Miami Boys Choir, formed in 1977 by Yerachmiel Begun, was part of a larger surge in popularity of Orthodox Jewish choral music.
The use of an all-boy choir is related to the Orthodox Jewish prohibition on listening to a woman singing. A boy’s choir affords Orthodox Jewish men a way to listen to a Soprano range without violating this prohibition.
While the group was formed in Miami Beach, Florida, after releasing the first few albums, Yerachmiel Begun moved the choir to New York. Although he retained the “Miami” in the name of the group, subsequent albums were released with boys primarily from the New York/New Jersey area.
The concept of ‘simcha’ is an important one in Jewish philosophy. Literally, the word means gladness, or joy. It comes from the root word “sameyach,” which means glad or happy. A popular teaching by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a 19th century Chassidic Rabbi, is “Mitzvah Gedolah Le’hiyot Besimcha Tamid,” it is a great mitzvah (commandment) to always be in a state of happiness. When a person is happy they are much more capable of serving God and going about their daily activities than when depressed or upset.
Nachman of Breslov, (April 4, 1772 – October 16, 1810), was the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.