Judaism, life, media, Opinion, YouTube

On the fence: Bar’chu! (I’m A Jew) – Parody of Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You”

Another ditty of a Jewish parody of a popular song is making its rounds of viral fame, and this time it’s Cee-Lo’s Green‘s “Forget You” (or should I say F**k You) becoming “Bar’chu! (I’m A Jew):

So at first I was just gonna make fun of video, I kinda liked it. But just kinda…

For those unaware of the song title’s meaning, the Hebrew word of barchu ( as seen in Hebrew)  means “Blessed.” The word is commonly used in the phrase , which can be heard at either the beginning of Shacharit (the morning prayer service) or when someone is called to the Torah to make a blessing on it before the reading of it commences (hence the obvious references to Bar Mitzvahs). The song cleverly uses the word as vehicle of praise to the guests of the singer’s Bar Mitzvah (although clearly his voice has matured beyond the screechings of a thirteen-year old Jewish bo-… I mean young man).

First of all, there’s no ignoring the classic cheesy, overused, corny Jewish references included in the lyrics. Okay people, we all know Jews get circumcisions, have bar mitzvahs, are stingy with money, and get enough of jokes with yiddish in them…

C’mon people… There’s a reason they’re called stereotypes. And in the words of Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen:

“When everything becomes the stereotype, and the stereotype is absolutely pathetic, then it’s time to move on.”

So can we please start creating quality Jewish viral videos without resorting to lame stereotypes.

And while we’re talking lowlights, does anyone else hear “bar’ koo” instead of correct pronunciation of “bar’chu”?? (you know… with the typical Jewish chhhhhhhh sound)

But although the lame is present, the video does in fact produce some highlights worth noting:

  1. Rhyming twitter with siddur is brilliant. Shkoyach to the writer of that rhyming couplet.
  2. Jokes about the boringness of shul (when in good taste) & the necessity of making kiddush sooner rather than later are wise inclusions.
  3. And this is the big one: the overall message, although not so evident until the last section of the song, is a really strong and beautiful message. Up until that last section, the lyric of “I’m a Jew” was just a cute rhyme with Bar’chu. But with lines like “So Now I’m walking ’round town with my yarmulke,” my normally critical mindset suddenly experienced a change of heart and a stark realization that hidden beneath the corny stereotypes was a beautiful message of how amazing it can be to appreciate the beauty of Judaism the face religious intolerance (and exhale). Maybe it was that I could actually relate to that experience of walking down the streets – whether it be on campus, on the bus, downtown in a bar or even while interviewing city policemen & local athletes – always wearing my yarmulke in plain sight and wearing it proudly. And then… hearing lyrics like:

The Books of Moses and the Prophets ain’t easy stuff, so I’m like, I’m a Jew and so are you! Now it says in the Mishna, let’s go do a mitzvah… I’ll keep doin’ my best now that I’m a Jew!

Now that’s what I’m talking about…  This is a message that’s telling me that yeah, being a good Jew is hard, but as long as you can try your best, than that’s all that matters… and everything else is up to G-d. And why is all that so awesome?

Because I’m a Jew & so are you!!

And that pretty much sums up life, doesn’t it… Which also means that yes, life contains its respective corny parts as well.

So even though neither the lameness nor the awesomeness outweigh one another (I’m sorry, but as amazing as the message is, there really is no need to be so lame about it… but that’s just my opinion), the video is no Definition of Awesome, but also not worthy making the Loser List.

Thanks to You Tube user Jew Man Group for the video.

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