Mesivta Shaarei Arazim, an Ultra-Orthodox yeshiva high school in Monsey, NY, boasts a full-piece marching band. Consisting of approximately thirty students in full uniform (side-locks tucked up and under their hats), the band has been performing regularly at community events since 2006—including a wedding I attended last weekend.
The school prides itself on taking an unconventional approach to Orthodox Jewish learning: “We can’t focus only on a bochur’s brain and his ability to learn,” says principle Zev Freundlich. Students also build their own desks, provide catering, and learn acrobatics.
The band members—many of whom had never picked up an instrument before joining—have been trained by one of the school’s secular teachers, who runs a professional marching band.
They certainly add an unexpected splash of color to an otherwise black and white background: