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[YU News] The Maccabeats Go to Washington

President Joel and Maccabeats Attend White House Reception for Jewish American Heritage Month

On Tuesday, May 17, President Barack Obama hosted a reception for Jewish community leaders from across the country, rabbis, members of Congress, and a broad range of leaders engaged in business, the arts, education, and public and community service in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month.

“The Jewish community in the United States has always stood for freedom, and that includes our unshakeable support and commitment to the security of the State of Israel,” said President Obama.

Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel was in attendance, as well as YU’s a cappella group, The Maccabeats, who provided musical entertainment.

“In celebrating the contributions of the Jewish people to the United States, the White House gathering heightened our Jewish pride and challenged us to live up to our past successes,” said President Joel. “It was wonderful to see a room filled with so many Jewish notables as guests of the leader of the free world.”

In his remarks, President Obama thanked the Maccabeats for their “outstanding performance.”

“They just did an outstanding number for me—it was very brief—that said, ‘four more years,’” said President Obama. “It was good. I really liked it. So thank you.”

Noah Jacobson, Yeshiva College junior and a tenor for the Maccabeats, described the experience as a “surreal moment.”

“Performing at the White House was a dream come true for many of us,” said Jacobson, a Houston, TX native. “It was almost hard to believe where we were—that we were actually singing our repertoire in the East Room.”

YU graduate and fellow Maccabeat Immanuel Shalev echoed Jacobson’s sentiments.

“It was one of the most unbelievable experiences in all of our lives,” said Shalev, of Lawrence, NY. “It was an honor to be surrounded by so many Jewish leaders and to represent our faith at the White House.”

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