The subject title, “Have you seen this video yet? LOL!” is at the top of my e-mail inbox.
It’s to be expected around this time of year, when Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are book ending a week of autumn. Both my Jewish friends and relatives send mass e-mails in the hopes that practically half their address lists enjoys amateur YouTube videos singing about some holiday.
I’ve heard many of the videos’ jokes told in every possible way, sung to every possible song. Yet each year, I admittedly enjoy the newest viral video in the Jewish community. This year, the e-mail I received linked to a video of young Jewish Orthodox men singing about Rosh Hashanah to the tune of “Party Rock Anthem” while break dancing – surprisingly well – around the Old City in Jerusalem.
Islam, Hinduism, Christianity. Connect these religions with the term “parody” in the YouTube search bar and you are guaranteed to find someone relating his or her cultural traditions through a hit pop song. Curious to learn about Jumu’ah through the classical styling of Rebecca Black? Check. Ever felt the need to rap about Diwali over a mix of Nelly songs? YouTube’s got you covered there too.
While religion tends to be led by age-old texts, this recent influx of online videos produced by our generation, brings a new sense of relatability to religion. Seeing Judaism taken on by kids and young adults, makes me feel as if I’m participating. It’s fun to hear someone from another continent use the same Yiddish phrases my Grandma speaks to me, even if they’re sound tracked by songs that made me swear to rip my ears off if I heard them again.
I’m not the only one who occasionally enjoys these videos, as evidenced by a Christian parody of Thrift Shop that has more than 950,000 views. I even showed this year’s Rosh Hashanah video to my non-Jewish roommate and she burst out laughing at the goofy jokes and insisted on watching it again.
Religious parody videos get viewers excited about different cultures, which leads to more inter-cultural sharing. These videos create a kind of global connectivity that has only recently been tapped into through – jazz hands – the internet. But in all seriousness, even though the jokes may be corny, it’s pretty cool that people can share and express their feelings on religion through Katy Perry.
Hanna Greenblott is a sophomore English language and literature major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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