If you’ve been remotely online over the last month, you’ve probably come across a group of adorable and ultra-talented Orthodox boys. More specifically, you’ve probably seen this TikTok of the Orthodox pop group Miami Boys Choir:
🗣🗣🗣🗣 after 40+ years of performance excellence, here were 4 soloists who helped usher in big changes for the Miami Boys Choir – the beginning of the Gen-Z generation of MBC’s worldwide fans and followers (2008-2012) #vocals #solo #performance #israel #ישראל #מוסיקה #music #jewish
As Jackie Hajdenberg wrote for JTA, “The Miami Boys Choir has transformed over the last [few] weeks from a singing group popular among Jewish insiders to a viral sensation. On TikTok and Twitter, users have shared clips of the group’s concerts, overlaid its music with other scenes and inserted themselves into split-screen duets. New fans of MBC, as the group is known for short, have chosen their favorite singers through their stage presence, their vocals, or simply their ‘it’ factor.”
But how much do you actually know about MBC?
Here are 18 things to know about the Miami Boys Choir.
1. The Miami Boys Choir is more than 40 years old! It was founded in 1977 by Orthodox composer and musical director Yerachmiel Begun.
2. MBC is not actually based in Miami. Though Begun founded the choir in Miami Beach, he moved the group to New York City in 1980 — but kept the Miami name!
3. MBC’s music is composed by Yerachmiel Begun, who also choreographs.
4. The group’s English-language songs are written by Shoshana Begun, a classical pianist and the wife of the director.
5. The group had been on TikTok for only a few months when it went viral. Additionally, Chananya Begun, Yerachmiel’s son, initially suggested creating the account at a Shabbat meal.
“I just think something crazy might happen,” Chananya told JTA, adding, “For me, personally, I was obviously motivated for multiple reasons, as far as furthering my father’s legacy and Miami’s legacy.”
Chananya was right! Two months ago, when he launched the MBC TikTok, they had OK engagement. But after a TikTok featuring a performance of the song “Yerushalayim” blew up, so has MBC.
6. The group has 32 albums currently in discography. You can listen to the This Is Yerachmiel Begun & the Miami Boys Choir Spotify playlist here:
7. Some graduates of the group have responded with their own TikTok about MBC!
Here’s David Herskowitz’s response:
Here’s Binyomin Abramowitz’s response:
And here’s a video from both A. and C. Abramowitz (the original Miami Boys Choir TikTok mislabels A. Abramowitz as C. Abramowitz):
Once a Miami Boy, always a Miami Boy @miamiboyschoir
8. After the Miami Boys Choir went viral, a Rolling Stone article made comments about MBC that some have found offensive.
Of the boys (now men) from the viral MBC videos, reporter EJ Dickson wrote that it is “probably not a great idea to ask any of them about their opinions on Israel and Palestine.” Additionally, Dickson said in a podcast, “I know enough about the Orthodox Jewish community. I do feel like one of these kids are gonna get Milkshake Duck’ed very fast.”
Dickson added, “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.”
9. The Miami Boys Choir sings both in English and in Hebrew.
10. The Miami Boys Choir does an annual tour of the tri-state area around Sukkot! You can buy tickets for their show on October 12 in Lakewood, New Jersey here!
11. MBC has had a huge influence in the Orthodox music world. The Yeshiva Boys Choir, another Orthodox Jewish all-boys choir, was founded in the early 2000s, and numerous MBC grads have gone on to be part of the Maccabeats, the Orthodox all-male a cappella group famous for their parody songs like “Candlelight.”
13. The Miami Boys Choir’s most-watched TikTok has 9 MILLION views, and their most-viewed video on YouTube has over 1 MILLION views! (Of course, both of these videos feature the song “Yerushalayim.”)
Check out the full live video of “Yerushalayim” here:
14. Some of the soloists in the “Yerushalayim” video have attained K-Pop-like status, with viewers choosing one as their favorite. For example, here’s a TikTok for “Yoshi Stans”:
And here’s a TikTok of someone who favors Binyomin:
15. Boys in the choir retire around 14 or 15 when their voices get too deep for the songs.
16. If you’ve been online in the last few weeks, you’ve probably also heard about The Try Guys scandal. (You can read more about it here.) In a recent podcast, Jewish Try Guy Zach Kornfeld revealed that he dealt with the stress of the scandal by listening to the Miami Boys Choir!
“You [can] do what I did which [was] oscillate between venting on the phone and then disassociating via the Miami Boys Choir, my favorite little Jewy posse of beautiful singers,” Zach said.
17. The Miami Boys Choir has gone viral beyond the Jewish world! Below is a collection of the best responses from TikTok and Twitter.
Long live the boys! The 2008 Miami Boys Choir is going to change everything. #jewishtiktok
Make the Miami Boys Choir the Super Bowl halftime show.
— OLIVIA witherite⁷ (@Oliviawitherite) September 29, 2022
yerushalayim by the miami boys choir pic.twitter.com/XvsGwrvuu6
— ash (pissy shitties) (pronouns x2) (@m1dn1ghtrad1o) October 1, 2022
Pitch perfect should have been based on the Miami boys choir
— youngest known hag (@glamdemon2004) September 28, 2022
18. However, a more recent iteration of the Miami Boys Choir looks like this: