The CD contained an album-worth of explicitly Orthodox rock. It was something of an underground Chabad secret, the group’s core members two real-life brothers, one of them a Lubavitcher emissary in California.Read More


Oi Va Voi's Brave New Klezmer

By Mordechai Shinefield

The experimental London ensemble Oi Va Voi opens its self-titled third album with a brave new look into the future of klezmer. On lead single “Yuri.”, a distorted, distant voice calls out, “I am a rocket, the power of the system/it’s bullet-proof technology/Oh, we’re going to a new world/Going to a better place.” Clarinet and strings evoke an Eastern European sound, as a techno beat carries the composition. The track ends with a sample of Russian radio, announcing the achievements of “pilot Major Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin,” and it becomes quite clear that Oi Va Voi has likewise made it into outer space.Read More


Metal Without Borders

By Mordechai Shinefield

Limp Bizkit may be coming out with a new album this year, but nu-metal — a genre of rock that melds hip-hop influences and pop-metal — died in America effective October, 2001 (with the debut of the chart-topping indie band The Strokes). Yet, while the death rattle of nu-metal rings here, Israeli nu-metal is vibrant and healthy.Read More


Making Ladino New Again

By Mordechai Shinefield

One of the more interesting developments in modern Jewish music is the emergence of a handful of bands that meld raucous New York rock and Putumayo-friendly world music. The Sarah Aroeste Band, a five-member group focused on the Judeo-Spanish music of the Ladino-speaking Diaspora, has become one of the scene’s pillars.Read More


Yidcore’s Revolution-less Rock

By Mordechai Shinefield

The Ramones, led by a Jewish kid from Queens, invented punk rock in 1974. Ironically, then, the only way to see a great, explicitly Jewish punk band today is to hop on a flight to Australia. There, some former yeshiva high-school students have been playing in a band called Yidcore for more than half a decade.Read More





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  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
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