When it comes to self-expression, there’s a unifying duality that exists for Daniel Spivak: a love for song as an instrument of dissemination, and the empowerment of the Jewish community. As one of the four newest recruits for NJBeats, it seems his peers share the same commitment to inspiration. Tulane’s first and only Jewish a cappella group was formed a little over three years ago, with the intention of sharing a love for music with the New Orleans community and to encourage “more groups like [theirs] to pop-up” around the city, according to Spivak. He joined the group this year after recognizing a chance to develop connections with his culture and the people who are a part of the Jewish community in New Orleans, including those on the Tulane campus, where roughly 40% of the student population is Jewish. City-wide, the Jewish population in New Orleans is roughly 12,000, excluding Tulane. This means that the students can exercise a considerable impact on the city itself, and NJBeats is just one example of an organization which is doing just that.
“I originally had doubts about [NJBeats] being a Jewish a cappella group, over the restraints that come with choosing songs,” noted Spivak, “but I really enjoyed it, and joining the group turned out to be a really good decision.”
Despite his initial concerns regarding the potential pool of available songs, Spivak soon discovered that there was never any reason to cast doubt on the group, which is gradually and gracefully becoming a force for Jewish empowerment in the New Orleans area, particularly through their choice of songs. Over the past few weeks, they have been operating a wildly successful fundraising campaign with the intention of releasing the first NJBeats studio album; so far the group has raised nearly $4000, all of which will contribute to the high cost of production in a professional studio. The track list has yet to be decided, but according to the group, will consist of mostly Jewish and Israeli artists, with a few songs recorded in Hebrew.
So, in addition to inciting the creation similar organizations in the city, the NJBeats hope to proudly represent and inspire the Jewish community, and share their love of its music to anyone that is willing to listen. One such example of a positive impact on the community they have exercised is a video they posted to the NJBeats Facebook page, a tribute video for the “recuperation of all those in need of healing”; the video received over 154 shares and twenty thousand views. Among them were Tulane students, family members, New Orleans community members, and supporters from around the country. For these students and their love of the community, this endeavor transcends a capella, but is still fundamentally rooted in a love of music.