Culture, Mishegas, Religion

Ortho-punk High Holy Days!

For a minute there I thought the world had come to an end.
According to The Forward, on Rosh haShanah at The North Eastern Jewish Centre, an Orthodox synagogue in Australia, the largely conservative, middle-class congregants were “forced to face a Jewish choirmaster named Bram Presser”, who just happens to be the lead singer of Australian punk band Yidcore!
Nothing wrong with that – but I was having a hard time imagining an Orthodox synagogue here in New York ever appointing someone like Joey Ramone as choirmaster.
Not that there wouldn’t be an Orthodox synagogue open-minded enough to do so, I’m sure there’d be many – just I’d find it hard to believe that Joey Ramone would show up in time for services that routinely start as early as 6:30AM – at least in my neighborhood! What kind of a punkster could Bram Presser be with that kind of early morning schedule!?
So I googled North Eastern Jewish Centre and then I understood. At North Eastern Jewish Centre Shacharit during Festivals begins at 9:15AM!
Not bad Bram, and I’m sure you did a bang-up job, but you and I both know that even at 9:15AM Joey would’ve overslept.
[Note to God: In deference to the 10 days of Teshuva I have made no mention whatsoever of the fact that North Eastern Jewish Centre is Chabad in this post; no judgments or innuendos, not even an oblique reference to ‘zman krias shma’ – I hope that counts for something!]

9 thoughts on “Ortho-punk High Holy Days!

  1. It was the Shabbat after Joey was niftar, and I was called for maftir. I considered replacing the bracha before the haftarah with a “one-two-three-four” and reading the haftarah at Ramones tempo but only a few other people in the room would have gotten it, so I did it the regular way.

  2. The fact that he’s choirmaster now seems more punk than the act itself. But seriously, isn’t the yidcore shtick getting a little old?

  3. The article says, “Presser has managed to straddle the seemingly incongruous worlds of traditional Judaism and punk rock.” The more I find out about different Jewish punk bands, the more I don’t think the worlds are all that “incongruous.” I met Bram Presser and interviewed him in December while covering Yidcore’s U.S. tour for the Forward and, well, it works–even if it might seem strange to some.
    Here was my article:

  4. What’s the big deal? Is he leading the choir in all punk renditions of your favorite High Holiday tunes?
    A good musician is a good musician, regardless of the idiom.
    Heck, I practically invented Jewish Punk and I recorded two albums for Rabbi Twerski.

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