By Doni Kandel
The Yeshiva University Maccabeats, the university’s a capella group that has taken the United States by storm, received one of their first ugly lessons in stardom Monday morning. While taping a performance on the CBS Early Show, Maccabeats vocalist Nachum Joel suffered a wardrobe malfunction after one of his beat-mates bumped into him, knocking his yarmulke to the ground, exposing the top of his head. Joel frantically picked up the fallen skull cap and slammed it back on his head but the CBS cameras had already caught every second of his nude scalp on tape.
This, of course, was not the first time CBS has been victimized by unfortunate garment error. CBS was the station that covered Super Bowl XXXVIII when Janet Jackson was briefly exposed by co-performer Justin Timberlake during their half-time performance. CBS-Daytime Senior Vice President Barbara Bloom told reporters Monday that “Kipa-gate”, as it has come to be known, has been far worse. “I have had phone calls from just about every single high school rabbi in the country. They are upset with our handling of the situation and for some strange reason many of them have tried to convince me that talking to boys is bad for my spiritual growth as well as trying to convince me to go to a seminary in Israel for a year. My insistence that I am almost forty did very little to deter them.”
The FCC has joined up with the JCC to discuss an appropriate fine for the television station as well as the appropriate actions to be taken with the young singers.
A number of Rabbis who teach at Yeshiva University claim to have warned the fledgling stars of the potential pitfalls of achieving fame and fortune. Rabbi David Hersh, a rabbi in the YU Yeshiva Program lamented that, “I told them up and down something like this would happen! What’s next? A gig at a treif [non-kosher] restaurants? An office Christmas party? Hashem yerachem!”
Although he is newly engaged (mazal tov!) Joel has admitted his skull cap mishap has earned him some extra female attention. “I’m not gonna lie to you,” he told reporters outside the YU campus in scenic Washington Heights, “The shidduch proposals have been flowing in by the hundreds. It’s pretty flattering once you weed out all those strange top-of-the-head enthusiasts.”
While Joel has managed to find the lighthearted side of the mishap, other Maccabeats members have been unable to share his calm. A number of the group’s members who plan on visiting Israel over winter break are now fearful of being met at Ben-Gurion Airport by a sea of Ultra-Orthodox garbage burning protests. Maccabeats member Immanuel Shalev issued a plea to the Haredi community to “please just let my family get from the Airport to Big Apple Pizza, the Kipa Man on Ben Yehuda Street and then to the David Citadel Hotel, in peace.”
Similar to the Janet Jackson fiasco, a number of conspiracy theories have materialized as to the real nature of the yarmulke gaffe. There have been whispers amongst the Jewish a capella community that while the Maccabeats knew that the inappropriate exposure would be frowned upon at their own university, they may have orchestrated the bare-all in order to find favor in the notoriously more raucous University of Maryland Jewish Community. Another popular theory places the blame on famous Jewish Reggae artist Matisyahu. Matisyahu is alleged to have replaced Joel’s yarmulke clips with far weaker ones before the live on-air appearance, insuring that the whipping New York early morning wind would launch his head covering sky high. Proponents of this conspiracy claim that the motive for the Reggae sensation is apparent bitterness over the Maccabeats receiving almost two million more hits on YouTube for their hit song “Candle Light” (2,251,391 at press time) than Matisyahu’s own new Chanukah song “Miracle” (367,552), despite the a capella group’s performance as the opening act for Matisyahu at YU’s Chanukah Party a week ago.
When asked if they would ever consider performing with Timberlake now that they are forever linked in pop culture, Joel told reporters he certainly would, “as long as he promises to keep his hands away from my tzitzit.”