On this, the sixth night of Hanukkah 2020, we have already been blessed with significant musical miracles. From Josh Nelson’s version of the Ladino song “Ocho Kandelikas” to Daveed Diggs’ brilliant “Puppy for Hanukkah,” we really could say, dayenu!
And yet, the Hanukkah gifts keep coming. The latest is an original a cappella song that is sure to stay stuck in your head for the rest of the holiday: “My Own Miracle” by the Yeshiva University-affiliated a cappella group, Y-Studs. It’s not just a catchy tune — it was made for a good cause, too.
Y-Studs were founded in 2010, and you may know them from growing musical portfolio, including music videos like their “Evolution of Jewish Music” medley, or their La La Land Passover mash-up. While the group has toured all over the world making Jewish music together, this year they found a unique opportunity to spread their light virtually, writing their first original song in support of the Gift of Life Marrow Registry, an organization that helps people suffering from blood cancer.
Gift of Life’s mission is to help patients with blood cancer find their bone marrow match, and ultimately use cellular therapy to cure blood cancer. It’s easy for anyone to help this cause: Potential donors simply take a swab of their cheek and send it to the organization to see if they match with a cancer patient in need. Once a match is found, the donor can help save the life of a cancer patient through a stem cell transplant.
Through their new song, which says, “I’m not gonna wait for a miracle,” Y-Studs demonstrate just how easy it is to make our own miracles this Hanukkah: by joining the bone marrow registry.
The music video introduces us to a 3-year-old cancer patient named Sloane, who is sure to pull at your heartstrings. In the video, the Y-Studs text each other the Gift of Life’s video of Sloane, who is looking for her match, and encourage each other to join the registry. The video features the seven singers in conventional a cappella video box formation — singing, dancing and smiling — as well as scenes of the group getting inspired to donate and ultimately doing their own swabs (kinda gross, but hey, it’s for a good cause!)
Former Y-Studs president Eitan Rubin tells Kveller that he is passionate about the group’s potential to make a greater social impact with their music. “Having a heart behind a project means so much to us,” he says.
Gift of Life is a cause close to Rubin’s heart — a few years ago, when he was still in high school, he was inspired to swab. Rubin says he was moved by this act of service, realizing that this very easy action could literally save a life. After seeking to collaborate with Gift of Life for about a year, Y-Studs decided early in the summer to partner with the organization to make an anthem for the organization, one that could be spread widely during this internet-centered pandemic period.
Even with its upbeat tone and pop-inspired sound, this song carries a powerful message. “There are so many ways to save somebody’s life, and that can happen through Jewish a cappella,” Rubin says.
Jewish a cappella is undoubtedly life-affirming — music is a healing force, and such a source of joy for singers and viewers alike. But Y-Stud’s aim to inspire their audience to be “the change they want to see in the world,” by taking some real, tangible actions, truly makes “My Own Miracle” a Hanukkah song to remember.
Header image via YouTube/ Y-Studs A Capella