The Orthodox day school my sisters and I attended strongly discouraged listening to secular music. Back in the day, I hid a mixed tape of Avril Lavigne in my sock drawer.
Now, my teenaged sisters don’t hide their music, and often blast the latest teen pop sensation throughout the house, much to the annoyance of everyone else in the family. In the past decade plus, many things have changed, but not everything. When one sister played hooky to sneak off early one morning to catch a Shawn Mendes concert at the Today Show, my parents were decidedly unhappy.
About a year later, my sister has evidence that Shawn Mendes is just another Yiddishe singer. As Mandy Patinkin shared with James Corden, Mendes writes his songs in Yiddish first, just like Irving Berlin:
Miriam Levy-Haim is a student at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Master’s program in Middle Eastern Studies, with a particular interest in the history of Jews of the Middle East. She has worked for several Jewish educational institutions developing curricula for adults and teens.