America’s Got Talent – But What About Yiddishkeit?

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By CB Frommer

I have been wondering about a particular point I have seen made online over the last day.

Most people in the frum world, including Matzav readers, heard about two frum guys who got onto a show called America’s Got Talent. Everyone was ecstatic with their Jewish pride as two guys with white shirts and tzitzis hanging out – and I give them credit for the way they were dressed – performed. They are apparently very talented beat-boxers, though I don’t even know what that means.

The two frum contestants won over the crowd and even got yeses from the four judges to move on to the next round.

Okay, so this is all fun, and great conversation. And we’re all proud, pounding our chests about how great it is that these guys are representing us so nicely. But is this where we’re at in our frum world? Is this where we should be holding?

I am not here to criticize, but more to ask for a gut check. How much farther are we going to go? Is entertainment just entertainment? Have we just embraced secular culture and just thrown in the towel?

Have we become way too comfortable with the culture that surrounds us?

Matzav readers, let me know what you feel.



  1. We are going far. And that is why so many Kehilas have Noshrim NOSHRIM leaving us.

    Guys see TV and then want to emulate and be part of it.

    I thought it is cute but not for a Ben Torah.

    • so tell me what is jewish music? because in the vilna goans time they sure weren’t playing 1910s Jazz mixed with Klezmer. If i remember correctly Klezmer wasn’t looked at like it was too Jewish in Europe either. so the question is whats authentic. just like in two generations from now “bat mitzvahs” will be the common thing todo. when i was growing up who heard of bat mitzvahs??? only modern communities did those!

  2. While we’re at it, let’s throw into this same discussion the tzitzis-wearing male contestant on Ametican Ninja warrior

  3. Just as there is a growing awareness of how the body’s gut health affects our over-all health, there needs to be an awareness of how our spiritual “gut health” affects our Yiddishkeit. Yes, a “gut check” is in order.

  4. Regardless of the percentage of those who leave the fold, even in the ‘frum’ circle we are no doubt a bit too up close and comfortable with american culture. You know it’s true for a long time now.

  5. Why is it any worse than Jewish Theater back in the 1930’s? Every true Ben Torah know that they do not represent us. Look at Neturei Karta, they look Jewish but do they represent us? Looks can be deceiving and for anyone to associate themselves with them as being part of Orthodox Jewry are misguided and are totally removed from reality. We all know this is not rotzon Hashem and what we should be encouraging our young to turn to. Its a Yetzer Hora dressed in frum clothing. Thats it

    • “Frum clothing” is apparently a Yetzer Hora! if it can deceive so easily it apparently isn’t so Jewish! years ago people would say somebody was erhlich. why would they say that?? because you cant fake erhlichkeit.

  6. Just keep telling people what they are doing is going against Yiddishkiet lets all see how your negativity helps the boys with talents you do not agree with. STOP PUSHING PEOPLE AWAY

  7. And the list goes on……. Unfortunately, too many on our society are unhappy and cannot find inner piece with themselves and turn to the outside influences of the world for their pleasure. The attitude of live and let live, the force of equality, the need to be something else all come from the same source. The inability to connect to the RBS”O Bsimcha. Everyone feels they have the right to decide for themselves where to draw their line and nobody has the right to tell them otherwise. Sadly it is no longer about a Mesorah, it is not about Dvaykus, it is about connecting and you can’t tell me how I should connect or what will help me connect.

    So, if I want to listen to the music of certain people – bug off it’s my right. If I want to express myself by break dancing and with body gyrations – bug off it’s my right. If I will connect by singing and dancing at 2 in the morning in the city on Selichos night – bug off it’s my right. If I want to drink till I am drunk at a kiddush or simcha – bug off it’s my right. And the list goes on……..

    Frum ehrlicha yidden don’t belong on talent shows or gladiator shows or any other of these types of shows but hey – bug off it’s my right.

    As the saying goes, when in Rome do as the Romans do. We live in America and we are surrounded by this through the media, social media, the internet, the ads at bus stops and everywhere we turn and unless we fight to remain a machanecha kodosh then when in America we will do as the Americans do.

    So sad.

    • If you invest in mayhem it might come more strong.

      Give the kids credit. The non-orthodox will see them and think more about their own heritage. Hashem does much.

      Five year olds understand human easy expressions. It takes years of restricted thinking to decide the simple becomes occult.

      Don’t bug off too quick. The yireh jives when you bug on and make the bumbling fools more angry. They can not mind the war.


  8. As a very consistent reader and learner of Rav Hirsh’s sfarim. Sfarim that I think that community holds high; I would suggest that the answer to this question lies in there. From the insight Ive gained over the years from Rav Hirsch; I do not think it’s in his hashkafos to fall into this culture…..
    I actually believe these guys are good, erlich guys and with ratzon tov who are misguided…

  9. To paraphrase the great S Y Rechnitz, why does everything that people do, need approval from a bais din of 50,000 people?
    Are you their rebbeim? No. So this article is nothing more than lashon hora, as it portrays what these guys did negatively. Despite the disclsimer of “i am not here to criticize”, that’s exactly what it does.

    • I was thinking along those same lines. Even if someone well versed in hilchos loshon hora deems it OK to write a public article like this one, it certainly shouldn’t be opened for comments from the peanut gallery.

    • I agree with you…. Nevertheless we should never ever close our eyes to the yetzer harah that wants to asimilate our most precious treasures -our children- once they see someone do something, they take it as if it is permited. Lets raise our voice in order that they should know that this- and many other- places are not for a frum yid…

      • Isn’t it interesting how some people come with arguments for (lashon hara; who are you to judge, etc.) and some come with arguments against (this is assimilation, not a frum thing to do, etc). – ?
        What does that say about the Mesora? That it’s broad enough to accommodate all types of arguments? With so many sources and teachings, how do we know what’s “correct”?

  10. Leave them alone. You don’t like them? Ignore them.
    Where were your letters of deep introspection when chilul Hashem after Chilul Hashem happens? No, it’s easier to bury your head in the sand then.
    Save your umbrage for real Aveirois.

  11. I’m not angry at what they did. It’s a nebach, that these young boys are hurting so much inside that they needed to do this.
    We shouldn’t judge and just daven that they should get back on the right path

  12. In the alta Heim such things weren’t done. There was this sense of si paas nisht. Today, it’s, I’ll do what I want when I want and don’t you dare tell me otherwise or I’ll go off the derech. Parents are beholden to their children, not the other way around. Sad.

  13. Come on, This is the reason of OTD???
    I’m not sure… Maybe this is only a symptom…
    Good or not, Gdolei Yisroel are the ones to decide… And not…

  14. Well put, BTD. We live in a clone mentality, where people are petrified of what anyone else will think of them. Kudos to these two who abandoned the straightjacket of this writer, and used their talents for a purely permissible endeavor.

  15. There are places where a yid should never go as they are ment to asimilate our thoughts, feelings and behavior.
    Life has shown us time and again that this mixings and goyishe gatherings only help a yid to push him further away toifrom rah and mitzvos.
    There are many other ways to keep busy and enjoy life in a kosher way that enables our youth to use their talents in a much more productive way.
    So sad that we are coping what happened in times of the haskala…

    • oh you didn’t get the memo Jews have already done what the Haskala wanted to accomplish. do you have a secular education? do you embrace scholarly ways of investigating halacha (like the brisker method)? some people have no idea of Jewish History!

  16. To those that posted the clip and sent it to friendsand contacts: Where have we fallen to when we feel free to post this clip. Where is the embarrassment to publicly post a clip like that

  17. Amen brother!!! (Or sister?)

    Far too many people confuse “kiddish haShem” with “feel good” HOWEVER just because the story made you feel good, does NOT make it a kiddish haShem!

  18. To ask if the Jewish community has accepted to much as far as acculturation towards secular culture. Is a hypocritical question. and shows a lack of the breadth of Jewish history. how many Yeshivas 200 years ago in Europe had secular educations? how many religious girls schools before the beis yakov movement? Do you think the Vilna Goan listened to 1910s Jazz mixed with Klezmer music aka “Jewish Music”? Do you use a cellphone or the internet? Did Jews adopt the printing press? Or did they forbid it and continue hand writing every Jewish manuscript by Hand? Litvishe Jews once upon a time wore schvonces. and not to long ago (around the turn of the last century) they wore a hat like what you can see the Chofetz Chaim wore. and more recently you can see in Europe the wore a hat like the fedora in all types of shapes and sizes and colors! To many people nowadays are to focused on what looks good on the outside and won’t stand out or cause waves. Erhlichkeit is the cure to this despicable use of Frumkeit. Judiasm most be built on Emes! if all its built on are the non-essentials at the detriment of the essentials then all you are left with is “Frumkeit” which is a Judiasm built on Sheker!

  19. I can’t figure out if you’re bashing these boys or if you’re bashing the people who are proud of these boys.

    As for myself, whenever I find myself critical of others leshem shamayim, if I do some serious soul searching, I discover It stems from jealousy that I work so hard to not do that thing and yet this other person is doing it and even feeling pleasure from it. Then I feel guilty because I wonder if my religious convictions are not actually for the sake of Hashem, because if they were I shouldn’t feel jealousy even deep down. Yet, I still need to find the nekudah tovah in my jealousy because we are obligated to judge ourselves lekaf zechus.

    The only judging we should ever be doing is when we judge favorably. If it’s you whom you’re referring to, that you feel guilty that you felt a sense of pride watching them, then you are obligated to judge yourself favorably too. If it’s them that you’re judging unfavorably, then your yetzer hara is laughing all the way to the bank because he managed to convince you that you’re so free of negatives that you now need to make sure that no one else engages in negatives. If it’s that you’re worried about a holocaust because in yeshiva they tell you that if you act like the goyim then hashem will destroy you, then daven extra hard for moshiach and work extra hard to separate yourself as much as possible from secular culture.

    About these boys, Hashem created us to like famous people and it feels good when we see people who look like one of us (whether or not you, I or they are chareidi, chassidish or whatever), especially when they make a positive impression in public on the secular society.

  20. Re:Lakewooder – “It’s a nebach, that these young boys are hurting so much inside that they needed to do this.” What makes you think they’re hurting inside? To enjoy using one’s talent is a sign of inner turmoil?So they’re talented at beat-boxing and enjoy doing it for people’s enjoyment, why does that mean they’re ‘hurting’ or spiritually inferior to you? Why are you looking with such a shallow, chitzoniusdike kuk?

    And why is this the issue we’re so concerned with when there are serious problems in our communities?
    Why are we concerned with adjusting our tie when our pants have fallen down?


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