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Israel’s Eurovision Entry Inspires Orthodox Tributes

Meet “Yeshiva Boy”

Liel Leibovitz
May 07, 2018
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BeatdosVia Facebook
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BeatdosVia Facebook

The Eurovision song contest, which much of the non-American world treats as one part singing competition, one part war by other means, kicks off tomorrow in Portugal, with Israel’s entry, “Toy” by Netta Barzilai, largely favored to win.

But while Barzilai’s pop confection excited some for its great beat and cheeky lyrics, others saw the song as an invitation to engage with spirituality: In recent weeks, “Toy” has been making the rounds in Israel’s haredi community, not only in its original version but thanks to a handful of playful cover versions that change the lyrics to better suit more pious listeners.

In “Yeshiva Boy,” for example, the a cappella group Beatdos rap about Hashem guiding the Jewish people and about the joy of prayer:

Offering a more unorthodox take, a singer calling herself Tehila the Kosher Diva released a version of her own, entitled “Goy” and pining, in Yiddish, for a non-Jewish lover:

Here’s hoping these tributes give Barzilai a little bit of much needed good luck at the contest itself, and that she wins big and brings the Eurovision back to Jerusalem next year.

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.