It can be rare to find such an exciting way to celebrate Hanukkah. “The community in Denver has about 50,000 Jews in it. 25, 2016. There are many events centered around Christmas, he said, but a dearth of novel ways to enjoy what’s known as the Festival of Lights. “Everything is closed on Christmas,” said Dana Stein, a long-time fan of the group who was at their concert while visiting family from New York. “You’ve (normally) got Chinese food or the movies,” said Avi Stein, who was sitting next to his wife, Dana. The Jews need something to connect them to Judaism.”
The Maccabeats repertoire did just that, mixing traditional Hebrew songs with modern pop hits, such as Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite.”
“Hanukkah is one of the most under-understood holidays,” said Rabbi Ahron Wasserman, who heads up The Jewish Experience. There ‘s a tremendous lack of involvement. “It’s the jackpot.”
The Maccabeats are a yarmulke-clad a cappella ensemble named after the Maccabees, the ancient Jewish warriors who fought the Greek army and who are central to the story of Hanukkah. The Maccabeats include a beat boxer that goes by the moniker “The Orthobox.”

The Maccabeats perform at George Washington HS. “This gives you another opportunity.” Related Articles

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“We really wanted to give the Jewish community something fun and exciting,” he said. The Maccabeats perform at George Washington High School on Sunday, Dec. A fun way for the Jewish community to spend Christmas/celebrate Hanukka pic.twitter.com/faOA8bytTC
— Jesse Aaron Paul (@JesseAPaul) December 25, 2016
For those who came to watch the performance, many of whom had children in tow, they were hoping to feel that sense of community and celebrate the holiday together. (Courtesy Sara Shvartzman)
Movie theaters, Chinese food and now a cappella. The group was founded at Yeshiva University in New York City several years back and have since taken their act on the road — internationally — and onto the internet, where their YouTube videos have won viral status. Hundreds gathered on Sunday afternoon at George Washington High School to watch a performance by the viral Jewish singing group The Maccabeats, kicking off Hanukkah in the Denver area and providing the city’s Jewish community a fun, alternative option to their unwritten Christmas Day traditions. Rabbi Raphael Leban, managing director of The Jewish Experience in Denver, said the idea behind Sunday’s concert was to give Colorado Jews a new way to gather and appreciate Hanukkah. The holiday began Saturday night and runs eights days. The Jewish group gave the Denver-area Jewish community a fun way to spend Christmas and a novel way to celebrate Hanukka. “We really miss the whole point.”
Wasserman said the holiday, which remembers how a vessel of oil for a temple that was supposed to last one day ended up burning for eight, should be recognized for Judaism’s survival. It’s a theme The Maccabeats capture through their music. “It happens that Hanukkah is our bread and butter,” said Noey Jacobson, one of the group’s founding members.