Soul Bigger- An Evangelical Rap Video by NJOP

Here is a new video by National Jewish Outreach Program run By Rabbi Ephraim (Effie) Buchwald. He is mainstream Modern Orthodox and based at Lincoln Square Synagogue. They run Shabbat across America and read Hebrew America. When many of us knew Effie 35-25 years ago, the musical aspiration was Kingston Trio via Rabbis Sons. The new song is a remake of the Kanye West’s rap song Gold Digger (original is NSFW). In the episode “Showmance” of Glee, the cast covered and modified the song so that now even Jewfolk know the rap song.

But here in the NJOP version we have a new gospel choral added singing “repent repent repent.” We also have a neo-Calvinist message of cut your credit cards and start praying, give up greed and help the homeless.

This was so Evangelical that they issued their own statement in the Jewish Week. “when the first version of the lyrics came out, we questioned whether the repeating motif of repentance sounded too much like a church revival meeting. However, we realized that teshuvah (repentance in Hebrew) is one of the most beautiful and spiritual concepts in Judaism, far more so than any fire-and-brimstone idea that the word “repent” may conjure up.”

First Things summed it up “As proof that we Christians don’t have exclusive rights to the making of cheesy, religious-oriented videos, I give you the National Jewish Outreach Program’s reimagining of Kanye West’s “Gold Digger.”

Watch the whole thing it has different parts.



Any Thoughts or Comments? Ok now “make your soul bigger” sing along “Repent boy go ‘head Repent..Repent boy go ‘head Repent…”

h/t The Talmud Blog via FB

2 responses to “Soul Bigger- An Evangelical Rap Video by NJOP

  1. Well, Eppy’s version is better than the original.

    Despite the repetition of the word “repent,” note the absence of God and personal spirituality. I counted five mitzvot being advocated by this video, four actions by which one can make one’s soul bigger:

    Cut up the credit cards and stop shopping — don’t know whether that’s neocalvinism, making a virtue out of economic necessity, or just kicking the economy back into recession.
    Give to charity.
    Notice other people (though without risking any I-Thou interactions)
    Call your mother and apologize. (Note that “smashing the car” is considered a side effect of “partying” and insensitivity rather than a symptom of an alcohol problem.
    Go to synagogue for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur… where it is implied one can experience Gospel Music and mixed dancing
    My Classical Reform grandfather would have heartily endorsed all of this.

  2. I don’t think anybody is going to infer that you can expect John Landis-style line-dancing in the synagogue.

    Seems more like advocacy for karma in a multi-racial context (note the do-gooders’ varied skin colors).

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